According to a survey by an American Christian clothing line, Datomana over a decade ago, the Christian clothing industry generated a whooping $4.5 billion from sales in one fiscal year. The report also showed that the industry was patronized mostly young adults and teenagers.
As at the year 2012, there were already hundreds of dedicated Christian clothing lines due to the massive cash flow and fewer players in the industry. Thousands of fashion startups considered it as a viable market due to the clusters of Christian communities around the world.
We’re here in 2017, and the trend hasn’t changed much in the United States. However, in Nigeria, there is no carved out niche for dedicated Christian clothing lines in Nigeria’s vast fashion industry. This makes it a fallow ground.
- The 2010 census in Nigeria revealed that Nigeria has a growing Christian community which accounted for 49.3% of the 140 million population. Today, the figure has risen beyond the threshold of 180 million, wherein more than 90 million are Christians by religion. Statistics also shows that Nigeria is a very religious country and the belief in God is at the apex. The potential customers are numerous.
- In 2015, Nigeria’s Textile and Leather industry (a major source of raw materials for the fashion industry) jointly produced goods worth $2.31 billion which accounts for 21.7% of revenue generate in the country’s manufacturing industry that year. The viability of the industry is not in question. The figures has increased drastically amidst poor economic challenges.
- Government policies towards the textile and allied industries is very favourable of late. As part of strategies to promote these industries, the federal government launched the “National Cotton, Textile and Garment Enterprise Policy”. This policy provided a suitable playing ground and has increased the number of foreign investors in the fashion industry drastically.
- Investors who choose to import machinery, equipment and other raw materials like dyes, chemicals, spares etc that are relevant to the textile or fashion industry will not be charged any import duty. Such imports will have VAT free period of 2 years within the time frame of 2015 and 2019.
- All textile manufactures in Nigeria are currently benefiting a tax free period which started from 2015 till date.
- In spite of the gross Government intervention to promote Made-In-Nigeria wears, many investors are yet to capture the Christian clothing industry that is still wandering in the open, compared to other fashion industries that are already saturated.
- Fashion is a way of exhibiting one’s identity. Millions of Nigerian youths will gladly to do that daily by flying Jesus branded wears.
- Anyone who decides to start such a line on a large scale will be ushered into a very monopolistic market, where he will be the major player.
- In the Eastern part of Nigeria the rush for customized Christian T-shirts is high. Everyone just wants to try them out. People travel far to get their wears branded. That notwithstanding, there is no major DEDICATED printing company that’s into it.
- Several christian organisations hold annual conferences where uniforms are mandatory. Most often that not, poorly customised polos, printed baseball caps and jeans are used for such conferences. This accounts for more than 60% of the customised clothing’s produced in the country annually.
- There is high level mediocrity in the Nigerian market. Anything goes. We’ve celebrated inferiority for a long time. This makes the market viable for anyone or firm with high quality products.
- Poor modesty in the Nigerian fashion industry is also a good boost. Most Christian families have resorted to buying “Ankara” materials for their children in a bid to dissociate them from the seemingly immodest fashion industry. Yea, I know such a family. Families like this will welcome any #Jesus branded clothing with open arms.
- There is a local market for some of the raw materials.
- There is currently no competition. Most fashion designers that produce customised Christian wears do that only on demands. They don’t have an established brand name solely for such wears.
- Your creativity will also give you a deep root in the industry. I’ve got crazy thoughts and my fashion sense is weird. I will really rock an Ankara that has an embroidered cross at the breast pocket or a Jacket with a lucid Christian inscription on the lapel. A clothing line that can consistently produce a variety of such has won my heart.
These reasons may not be enough, but they are pointers towards a potentially right direction.