Ms Annie Oti is the founder of the African Fashion Law blog. As a budding fashion lawyer, her first priority is to understand the law and know how best it can be applied in order to provide beneficial legal and business solutions for creatives in the fashion industry in Nigeria and Africa at large. When she talks about creatives in the fashion industry, she not only refers to fashion designers but every skilled individual from the textile producers to the garment manufacturers, the models, the shoemakers, the jewellery merchants and so many other creatives in the fashion space. In conversation with her, she gave us insights on few questions.
4 YRS BACK WHEN YOU FIRST THOUGHT OF STARTING YOUR OWN AFRICAN FASHION LAW BLOG, WHAT WAS YOUR VISION.
It simply started as a platform just to share my thoughts and interest in fashion law. Through several research I discovered the potential and opportunities surrounding the fashion industry and I told myself that like it is in Industries all over the world, the legal area is an essential aspect in every business and it is so much better when the lawyer also understands the business and the terms applied in such an industry, so I started my fashion law journey. The Vision is and has always been to provide legal and business solutions to creatives in the fashion industry. Over the years, the vision has become clearer and we aim to help provide mentorship programs, training, online classes, courses and contents to help fashion entrepreneurs know how best to protect their creativity and their brand.
YOU ARE A FREQUENT SPEAKER IN THE PRESS & MEDIA ON MATTERS RELATED TO AFRICAN FASHION LAW, WHAT DEVELOPMENTS HAVE YOU SEEN IN THE FASHION INDUSTRY & GOVERNMENT IN THIS LONG CAREER.
I am super proud of the Nigerian Fashion Industry, the industry has evolved over the past few years. Over the years, the industry has gained support both by private companies and public organisations providing fundings, organising training, empowering creatives towards achieving their business goals. There are several issues affecting the Nigerian Fashion Industry but I believe that with time the industry will surpass the issues.
DESCRIBE A TIME WHEN YOU STRUGGLED WITH MOTIVATION IN YOUR FIELD SINCE WE ALL KNOW IT WAS A NEW STREAM THEN. HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THE CRISIS?
During the times when I have struggled with motivation to move forward with this amazing aspect of law. I simply remind myself why I started and what I hope to achieve. Personally, I have had my struggles considering the novelty of this area of law but I keep pushing considering the impact I hope to make in this space.
HOW DID YOUR PREVIOUS INTERNSHIPS/ JOBS HELP YOU IN COMING UP WITH YOUR OWN PLATFORM FOR FASHION LAW?
One word “Clarity”. Through the internships and jobs I have done in the past, I have been able to gain further clarity on what the fashion industry requires in the legal sense. I have been able to unlearn and relearn certain conceptions I had about fashion law and the fashion industry in the past and it has totally been fantastic taking up internship/job opportunities that continually have an impact on my goal of becoming an outstanding fashion lawyer not just in my country or my continent but in the world at large.
I look forward to taking up more opportunities and gaining knowledge continuously.
YOU ARE ONE OF THE YOUNGEST AND FEW MEMBER OF THE FASHION LAW INDUSTRY, IN NIGERIA, HOW DOES THAT MAKE YOU FEEL
I feel there is so much work to be done and I am excited to get the work done in the best way possible while I continually improve myself.
IN THE RECENT BLOG YOU HAD MENTIONED ABOUT SUCCESS OF COMPLETING YOUR SERIES ON THE AFRICAN FASHION LAW INTERVIEW, WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR LAWYERS INTERESTED IN COMBINING FASHION & LAW
As a lawyer interested in combining fashion and law, it is imperative to understand the laws that apply to the fashion industry and also understand the businesses in the fashion industry. It is a new area of law, so it is vital that you aim for excellence, seek out opportunities, network with individuals in the fashion law space, put yourself out there and have a structure/ a plan which will enable you to grow in the fashion law space.
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR THE LAW IN FASHION & WHAT IS THE PLACE OF THE LAW IN THE GLOBAL FASHION INDUSTRY?
The Law in fashion is imperative because through the law the creativity of fashion entrepreneurs are protected, through the law they attain justice, through the law they make secure agreements with other parties that can propel their businesses, through the law, they can secure investments safely and so many other benefits. The law is vital and it is paramount for every business to not only be aware but also take legally guided decisions. As the fashion industry globally develops, so will the area of fashion law develop? The law will evolve side by side with the fashion business/ companies in the world.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO JOIN YOUR HANDS WITH THE FASHION LAW INSTITUTE OR ANY GOVERNMENT ORGANISATION FOR ACADEMIC COLLABORATIONS?
Definitely, in the nearest future, I hope to collaborate with some organisations that will help educate individuals, lawyers and creatives in the fashion industry on the best way to run a fashion business/ company with the law in perspective.