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.
Less than a month after the pandemic reached Africa, Tiffany Amber’s entire factory refocussed to produce personal protective equipment (PPE). Instead of couture runway garments, the company’s sewing machines have begun stitching hospital scrubs, gowns, stretcher sheets and non-medical face masks.
To make the shift, the company first had to secure more than approximately 90,000 yards of fabric, 300,000 yards of elastic, and almost a million yards of thread. All of this happened, Coker says, right before borders closed in Nigeria and prices spiked due to the unforeseen demand for materials.
The catalyst has been a trend in the private sector worldwide, as companies around the globe have switched gears to supply the growing demand for PPE.
By early June, the fashion label had made approximately 500,000 cloth masks, 20,000 sets of sheets and pillowcases, 10,000 scrubs, 15,000 patient gowns and close to 5,000 surgical gowns.
And the company has actually managed to grow from 100 employees to a staff of 300.
Nigeria has more than 30,000 total confirmed cases of coronavirus, the second-most on the continent behind South Africa.