Designer or High Street? Do Nigerians Know the Difference?

28 April 2020



When you hear the labels Next, Zara, Aldo, Primark, ASOS what comes to your mind? Designers???????? ERRR you are oh so wrong.


Let's start with basic dictionary definitions shall we so that at least you'll know I'm not making it up...

chic, sophisticateluxury, classy, elegant, beautiful, name brand, rich, suave, enriched, quality, high end, expensive.

The UK equivalent of drugstore makeup ... aka cheaper, non-designer brands


Designer(also called luxury or high end) brands are usually A LOT MORE EXPENSIVE, like, a typical Louis Vuitton bag could cost you from $1k5 to $5k. At this stage, purchases are meant to be investment pieces that stand the test of time and crafted with luxury in mind.

Another way to tell designer brands is that there is an actual designer or two behind the brand. It is their company, they are the founders, they are the ones paying the people that work there.

Let me give you some examples 

Nicky & Simone Zimmerman are the founders of the Australian brand ZIMMERMAN
Thomas Burberry is the founder of British brand BURBERRY
Pierre Balmain founded the French fashion house BALMAIN
Maria Nina Ricci is the founder of the French brand NINA RICCI

But with High street brands, it's all about fast fashion and creating fashion (or mostly copying designer looks) with the cheapest materials they can get away with, even workmanship on the items are not of high quality.

There is also no actual designer that owns the brand, it's usually just someone or a group of individuals, usually, business people who decide to make & sell(retail) clothes, they are the ones who pay the staff.

Some examples of high street retail brands 

Husband & wife Do Wan Chang & Jin Sook Chang from S.Korea own FOREVER21
Brothers Isak & Nahman Andic are owners of MANGO
Steve Madden owner of Steve Madden Ltd owns STEVE MADDEN
Jessica Simpson owns the retail brand JESSICA SIMPSON


 It is important to note that not all designer or high street brands follow this "founder/designer" rule as is the case of the high street brand Zara founded by Spanish designers Amancio Ortego & Rosalia Mera, who pride themselves on copying designer brands and making them cheaper.

And on the designer end, some brands have been purchased by a conglomerate, who appoint different designers from time to time to design for their luxury brand, an example of this is French conglomerate Kering, that owns the designer/luxury brands Bottega Veneta, Gucci, Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, YSL, etc

To non - Nigerians reading this blog, you might be wondering, "WHY DON'T THEY KNOW THE DIFFERENCE?"

I and other Nigerians who know the difference have been wondering too, and I've come up with some reasons

   1. Nigerian boutique owners want to hike up prices

             Unfortunately, we have capitalism to thank for this, any way to make an extra kobo without breaking the law is allowed, and, in this particular case lying is not breaking the law.

             I remember once I was in Abuja, in one of these shops attached to a hotel, minding my own business in the shop, looking for what to buy myself. Then the owner of the shop involves me (at least she tried to because I was already getting angry at the prices I was seeing) in a conversation she's having with a customer. 

           This lady was trying to sell a pair of Next (very much a high street brand) shoes to a customer for 150k naira (my people are you seeing me see this very expensive joke?) Mind you this was when $1 = N250

            She kept telling her "It's serious designers o, hmmmmmm these designers are the ones that don't even bother with fashion magazines unless they have sold 80 of their goods to very exclusive clients, I had to beg serious beg before they gave me this one." My people, I couldn't make this up if I tried SMHHHHHHHH

            As she said "customer abi it's true?" to involve me in the gist, I warned her seriously to leave me out of the gist.

            The final straw that broke the camels back for me was that the lady in question had already bought one pair of Next shoes, all this talk was to convince her to buy ANOTHER ONE.

     2. Most Nigerians are naive & clueless

            I say this because these things are so easy to verify, almost everyone has a mobile phone these days, instead of using them to find out the latest on Linda Ikeji or Davido & Chioma, spare some mb to save yourself from being robbed in broad daylight biko.

            A simple online search of the particular brands' website will show the price of the item you want to buy and sometimes even more important, it will let you know if the brand actually produced that item. 

            In a lot of cases though, Nigerian vendors or resellers usually have stock from 2 or 3 seasons ago, so they might not show up on the website BUT you will have a general idea of what the price point of the brand is.

          Another thing is that most Nigerians don't realize that a lot of our favourite high street brands like New Look, ASOS, Topshop, and even designer brands like YSL, Zimmerman, etc ship to Nigeria.

          I know you must be thinking about the shipping costs but I'm very sure that a lot of high street brands offer free international shipping on orders over $50 and for stores like Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus that sell a lot of designer brands under one roof, they have free shipping for orders a $100 and over.
Now, I can hear you screaming $50????????? $100????????? 'Where the money???????'
And to that, I'm gonna say "SHOP SMARTER" 


Plan your shopping, if you're gonna be spending all this money and your account balance is like mine, LOL. Most likely shopping every month is not feasible.

So maybe you shop every 3 or 6 months, even better to meet the required price for free shipping, shop with a friend or 2, each person can pay for their item and there's no shipping cost to bear, see....... THAT'S HOW TO SHOP SMARTER.

Another question I get is

 "Abeg, why all the stress?" and usually, I think these people are trying to wind me up.

 SOOOOOOOOOO you can spend 50k on something that's supposed to cost 10k even after the vendor has shipped it to Nigeria plus AC in the shop, but you can't spend the same 50k on something better, that'll last you longer and take only 2 weeks to get to you? Errrrrrr I'm sorry, your problem is well beyond me.

Nowwwwww, I'm most certainly not bashing people who buy high street because I'm one of you, I just think it's imperative to know the difference, so that
  • you stay WOKE and actually know what's up, especially in a public setting
  • you know where and WHAT to spend your hard-earned money on, don't go spending 20k on Primark shoes that won't even last you 6months, plsssssssss STOP IT & THANK YOU

For my people who get the difference, are tired of explaining and having people ask you, 

"Are you sure?" Just do the needful, by sending them this blog post, save your saliva biko, LOL LOL LOL plus you can vent in the comments, I'm here for you LOL

And for the ones who claim "They're all the same" & "It doesn't matter".

 I would encourage you to go into those expensive(designer) stores in Lagos and Abuja, you know, those stores that you feel like you have to baff up before you enter. 
Just go there and touch some of the fabric, look at the details and finishings, I'm confident you'll have an epiphany.

So, my people, until next time I have something to get of my chest.



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