By Clemas Effanga
Imagine an application that allows you to take accurate measurements and get the best-fitted clothes without visiting the tailor; an application that makes you your own personal fashion designer? This is what we are birthing as The Mobile Tailor.
I stumbled upon the idea in 2014 while in a strategy class in business school. I was a fashion designer hungry for knowledge to scale my business. The lecturer mentioned that businesses need to explore ways of bringing their businesses closer to the people. That all businesses ought to be mobile. He said the future of business was being able to transition from the old ways towards being data enabled or driven. In essence, we needed to be on people’s mobile phones. From that day I started exploring ways of making people design clothes using their mobile phone in real time. I researched this method extensively and found out it was already in existence in Europe. All I needed to do was improve on it and make it African.
There are a lot of challenges around starting something new anywhere, but Africa has the same challenges in complex ways. For example, assembling a team of like-minded and skilled people willing to grow with the vision was very difficult. While there is a general deficit in skill levels, there are also skilled people who can’t afford to chase a dream when the pocket isn’t very healthy. Funding is also another major issue. Most investors look to quick return on investments. Luckily, we have several tech hubs and investors filling that gap in Nigeria.
In spite of the challenges, people have been very receptive to the overall idea and concept of the application. While we understand that market penetration will gradual, the excitement we’ve seen in focus groups and during the market testing phase tell us that it will be definite.
For sustainable growth to happen in the fashion industry, we need like-minded stakeholders to start thinking ahead. The fashion space is very large and very much untapped. Better equipment needs to be brought in. The whole value chain associated with the design and production need to be technology enabled.
The industry is growing astronomically. Brands need to start thinking global. We are already pioneering that. Just as we have tech hubs we also need fashion hubs so we can scale and leverage at the same time.
The Mobile Tailor will definitely make people more interested in fashion. People will enjoy the comfort and thrill of getting well-fitted clothing in their homes, designed to their taste. It will make investors and the government look inwards with the right push. People will come to understand that fashion is a serious business and its evolution through technology is here to grow.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in The Spark Magazine. Find the magazine here to read more articles.
Clemas Effanga is an award-winning designer, CEO at Clemas Garments Company Limited, and Founder – The Mobile Tailor – a web and mobile application designed to ease tailoring challenges for everyday Nigerians.