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Nigerian fashion label Tiffany Amber swaps couture for PPE

Nigerian fashion label Tiffany Amber has changed with the times.

Folake Akindele Coker founded Tiffany Amber in 1998, and it’s now considered one of Nigeria’s most influential fashion and lifestyle brands. Coker pivoted her fashion label into PPE production after she realized that a prolonged lockdown in Nigeria would impact consumer sales.

This pivot has been a trend in the private sector worldwide, as companies around the globe have switched gears to supply the growing demand for PPE. Globally, the luxury market is also expected to shrink as much as 35% this year, as consumer spending sharply declines mainly due to job loss, according to consulting firm Bain and Co.

To make the shift, Coker says the company first had to secure more than 15 tons of raw materials including approximately 90,000 yards of fabric, 300,000 yards of elastic, and almost a million yards of thread. All of this happened, she says, right before borders closed in Nigeria and prices spiked due to the unforeseen demand for materials.

 In less than a month after the pandemic reached Africa, Tiffany Amber’s entire factory refocused to produce personal protective equipment (PPE), something Coker notes took immense pressure to turn around. As Covid-19 cases rose and consumer spending fell, Coker saw an opportunity for her business to stay open and to help out.

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