Photo Credit: @joel_lani

There is no doubt that the leather scene in Nigeria is booming and has easily become one of the fastest growing industries in the Fashion niche.

Earlier in the year, The Minister of Science and Technology in Nigeria, Ogbonnaya Onu, said the leather industry is the nation’s next gold mine and holds the key to industrial growth, jobs and wealth creation.

We feature seven leather goods brands and the designers behind them. Some brands are one-man shows while other brands are small companies but what all these brands have in common is their passion for handcrafted high-quality leather goods, promoting African enterprise and they will all be exhibiting at the Lagos Leather Fair 2018!


About The Brand
RODA statement leather wares is a Nigerian brand that specializes in the production of handcrafted, bespoke, statement leather bags, purses and accessories. The RODA brand prides itself on creating colourful, oversized, quirky and vintage items that are specific to each client. The brand started in June 2016 and has carved a niche for itself by introducing variations in shapes and types of leather bags. We produce bold, timeless pieces that are different and stand out from the crowd, hence creating a statement.

Designer’s Inspiration
The RODA designs are inspired by the vintage era, from the 1920’s through to the 60’s. It was an era of bold and colourful and sometimes oversized pieces, where a woman’s bag/purse made her stand out. I am also inspired by various collages of colours I see or come in
contact with.

Designer’s Favourite Collection
My favourite collection was the very first collection was in June 2016 called “A colourful beginning“. It marked the beginning of my journey so the pieces were named after my friends and families with each bag having a personality of their own, My favourite piece is in the season 2 collection called ROYALTY which launched at the Lagos leather fair 2018, The piece is called the “BROLI”. It is an original piece created and designed by RODA, it is an exceptional statement bag, the idea behind it was simply
creating an umbrella/cover for a bag, and it is a different and exceptional piece.

Thoughts on the leather industry in Nigeria
I think a lot of awareness has been created about the leather industry within the last couple of years, the influx and rapid growth and participation of the craft have been an attestation that our industry is definitely poised for progression and development. However, it needs to be more accessible in terms of its cost and transference from source to the average user.

The Importance of Lagos Leather Fair 
Fairs and exhibitions are very important for every entrepreneur. it ensures that your goods and products come in contact with the client/customer. The Lagos leather fair initiative by Femi handbags has been a fantastic platform that has enabled us showcase and places the Nigerian leather industry in direct competition to the international community.


About The Brand
The foundation of Timabee, an accessories brand founded by Fatima Babakura is the concept of redefined luxury, where artisanal dreams are brought to reality. From highly textured leather to luxe hardware, every design component is twinned with high attention to detail with excellent craftsmanship.

Designer’s Inspiration
Our handbags are designed with two things in mind. Functionality and uniqueness. We want to make sure that as uniquely designed as our handbags are, they remain very functional for the buyer. Recently we have introduced shoes and we still keep the same things in mind. Functionality for our shoes also means comfort. Our inspiration is our buyer. Our aim is to make the item as practical as possible for the buyer.

Designer’s Favorite Collection
The Doko is our favourite collection. This is our favourite collection because of how much reception it has received all over the world. We have shipped this bag to over 15 countries and still counting.

Thoughts on the leather industry in Nigeria
The leather industry is one with great potential, especially in Nigeria. Nigeria is at a time where we as a people are beginning to accept and proudly carry “made in Nigeria” goods. Leather being very versatile as it can be used for almost everything ranging from home accessories to fashion accessories is one that is very profitable if tapped properly. Unfortunately, the leather industry like a lot of industries in Nigeria is not very efficient. The number of tanneries currently available is simply not enough to feed demand at the rate at which “made in Nigeria” leather goods are being made. We need to get to a point where we proudly use Nigerian leather in production and not just any leather we can pick up from the market. Most times these leathers we buy at the market are ones that have been processed elsewhere with the same Nigerian skins.

The importance of Lagos Leather Fair 
Fairs are very important especially in showcasing the creativity that is in the Nigerian marketplace. The Lagos Leather fair is amazing because up until the first one last year, there was nothing like it. I found out about many brands doing really amazing things and creating masterpieces that I did not know existed. For exposure, it is great. It is also playing a very important role in promoting Nigerian brands.


About The Brand
Yili Footwear is a footwear company that designs and manufactures handcrafted leather sandals. Our sandals are made using a variety of locally sourced leather, fabrics & skins of premium quality. We work directly with local artisans and use only the best leather around Africa. In doing so, we celebrate and promote the creativity and craftsmanship of the artisans in Nigeria with the world.

