Mercedes Gonzalez is a renowned player in the global garment and fashion industry.


For almost two decades, Mercedes has worked with top buying offices and has helped open or restructure hundreds of stores in many major cities around the world.

Her pedigree and vast knowledge made her more than qualified to speak at the recent fashion masterclass organised by Nigeria’s Bank of Industry (BoI).

During the masterclass which held at Oriental Hotel, Lagos, Mercedes shared with established and budding Nigerian designers what it takes to be commercially successful in the industry.


“I have a soft spot for Nigeria. It always breaks my heart why Nigerian fabrics are not easily found in the United States”, Mercedes said, while noting that she wants Nigerian designers to start making serious money from their creations.

Explaining that fashion is not a “business where you are going to be an overnight success”, she stressed that the most important thing is that a finished work must be “sellable.”

Mercedes listed five groups of fashion designers – who don’t make money.


1. They assume that they know what they are doing

These lot, Mercedes said, go into fashion believing that they have all the ideas and insight to build a successful fashion brand. Without seeking help or getting training, they most often fail.

2. They are on a super ego trip

These group of designers sell things without making money just to get their name out. They spend too much money on fashion shows, events, etc. They also spend a lot of money on celebrity placement. They do everything themselves.


3. They don’t have a niche

In fashion (or anything in life), you have to be associated with a particular thing to be successful. Fashion designers who do a bit of everything from the inception often find it difficult to make any form of headway in the long run.

4. They don’t have industry know-how

Some individuals go into the business without the necessary know-how and industry support. They don’t know what works and how to go about establishing a brand.


5. They don’t have the drive

These group of persons, Mercedes said, are always complaining about how they have no time or money. They are never fully willing to make sacrifices. They are always worried about imitation, and make mountains out of mole hills.

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