This just in: Alice Ross of the Financial Times considers the choice many consumers in emerging markets are having to make between buying local and looking exclusively to the West. In recent times, we've noticed a number of African-owned brands position themselves for local relevance and global domination - the Jewel by Lisas and Deola Sagoes of this world are prime examples of this. The impact of their growth has been seen from red carpets in Nigeria to red carpets in the US, so there's clearly a renewed interest in supporting home brands in a way the continent hasn't experienced before.
Unsurprisingly, the women who wear Deola Sagoe are probably the same ones who wear Prada and Hermes, so there's an underlying and overt association of some of Nigeria's local brands (the big 5 readily come to mind: Deola Sagoe, Tiffany Amber, Jewel by Lisa, Ituen Basi, Lanre da Silva-Ajayi), with some of the most luxurious brands in the world. At this point in time, this is enough for us, especially since there was a time when "Buying Nigerian" (to borrow from Style House Files) wasn't boldly written on the cards. Of course, the Deola Sagoes of this world absolutely must concentrate on building and entrenching their brands to the highest possible standards, because in an increasingly global world, it's not enough to be a local favourite alone (except that's the aim, which we suspect it isn't). What happens when the Louis Vuittons of this world set up shop all over Africa? Will our local brands compete effectively on home soil and abroad if they don't make the best use of this down time?
If and when Africa's luxury brands rise to the occasion, it won't be a question of Deola Sagoe versus Diane Von Furstenberg for Africans alone, it may very well be a question that fashion forward women all over the world may reasonably ask in the years to come. For us at Shop Liquorice, we don't want to have to choose, but increasingly, more and more of our money is going local. Is that the case for you? We'd love to read your thoughts.
Read the Financial Times article in its entirety here.