Designer’s Inspiration 
All Yili designs draw influence and inspiration from people, colours, textures, travels and the interesting things in between. All the styles in each collection have a personal inspiration behind it.

Designer’s Favourite Collection
Our favourite collection so far was the Awele collection. The collection details our journey and what we stand for as a brand. It has a combination of fun Adire(tie-dye) prints, colourful and textured leather which is literally what Yili is about. At Yili we love
experimenting with colours, prints and textures; we enjoy mixing prints and have fun combining colours.

Thoughts on the leather industry in Nigeria
The Nigerian Leather industry has huge potential to become one of the most successful in the world. In order for this to be achieved, the government has to implement the right structures, invest in machinery for leather processing, production, and set up leather factories across the country.

The Importance of Lagos Leather Fair 
The Importance of Fairs cannot be overemphasized. As a newly established footwear company, exhibiting at fairs like yours has opened our company up to new customers, improved brand awareness and provided us various networking opportunities. The 2017 Leather fair was our first major fair as a brand and the reception we got from customers was amazing. We are grateful for platforms like yours that give start-ups like us the opportunity to showcase and sell our products and reach a whole new set of customers.


About The Brand
Ethnik by Tunde Owolabi was founded in 2015 by Tunde Owolabi. The brand is about making aso-oke accessible to the fashion-forward modern man and woman. Beyond accessibility and creating fashionable yet very durable pieces for brand-savvy trendsetters, we are about promoting culture and giving back to the community. At Ethnik, we believe that sustenance is the key to preserving our heritage. To this end, a core element of our social responsibility means we invest in our local artisans and create an enabling environment where they can continue to weave aso-oke the way it is done traditionally, a skill that is passed down through generations.

The essence of our design philosophy is to produce sustainable fashion accessories that are uniquely Afrocentric, drawing inspiration from the Yoruba culture of Nigeria and other African cultures by telling our stories to the world through patterns and colours woven into
beautiful fabrics. We pay critical attention to every detail in our design and production process, through excellent craftsmanship and ethical values.

Designer’s Inspiration
I am inspired by culture, the way of life of people, history, music, art, travel and food.

Designer’s Favourite Collection
I think I am like a father who cannot love any child better than the other. But I am always excited about creating something new and the reception from my clients and customers make me love each piece more.

Thoughts on the leather industry in Nigeria
It is still growing, it is beginning to look viable, we need more tanneries, we need more factories investing in the business of leather goods and there is a lot of potential – if the right machinery is available.

The Importance of Lagos Leather Fair in Nigeria
The importance of fairs cannot be over-emphasised. They avail us the opportunity to meet other creative for collaborations, initiating joint
ventures and project partnerships. They boost the confidence of the buyers to feel, touch and appreciate the items made in
Nigeria, thereby boosting the Made In Nigeria market. They give opportunities for interaction and attracts other stakeholders within the industry which helps to develop commercial structures by identifying new agents and distributors They help in promotion, marketing and publicity efforts of participating companies.They provide an excellent opportunity to assess opinions from clients and determine
market potential, conduct research and evaluate competition, and initiating joint ventures and project partnerships.


About The Brand
EDOSYSS is a Made-in- Nigeria luxury leather handbag brand which draws inspiration from the rich beautiful African culture, attire and vibrant hues. Designed to boost the confidence for today’s woman. It was founded in 2016 by Pearl Kachikwu, as a means to bridge the gap between the high exportation of processed leather and the equally high importation of finished leather goods. Renowned for her signature hand-sewn yet modern and timeless OJO leather handbag; designed with great attention to detail for the opulent woman.
Edosyss has expanded to a full collection of African fabric inspired designs including the Ankara leather, dry lace laser cut leather and tie-dye snakeskin handbags. Each collection is uniquely different from the other. Working with only the best leather, suede and exotic skins for our collections, Edosyss also offers leather accessories complementing her signature leather handbags.

Designer’s Inspiration
We are inspired by the rich beautiful African culture, fabrics and vibrant hues. We were able to translate the local stitching, Ankara, Tie&Dye and Dry lace fabrics into modern templates which we used to create our unique collections.

Designer’s Favorite Collection
I really do not have a favourite piece, each new collection comes with great enthusiasm, yet I am proud of the older collections too.

Thoughts on the Leather Industry:
Contrary to popular opinion, the leather industry in Nigeria has the capacity to compete globally; we have the requisite resources to achieve it. Nigeria has a vast supply of globally demanded raw hides and world-class tanneries. We have craftsmen and designers who are able to tap into this and produce wonderful products.

