Pulse.ng logo

Mode De Vie With Olamide How to be taken seriously as a fashion designer in Nigeria - 1

I’m back talking about the Nigerian fashion industry again this week and if you're an emerging creative, it's for you!

  • Published:

I’m back to talking about the Nigerian fashion industry again this week (can you tell I’m obsessed  with it! Why won’t I be though, we have an impressing amount of amazing talents)

I had an argument with my colleagues at work recently and it got me thinking -they went on and on about why I haven't arranged for an interview with a Nigerian singer whom they told me was a "Top designer" that "everyone knows", "Haven't you seen the way he dresses...I know he's been designing for a while and everyone knows him" were some of the comments they passed, one of them later told me I was just a snob as he doesn't believe I have never heard this said artiste was a designer!

ALSO READ: Mode De Vie With Olamide- Fake it till you make it? Designer vs Fake

ASHILLA ROZAE showcasing at the Nigerian Student Fashion And Design Week play

ASHILLA ROZAE showcasing at the Nigerian Student Fashion And Design Week


I said "OK, I'll ask you some questions and if answered then I'll consider sitting with this said 'designer' (I'm laughing out loud at how that word has been abused in Nigeria honestly). "Has he released any collection via a lookbook or the runway -no matter which one- since he started designing?", 'Have you seen any of his designs on him or celebrities, style lover or any one at all?", "does he stock anywhere (physically) or does he have an actual store" and so on were the questions  I asked and everyone kept mute and then dispersed.

I have had the opportunity to work with a foremost Nigerian designer who’s gotten rave reviews and international exposure, privately shown for Franca Sozzani, friends with Valentino (maybe that one time they took a photo and chatted) with pieces stocked at La Rinascente, Yoox at a point in Selfridges with  Serena Williams shopping pieces off her racks excitedly one time she came to  Lagos and more(exciting shoots with renowned people). She paid her dues and she’s going strong...

Safe to say, I have just about enough experiences to guide the new/emerging creatives, you’d do well to learn from her brand (and more  I've worked with courtesy of this same brand) via me! Don't make any mistakes, there's no mincing words here, If you want to move forward, then just learn!

Get your ‘house’ in order (P.R)

After the initial stages of creating a brandname, getting the logo and relevant designs in the whole brand/organization in other, get a Public Relations (PR) team/person (depending on the size of the brand or the budget) to manage the brand. In this situation you don't need an expensive team in place, just someone who understands how to push your brand, has relationships with the media (TV, blogs etc), articulate thoughts that help put out what your brand is about from time to time and so on.

Know that you can be your own PR person if you are qualified and experienced in this line too but it's usually not advisable as most times you're saddled with the creative concerns' of the brand, so it's better to have someone do that (depending on your budget) well for you. Heck you can have a barter with the person, if you can't afford a PR person just yet, do an exchange, gift them your pieces in exchange!

ALSO READ: Mode De Vie With Olamide- Much ado about lookbook slay-age, sell instead...

 Nigerian Student Fashion And Design Week 2016 play

 Nigerian Student Fashion And Design Week 2016


( By all means stop with sending random 'please post on your brand' disjointed yahoo mails from your phone) Take it seriously for people to.

Have a sense of direction -  What are you producing?

What and whom are you producing for? Are you strictly couture, made to measure or ready to wear? Pick a direction and slowly build into other niche if you are capable of doing it all but start small and progress, don't attempt to do everything at the beginning, grow first and improve from there.

By all means be a master of an art first before exploring other options that might end even better with experience, crawl before walking dear creative.

You don’t have to be everywhere and that includes your brand- have a niche, be GREAT at it

To be successful, your brand does not have to be littered anywhere, find a niche/target client and satisfy them to the last with great product and services. Cater to your dedicated clients, they'ld love you for it and ultimately pass on the amazing-ness (hopefully) of your works to others; word of mouth is a great way to start out and grow into a household brand.

Use social media to your advantage- not just to show off celebrities but your work

Of course, it works when celebrities (the ones who influence purchase decisions and make your designs look good) wear your pieces and you show this off via social media (with proper consultation with your PR person). It;s important to use professional photos when showcasing designs where lacking use good enough ones ( hello, Instagram filters).

ALSO READ: Why should I pick a Nigerian brand over ASOS?

 Nigerian Student Fashion And Design Week 2016 play

 Nigerian Student Fashion And Design Week 2016


You have the power of social media to give snippets or what goes on in the brand, designs and more that gives a peek into your brand and what it's about.

Shoot campaigns, show your works

Let people see what you actually make/what you are capable of doing. This doesn't mean jumping unto runways before you're prepared, don't try to fly before crawling (put the cart before the horse NOT)

Get a good stylist -if you're good at styling fair enough- and pull designs together, work with an amazing photographer and shows off what you've got in the best way possible. Let people see your work, no one cares really about your face!

To be continued...

Do you ever witness news or have a story that should be featured on Pulse Nigeria?
Submit your stories, pictures and videos to us now via WhatsApp: +2349055172167, Social Media @pulsenigeria247: #PulseEyewitness & DM or Email: eyewitness@pulse.ng. More information here.