Nigeria’s economy has taken a hit over the last two years—slipping into recession for the first time in decades. The problem was compounded by currency volatility, rising inflation, resumption of militancy in the oil-rich Niger Delta region, and most of all, plunging oil revenues.
To forestall the country’s economic woes and save its currency, the government has taken several measures, including relaxing its visa rules to boost the ease of doing business. Last year, Nigerian leaders and officials also resorted to Twitter to promote the hashtag` #BuyNaijaToGrowTheNaira. As we reported at the time, the campaign was created as a way to stoke patriotism and boost local manufacturing and trade.
The Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is now joining the campaign. In a Facebook post, the writer, who’s become something of a style icon and cosmetics ambassador said that she’s recently decided to wear mostly Nigerian brands for her public appearances in order to support the Nigerian fashion industry. While lamenting the government’s “disastrous” economic policies that has led to the devaluing of the naira currency, Adichie wrote that “If we are to grasp for a silver lining, then the ‘Buy Nigerian to Grow the Naira’ rhetoric is one.”
In the past few weeks, I’ve bought more Nigerian brands than I ever have in the past. I’ve discovered new names. I’ve been filled with admiration for the women and men running their businesses despite the many challenges they face. I’m particularly interested in ‘inward-looking’ brands, those for whom dressing Nigerian women is as important as other goals.
I’ve changed quite a few dodgy zippers, been disappointed by some poor quality fabrics, and been impressed by some detail-oriented finishing. Overall, I love the clothes, their cut, their whimsy, their color, their flair, their ability to make me feel like myself. Their makers, from designer to tailor to button-fixer to okada-delivery-person, deserve to be supported.
Adichie would continue to document the ‘Wear Nigerian’ project on her Instagram account, which is managed by her nieces Chisom and Amaka.