Until recently, most fashion designers in Nigeria were products of apprenticeship arrangements of tailoring shops. Now, specialized fashion schools or academies are taking over the production of fashion entrepreneurs. Some of them are so sophisticated, big and expansive, they are almost indistinguishable from the formal tertiary educational institutions.
One of the exceptional fashion institutions that is blazing the trail in the training of fashion entrepreneurs for Nigeria and other African countries is GMYT Fashion Academy.
Currently, the Academy is a producing the next generation of entrepreneurs through skill acquisition and business knowledge. Its aim is to create job opportunities for millions of women/youths around the world.
It strives to be a world class fashion school which with a significant impact on the practice of entrepreneurship. The Academy has been outstanding over the years, having graduated over 500 women and youths and putting them in line for business. The academy has received numerous awards including 2018 Outstanding Leadership Award of Excellence for Outstanding Fashion School of the Year.
GMYT Fashion Academy is by far the leading fashion academy in the whole of West Africa a fact that is established through the quality of Alumni over the years. All of them are treading the paths of success already, started their businesses and are doing tremendously well in the Fashion industry. Some of them have won awards for their distinctiveness in business while some now own Fashion Academies where they also lead the Psalter of training other women; thus, following the footprints of GMYT.
The entire Alumni still remains part and parcel of the GMYT Family of Fame even after graduation. They are involved in all the Academy’s events, fashion shows and functions, honored with awards, given the opportunity to showcase their amazing collections on the runway and also given ample chance to network with potential guests.
Through the GMYT Foundation, the Academy has awarded scholarships to its students from across the country. Princess Kelechi Oghene, Chief Executive Officer of the GMYT Group of companies explains: “As you know, we have a goal to train over 5000 youths before 2030; early this year, we gave over 20 scholarships worth over N20 million, this is just our own little way of reducing unemployment through fashion so that our community would be a better and safer place for us all to live in and we are not stopping anytime soon.”
A snippet on what the Academy was able to achieve in the last one year was the acquisition of a state-of-the-art Fashion Academy with over 10 en-suite well air-conditioned executive classrooms, free wifi for the students, security, amongst other stakeholders. Another milestone was the launching of its own penthouse (The Gmyt Apartments). As a way of giving back to society, the Academy specifically provided the free accommodation for its distant students who have no place to stay during their period of learning with Gmyt Fashion Academy.
The Academy has also been able to strengthen its online class platform, enabling distant students to learn from the comfort of their homes and office. Princess Oghene said the results have been outstanding as online students all over Nigeria and abroad are doing absolutely well.
Apart from all these, the fashion academy has also added a lot of benefits to its programme to give the best learning experience. Some of these benefits are mentorship, internship, free start-up kits, free textbooks, free sewing machine, standard learning facility, flexible payment plan, job placement, offline and online learning mode, free Wi-Fi, certification, award recognition, detailed curriculum, flexible programme (freezing of account), serene environment, career pivot, alumni community, in-house masterclass, security, amongst others.
The students are from different countries but mostly Africa, like Liberia, Kenya, Ghana, Cameroon, South Africa, as well as Philippine, United States and United Kingdom.
The Academy has been able to improve the teaching structure of the academy and upgraded the curriculum, employed more professional staff to run the affairs of the students. It also developed more strategic ways to teach students in other to be inspired by their imagination, create trends and not just follow trends. An example was the creation of the Fashion Illustration Programme where students get to understand the history of fashion and trends, how to create collections, know more about colours and fabrics and also how to create portfolios. More structures are constantly being added to the academy, to create a suitable learning environment.
“Through God, we will never relent to give back to the society by empowering more men and women; today we can boldly say that we have trained hundreds of men and women for free, who are now doing very well in the fashion industry, ” Princess Oghene said.
It is in recognition of these laudable initiatives of grooming and empowering a new generation of entrepreneurs that the GMYT Fashion Academy has been honoured with the award of the Fashion Academy of the Year by the Top 10 magazine.