Friday, February 01, 2019 07.00PM /
Nifemi Taiyese and Bukola Akinyele for Proshare WebTV
At the first edition of the Eko Models Hangout, a program organised to ensure that the modelling business in Nigeria is transformed using different techniques and platforms, stakeholders explored how to reposition the industry.
The convener Oluwabowa Emmanuel in his opening remarks explained the drive for starting this initiative in Nigeria, with unemployment at 23% and underemployment at 20%, the need for private sector-led job creation solutions is imperative.
He said that Nigerian youths are creative, independent and ready to explore opportunities available in an increasingly competitive market space for labour; he noted that the modelling industry is one of a growing number of paths for those willing to navigate the $3trillion global fashion and brand promotion value chain.
Looking at the modelling industry from his perspective, he noted that young people in the country can either be involved in the profession as a career, or as a side business that generates an alternative stream of cash flow to fund other entrepreneurial ventures or participate to support a process of pursuing further formal education.
There are over 150,000 registered models in Nigeria and they have the potential influencing the $31 billion fashion and modeling business in Africa.
He sees the modelling business as one that can promote creative engagement for youths in the country, and therefore hopes to leverage opportunities present in the business to grow a lively job market that can partially absorb some of the 5 million people that join the job market annually.
Chart1 : Nigeria Unemployment rate (2014-2018)
Source: Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS)
The convener mentioned the “Eko models support initiative” as another platform to support the presently poorly structured and unregulated industry.
Mr Teslim Shitta Bey, Managing Editor at Proshare noted that the fashion industry represents 2% of global GDP and that Africa accounts for less than 1% of the global cash flow.
Speaking on how we can transform the modelling industry in Nigeria, he said that the youths in this industry have to be creative, assertive and think without the restriction of some kind of gilded box.
Ethiopia, South Africa and Kenya are ahead of Nigeria in the fashion industry. One challenge is that Nigeria has not properly defined and structured the modelling industry he said.
Speaking further he said every model is an Intrapreneur and stressed the essence of education. He pointed out that like a company every model should have a support system of professional advisers such as lawyers, accountants and publicists.
Several issues were discussed by key speakers such as lack of proper structure, lack of regulation and the absence of a clearly defined sector to which private capital can be attracted.
Mr Shola Adegborioye, the Executive Director Creative Zone Limited Advertising Agency spoke on Models as Bedrock of Advertising.
In his presentation, he said that the use of models has been effective in advertising as the advertising agency makes use of female and male models to push acceptance of products and services.
He noted that Models create interest in products and services and help secure customer loyalty which is why most advertising agency take time to audition several models for adverts.
He confirmed that Models help improve product sales, and assist in building sustained interest.
He observed that key industry players in the business, the models themselves, have limited knowledge of the complexity of the business workings and legal framework of the profession, resulting in exploitation and sometimes mental breakdown.
In conclusion, he said models are an integral part of advertising and so they need to be properly trained and managed.
Mrs A.O. Adeyemi from the Office of The Public Defender; Lagos State Ministry of Justice gave her perspective on the Legal Aspect of the Modelling Profession.
Looking at the financial aspect of it, she said the modelling profession is like any other one but because it is still growing and needs to be standardized, models who have not had their contracts properly scrutinized by a lawyer according to the law of contract sometimes face the problem of unstable income, and have no guarantee of payment.
She discussed other challenges in modeling profession and the remedy.
The issue of sexual harassment is one both male and female models face as they are often taken advantage of through the course of the business. She said once they are faced with such harassment, they should seek legal help as it is a criminal offense and the law is there to provide protection.
The modelling business targets mainly young adults. In Nigeria people under the age of 18 who want to venture into the profession need to have parents or guardians actively involved in contracts and management.
One major takeaway from this event is that the modelling industry needs to have a formalised organizational structure with the necessary professional codes and regulations in addition to supportive legal provisions to prevent exploitation by way of sexual harassment or service price undercutting.