Style || Shopping in Nigeria? Here’s the reality of it all

It’s been 4 months since I moved back to Nigeria…

Settling in has been quite smooth and easy thanks to the friends and family I have, but while my life is almost back to normal, there’s one aspects I’m still teaching myself and learning to deal with here in Nigeria – Fashion Shopping.

When it comes to places to eat, places to hangout, getting good and reliable internet connection, dealing with the banking system and transportation, I think I’ve got them all sorted out… but the issue of where to buy clothes for certain occasions, where to get a new bag or clutch, where to get new shoes has been a major struggle.

Now I’m not saying that such places do not exist. I’ve come across quite a few stores but I think the aspect I struggle with and my main concern is cost and variety!

Most of the time when I spot an item I like, I make an effort to find out how much it cost. For some reason, most Nigerian brands do not make the cost of their products public knowledge, i.e. It’s not listed on any website or the website doesn’t function well and even on social media the information isn’t there. I find myself always having to send a Direct Message via Instagram to find out the cost and availability of certain items. More often than not, the cost I’m told is always way over my budget and I’m sure it’s way over the budget of most people I know… then again, I think it’s already been established that most Nigerian brands have a target market that includes the elite of Nigerian only.

Nonetheless, I think working in the fashion business has somewhat given me and insight into why this is so and why certain items cost as much as they do. Having worked in various aspects of the business – i.e. Material sourcing, Production, Quality assurance, etc, I can relate to the challenges most fashion businesses have to deal with and understand why some product cost may seems outrageous but actually aren’t. Now I’m not disputing the fact that some brands are just simply put, overpriced #Granted but not all brands are like that.

Having also purchased items from a few other brands as well such as Bibi Lawrence and Shop Maju, attended a few shopping and collection viewing parties like the Le Rouge event I went to a few weeks back, I feel we definitely need to give some brands a break and appreciate what they do. For the quality and finishing on some of the items out there, the price tag placed on them is not that bad. I think the issue comes when we feel cheated because we don’t see where the 20k we spent on the dress went to.

There’s also a massive gap in the market as hardly any brand seems to cater to those earning a salary between N30,000 – N70,000Β  where spending N15,000 on a top takes away the better part of your pay. Hence, a large part of the population (even myself on some occasions) opt for a more cheaper alternative – Thrift shopping – A.K.A. Okrika or Shopping for Second hand items.

This method of shopping most times offers you really good quality items at VERY Affordable rates as long as you know where and when to go shopping. I have recognized many brands names and even specific items at many of such markets but whether you shop at Thrift markets or purchase items from boutique brands, the issue of variety still remains regardless of the price. Only God knows when and how Nigeria will get to that point where every stylista can shop to suit their personal style solely within Nigeria.

Finding pieces to get you on board with the latest trends always seems like such a chore, talk less of being able to find cheaper alternatives to these trends. This is never an issue in the western society and High Street Brands are always ready to provide you with cheaper alternatives to the items you want. So then the question comes in – Why don’t Nigerian brand do same?

Lack of material maybe? High cost of certain aspects of the production process? No market for such items? What exactly is the issue?

I can now clearly understand why my family always sent a long and non-exhaustive list of items they’ll like me to get for them whenever I came on holiday. Buying in foreign currency still remains much cheaper than shopping within Nigeria and seems like it will be so quite a few more years to come.

I’m not entirely sure how the issue can be fixed – How the cost of items can be reduced, How we can get more brand catering to our everyday BASIC style needs, How we can get more variety within the market, How we can FIX the Fashion Retail industry in Nigeria… but while I figure it out alongside other fashion enthusiasts, I’m going to continue visiting my thrift stores, purchasing items from Nigerian brands whenever I can and oh yeah, buy a thing or two from foreign brands whenever the opportunity presents itself.

But I’m curious, where do you get YOUR clothes in Nigeria?

Advertisements

12 thoughts

  1. Couldn’t have said it any better Demi. Really cannot blame brands sometimes as practically nothing works in this country. For me, I mostly get my clothes from Lagos Island (Balogun Market, The Thriftstore or I get my material and give a tailor. I’ve equally purchased a few pieces on sale at some boutiques. In this 9ja man’s gotta shop smart.
    I hope we get to the level where we all can comfortably buy new items without breaking the bank till then Thrifting and Sewing is the way.

    1. Amennn! God will help us
      I’m gradually learning how to go about the buying fabric and sewing trend but yes, some boutiques usually have good sales once in a while

      Thanks for stopping by hun!

  2. This seems to be the same thing in Southen countries as well. Being a Zimbabwean living in South Africa both countries also have lack of low-end garments which are reasonably priced for those of us who are not part of that elite bracket. Being a blogger an influencer you can get away with freebies and discounts but for the rest of the people who would like to wear local brands, they are not enabled so it ends up seeming like the people generally do not support local.

  3. That was my biggest issue when I came back too. A lot of Nigerian brands don’t cater to the masses or should I say middle income people. I must agree that price of production is high when you factor the challenges in Nigeria but clothes for the sake of fashion and not necessity can be pushed aside which is why the incentive is not there to spend 10k on one item while one can go thrift shopping or buy fabric and give a tailor. While in the abroad one could afford relativity high street items especially on sale but in Nigeria sadly that is not the case. As for me, for the most part I thrift, though lately I’ve been giving some affordable Nigerian brands a chance but I will say that a lot of them have disappointed as the quality a lot of times is inferior. And as a customer on the other end I can’t understand or relate especially when I don’t get what I expected. Looking at our made in Aba brands I feel that is the way to move forward, see how great they’re doing creating clothes for the masses under such harsh conditions. I can’t help but wonder if that industry has a bit more investment perhaps we’ll get to that point where we actually export more.

    Princess Audu

    1. I totally agree with you. I’ve been disappointed a few times myself and asides from the quality of the items not being up to scratch, the customer service of some of these brands is highly disappointing that it makes spending 10-15k on anything from them even more painful

  4. As Anthonia said, I wish I know how to price. Hence, I prefer to walk into stores with standard prices and then ask for a discount after purchase. Other times, I shop online with brands that have their prices clearly stated.

    I can’t deal with all those overpriced IG sellers who sell common outfits and still sell it at a ridiculous amount. Sometimes, I go thrift shopping but I still do not know how to select and price. So I always end up being cheated which annoys me more.

    Shopping especially in Abuja is really saddening. So what I do 80% of the time now is, buy fabrics in Wuse market, sketch a design or my designer helps here and we make different outfits from it. This helps a lot.

    1. Honestly! Overpriced IG sellers is the appropriate phrase. Then again I sometimes wonder if it only seems overpriced because the salary of the average Nigerian is quite low…

      I’ve also actually been looking for a tailor that’s good at making ready to wear type of items – Maybe you can recommed yours to me? ^_^

      1. Even when the salary is reasonable, you begin to ask yourself if that amount is really worth it…It sometimes become annoying.

        Definitely, whenever you are ready.

  5. I get most of my clothes from balogun/ Marina market. I just use a brt bus to leventis. Everything you want is there and all at affordable rates if you know how to negotiate (price) very well. Basic rule is half whatever amount they give you as the selling price and work from there. Always works for me. 😊😊

    1. Lol! I see we have an expert pricer in the house. I always get scared as if I’m being wicked by slashing the price so much. lol but thanks for the tip! I’ll try that

Comments...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s