So just so we are on the same page, lets quickly define two key terms. Fashion simply refers to anything that influences what we wear or put on to cover our nakedness, from accessories to apparel to shoes and so on.
Textiles on the other hand simply encompasses prints,designs and pattern that are done for woven/printed fabrics.
A basic need of man is clothing and this need cannot be overestimated .From time immemorial, man has thought of ways to cover his nakedness, to look appealing and presentable. This drive/desire coupled with other influences have fully driven fashion to what it is these days.
As a huge as fashion is or seems, it is critically influenced by textile design because common to every apparel or clothing is fabric and before any fabric is put into production by designers three key things are considered;color,Texture and design made on it.
These three factors are determined and controlled by textile designers. It is safe to say that textile design directly influences fashion and without it fashion will not be.Just imagine a life without clothes!
In Nigeria, the fashion design and textile industries have experienced paradoxical fates.
While the fashion industry has experienced critical acclaim and boom over the past 10 years with designers cropping up from every nook and even other fields affiliated or whose origin or core is fashion have begun to become household careers like fashion bloggers,stylists,models,photographers also have experienced a rise and fashion has become the it lifestyle for millenials.
Textile design on the other hand has experienced the fate of the dinosaurs of old.There is almost no existing textile industry and save for a few cottage industries still present in Western Nigeria and some quite disjointed factories ,every piece of apparel or fabric used is imported from different parts of the world.This is a major challenge that the Nigeria fashion industry faces that is yet to be solved.It literally bloats the cost of producing clothing items to the highest heavens.
We are in an era where we are now looking inwards as a nation to move her forward.We are looking for ways to grow the fashion industry. To do this we now have to pay attention to how we can give a voice and a platform to textile design. Factories where fibres are processed to fabrics should be established, textile design studios where textile designers buzz creatively and produce their art should also be fostered where every of the methods of textile design from local to contemporary are practiced.
Fashion brands thrive on having peculiar and premium fabrics at their beck and call to produce their magic, only a vibrant textile design industry can make this possible.
In the last Lagos Fashion and design week and GTB Fashion week,it is quite obvious from their showcases the new direction the fashion industry is tilting towards. Going back to when textile design was given a voice and textile designers respected.
The field has never been more ripe for textile design and textile designers to harvest.It is indeed the best thing to happen to fashion in Nigeria since sliced bread.