Lagos Concept Store XII Glover Fills the Gap for African Millennials on Global Streetwear

 Inside XII Glover / Photo Courtesy @xiiglover

Inside XII Glover / Photo Courtesy @xiiglover

LAGOS, Nigeria - They boast, "ONLY PLACE IN LAGOS TO COP LEGIT SUPREME, PALACE, PALM ANGELS, OFF-WHITE..." The list goes on, but it's a critical rallying cry in a sector ripe for counterfeit goods. The hustle for streetwear is no joke wherever you are in the world, plagued by long lines on city streets and a secondary market where prices astronomically rise for the of-the-moment drop. However, no more so than in Lagos where access to coveted luxury streetwear from Western brands can be limited to airfare and disposable income spent in the closest European cities.

In the past decade, streetwear has rapidly grown from a niche sub-culture to mainstream modus operandi, dominating dressing with a millennial client from London to Lagos to Los Angeles. New concept store XII Glover is the latest to bring those labels to the fore with insiders right in Ikoyi. Need limited-edition Wizkid Starboy concert merch 10 minutes from Victoria Island? XII Glover has it. Looking for Supreme memorabilia to round out a collection? XII Glover can help you track it down.

 Inside XII Glover / Photo Courtesy @xiiglover

Inside XII Glover / Photo Courtesy @xiiglover

Named after its literal street address, the concept store launched in July and announced its first brand of Nike Football x Off-White on Instagram, which was timely given Nigeria's ascension in the World Cup. Since opening day, XII Glover now stocks foreign brands including KITH, A Bathing Ape, Yeezy, and Fear Of God plus a mix of cult classic pieces from European luxury brands Balenciaga and Maison Margiela, an in-house private label XII full of monochromatic separates, and Nigerian streetwear players SammyStates and Stay Cosy.

With no website, XII Glover is still a bit underground save infrequent postings of the store front to social media. Enigma is part of the streetwear playbook and the roster of brands they carry mean XII Glover can claim by association. It is a strategic approach to build credibility on the ground and it helps that foreign streetwear labels desire local stockists in Lagos due to the thriving demand for their goods with this African millennial demographic.

With a generation that's more likely to hear about a new style from a digital interface or by word of mouth, all brands, but especially streetwear, need to be nimble in how they engage with their audience. Another layer of the strategy is meeting consumers where they are. Dropping in Lagos firms up confidence with an affluent, perhaps niche crowd, who is keen to sport the most exclusive pieces not found elsewhere.

A third element of the streetwear playbook is the collaboration-centric culture. Selling not only clothes, but also accessories (think tents, skateboards, and magazines), XII Glover is making a stake in the lifestyle space, merchandising an assortment that can signal on and off the wearer shared values and beliefs. Limited edition and seasonally-specific drops ensure that smaller-than-average inventories do not present a challenge; scarcity benefits the business model with minimal expectation to restock and exclusivity near-guaranteed.

 Blogger duo Kèkerè at XII Glover / Photo Courtesy @xiiglover

Blogger duo Kèkerè at XII Glover / Photo Courtesy @xiiglover

The team behind XII Glover suggests that domestic streetwear brands are seen more neutrally by the broader Nigerian fashion industry, which biases towards bespoke and hand-crafted designs, but the market for screen-printed tees, graffiti-tagged denim and faded cotton sweats is growing and quickly. Nigerian labels leading the landscape include Severe Nature, Bearded Genius, Vivendii, and WFLSNCRM, who recently partnered with luxury retailer ALARA on an exclusive capsule collection.

UK-based photographer Femi Olaiya commented on Instagram, "I have always imagined when we would start having sneaker and garment releases in Lagos. With what you are doing, we are not far off." A vote of confidence goes a long way. The founding team has plans to expand beyond streetwear one day, but for now, they are doing just fine.