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Worldview: Lagos Fashion Week Flexes Its International Muscle

This week’s round-up of global markets fashion business news also features India’s Reliance Retail, garment worker casualties in Bangladesh and a landmark counterfeiting case in China.
Models walk in the S/S 24 Abigail Ajobi show at Lagos Fashion Week in October 2023 in Lagos, Nigeria.
Models walk in the S/S 24 Abigail Ajobi show at Lagos Fashion Week in October 2023 in Lagos, Nigeria. (Courtesy)
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🇳🇬 Lagos Fashion Week flexes its international muscle on and off the runway. Nigeria’s principal fashion industry event has embraced brands from neighbouring countries for several years, but its international reach became even more apparent during the latest edition, held from Oct. 24-29. Presenting their collections alongside Nigerian names like Ugo Monye, Oshobor and Cynthia Abila were brands from across the African continent, including Ajabeng, Katush, Adama Paris, Mariah Bocoum, SVL Designs and Kente Gentleman, whose founders hail from Ghana, Kenya, Senegal, Mali, South Africa and Côte d’Ivoire, respectively, and London-based designers of Nigerian heritage like Abigail Ajobi and Eki Silk’s Hazel Eki Osunde. Beyond the runway, networking events and talks exploring issues facing businesses across the region were held by Abidjan-based pan-African e-commerce company Anka, formerly known as Afrikrea. A new dimension to Lagos Fashion Week was its UNESCO partnership, led by event founder and director Omoyemi Akerele, for a report recommending policies to strengthen the apparel and textile industry across the continent. [BoF Inbox]

🇨🇳 Counterfeiter is jailed in China over an Amazon and Prada legal case. Amazon’s Counterfeit Crimes Unit (CCU) partnered with Prada and other luxury brands to provide evidence to Chinese law enforcement, leading to the arrest of a counterfeiter who pled guilty to crimes relating to the sale of fake luxury goods. It is a landmark case in that it mostly hinged on evidence of overseas counterfeit sales and fulfilment centre records rather than seized products. [Inside Retail]

🇮🇳 India’s Reliance Retail reports 21% quarterly profit increase. The retail arm of oil-to-telecoms conglomerate Reliance Industries has posted net profit of 2,790 crore rupees ($334 million) for the quarter ended Sep. 2023, up from 2,305 crore rupees last year, citing strong performance in the grocery, fashion and lifestyle segments. The company is a leading player in India’s fashion industry through its Reliance Retail Ventures holdings, international fashion brand distribution partnerships, investments in local designer brands, e-commerce sites and a luxury mall. [Mint]

🇧🇩 A garment worker was allegedly killed by Bangladeshi police amid protests. Md. Rasel Howlader, a worker at Design Express, was shot by police outside the factory in the city of Gazipur, according to Nazma Akter, founder and president of Sommilito Garments Sramik Federation, a union to which Howlader belonged. It is believed Howlader was a bystander in protests against the proposed new minimum wage, which workers say is not enough to cover the rising cost of living. [Sourcing Journal]

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🇿🇦 South African designer Lukhanyo Mdingi wins the $100,000 Amiri Prize. The Cape Town-based designer who launched his namesake fashion brand in 2015 beat eight other finalists for the US-based prize founded by entrepreneur Mike Amiri, including Abdel El Tayeb of France; Dorian Rahimzadeh of Iran; Ekwerike Chukwuma of Nigeria; Grace Ling, Keith Herron and Maxwell Osborne of the US; and Li Gong and Luke Zhou of China. [Hyebeast]

🇮🇳 Jio World Plaza luxury mall opens to the public in Mumbai, India. Reliance Industries Limited has announced that the highly anticipated shopping centre will open on 1 Nov. in the Bandra Kurla Complex district of the city. Spanning four levels across 750,000 square feet, the retail mix includes mono-brand stores from Balenciaga, Valentino, Tory Burch, YSL, Versace and Tiffany among others. The mall will also be home to Indian designer brands like Manish Malhotra, Abu Jani-Sandeep Khosla, Rahul Mishra, Falguni and Shane Peacock, and Ri By Ritu Kumar, according to a company statement. [BoF Inbox]