The industry quite, unfortunately, has remained yet to be fully developed. I believe we need to keep engaging the stakeholders to improve the work in the industry. That is why I appreciate platforms like the LEATHER FAIR which showcases the potential and craftsmanship of the industry and gives the industry a united voice.

The Importance of Lagos Leather Fair
Fairs are a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to showcase the beauty of creative products and to engage with a more diverse audience, consumers, end-users and receive feedback. However, Lagos Leather Fair is streamlined to focus on the leather industry, products and
its value chain. All the players in the industry are brought together to create and exchange value.


About The Brand
HankerandReech Leather Goods is an indigenous Leathercraft brand with a genuine passion for aesthetic and durable leather products with special attention to detail. Our goal is to craft pieces which complement individuals’ appreciation for contemporary Nigerian/ international fashion and lifestyle. Our pieces which are mostly handcrafted include leather products like; wallets, passport
holders, card holders, Key Rings, belts, Bags and other lifestyle products. We also cater to customized pieces which reflect a personal preference, style and brand identity. At HankerandReech Leather Goods, we believe strongly in Aspiring to Achieve, as such we
want our products to be part of your journey to success from the point of aspiration to achievement.

Designer’s Inspiration
I’m inspired by arts, crafts, culture and tradition in general. I also have a keen interest in architecture, interior design and woodwork as such straight lines, curves, textures and perspective work for me.

Designer’s Favorite
My Favorite piece has to be our briefcase… I appreciate a handmade briefcase not only because it makes a fashion statement but also for the fact that it signifies being intentional, confident and driven. We’re constantly looking to come up with a more creative and versatile briefcase design.

Thoughts on the Leather Industry in Nigeria
The Leather industry in Nigeria is obviously a growing one… There is a lot to be done to improve it with regards to encouraging local production of (raw leather) skins and hides. Also, the needs to be a facilitation of production of locally made leather goods of an international quality which can be achieved through vocational of interested individuals.

The importance of Lagos Leather Fair
The importance of the Lagos Leather Fair cannot be overemphasized… This is because of the number of advantages. It is a meeting point for buyers, sellers and potential investors. It is a strong medium through which the attention of the government and general public can be reached. Thus creating awareness and general growth of the industry. It fosters collaboration between local brands leading to overall growth. It serves as a pointer to our current creative capabilities in terms of product design, aesthetics and quality (where we are) and how we can constantly improve on these (where we want to be).

Joel Lani

About The Brand
Joel Lani is a contemporary Nigerian leather fashion brand. Our focus is to create the highest quality leather fashion items for the elegant woman who pushes beyond boundaries. Each product is designed to provide comfort, effortless style and give its owner a unique
experience with the utmost attention to detail and quality. Our designs are inspired by the power and strength that women are and aspire to be: beautiful, strong, confident, and brave African woman.

Designer’s Inspiration
This collection, our Diamond collection, is birthed from what the year 2018 signifies to us as women, and of course as Africans. At Joel Lani, we believe that 2018 is the year of the woman, a diamond emerging from the rough. This year we believe the world would
experience a new strength of the African woman. The merge of the entrepreneur, the mum, the career woman, the CEO into daily warriors.

Designer’s Favourite Piece
Our favourite piece or collection is the mini Anika shoulder bag from the Anika collection. This is because it is unique and timeless. It is a stylish and chic bag that can be used to style day and evening looks. Its unique style is suitable for all women that express a preference for
the same style with different leather skins. It truly embodies what the brand seeks to achieve with the products we create.

Thoughts on the Leather Industry in Nigeria
It is a growing industry, we could see that a lot at the last leather fair. A lot of people are taking interest in manufacturing leather goods. Of course, the Aba region has always been generally known for leather in Nigeria, we can see it moving to the south-west. More people are training and formally developing the leather manufacturing skill, this is evident in the Lekki Arts and Crafts Village for instance. Sourcing leather is a bit of a challenge as we are limited to a few vendors in Nigeria and sometimes have to source for leather internationally. The level of skill of the artisans currently is basic and there is a need for much learning and improvement, the good thing is that people are willing to learn and there is interest in the industry. The technology and equipment needed for production are mostly available overseas and it is quite cost-intensive setting up manufacturing in Nigeria so the barriers to entry are there in terms of capital. Also, as with most manufacturing in Nigeria, the infrastructure to support the industry is not readily available with power
issues and poor transport structure.

The importance of Lagos Leather Fair
Networking, brand building and positioning, market awareness and research, learning and exposure, sales opportunities especially for businesses without their own brick and mortar store. It is important to interact with our clients and target market.

Catch these designers at Lagos Leather Fair 2018 happening on the 5th and 6th of May.