🇹🇿 Cotton Made in Africa launches satellite monitoring scheme in Tanzania. CmiA, a part of the Hamburg-based Aid by Trade Foundation, has partnered with German tech firm Geocledian and Tanzania’s Alliance Ginneries Ltd to deploy the surveillance technology to track the growth, location and soil quality of cotton fields to help farmers follow an efficient planting schedule in order to maximise yield and to comply with sustainability criteria and traceability legislation. A similar scheme was established by different partners in India earlier this year. [Sourcing Journal]

🇮🇳 Indian jewellers expand their store networks in the Gulf and in the US. Tanishq, the jewellery brand owned by Titan Company, which in turn is owned by Mumbai-based diversified conglomerate Tata Group, has opened two new stores in Qatar, one in Doha Festival City and another on Lulu D Ring Road. Meanwhile, Chennai-based Vummidi Bangaru Jewellers, has entered the US market with a store in Dallas. The moves follow other Indian players that have announced overseas expansion plans this year such as Kalyan Jewellers. [Arabian Business, Economic Times]

🇸🇬 Singapore textiles firm NTX to open sustainable printing facility in US. The company specialising in electrospinning and waterless fabric printing and dyeing technologies has announced it will create an innovation centre at the University of Oregon in Portland, allowing graduate students and brands to access technologies to prototype products and undertake small production runs. In partnership with its global supply chain partner Luen Thai, NTX will open the innovation lab next year at the university that has become an incubator for sports product designers. [Sourcing Journal]

🇮🇳 Indian footwear brand Inc5 raises $10 million of venture funding. The Mumbai-based firm secured the investment in a round led by Indian venture firm Carpediem Capital, with participation from Param Capital and P3 Venture Fund. Owned by the Virji family, the company established in 1998 runs namesake shoe brand Inc5 as well as Atesber, and Privo across 74 of its own stores and hundreds of wholesale doors. [Economic Times]

🇨🇳 Artwell partners with Haelixa for traceability of Inner Mongolia cashmere. The Hong Kong-based cashmere knitwear manufacturer will use the Swiss company’s physical traceability solution for yarns and material coming from the Inner Mongolia region of China. The technology identifies fibres with a specific DNA marker per goat farm, allowing stakeholders to trace and authenticate products along the supply chain. [Fibre2Fashion]

🇨🇳 Salvatore Ferragamo buys minority stakes in three Greater China joint-ventures. The board of the Italian luxury company, in partnership with Ferragamo Hong Kong, has approved the purchase of minority stakes in joint ventures held by Peter Woo’s Imaginex Holdings Limited and Imaginex Overseas Limited which are used to distribute products in the Greater China market. Woo, who owns department store chain Lane Crawford, was a partner of the brand for mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau for more than two decades. [Retail in Asia]

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🇳🇬 Former Nigerian president calls for a ban on adire fabric imports from China. Olusegun Obasanjo, who led the country from 1999 to 2007, urged the current government to ban the import of adire, a fabric traditionally handwoven in Nigeria which plays an important role in the country’s cultural heritage, from Chinese manufacturers. “Let us beg the government to do all they can to protect our local production of adire so that the Chinese will not have access to bastardise it for us,” he was quoted as saying in the Nigerian Tribune newspaper [Kohan Textile Journal, Fibre2Fashion]

🇨🇳 Bottega Veneta appoints actress Shu Qi as global brand ambassador. The Italian luxury brand unveiled the partnership with a new advertising campaign featuring the Hong-Kong-Taiwanese actress and its new Gemelli handbag. She is the second ambassador to be announced since Matthieu Blazy took over as the brand’s creative director, following BTS member Kim Nam-joon. [L’Officiel Singapore]

🇨🇳 Chinese actor Wei Daxun is named ambassador by Tom Ford Beauty. The actor and singer appears in a new Singles’ Day 11/11 campaign for the brand, promoting two of its fragrances. The Central Academy of Drama alumnus is a television star who has also appeared in numerous popular films. [Global Cosmetics News]

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