Many graduates in Nigeria are not only making a living as fashion entrepreneurs, they are also striving to make a difference in the fashion world, EMMANUEL MONYEI writes
The number of graduates who have abandoned their academic certificates to pick up entrepreneurial skills in the art of fashion designing is growing in Nigeria.
The founders of Damsco, Novice Couture and Christal Wears are just three out of many graduates who have found outlets for their passions for fashion.
Damsco, which deals in men’s clothing, was established by Damilola Otufodunrin, who graduated from the University of Lagos. He also runs Damsco Consult, which keeps people abreast of developments in the world of fashion.
“I’ve never seen myself as a 9-5 person,” Otufodunrin told Africana Entrepreneur while talking about how he created a niche for himself as a fashion entrepreneur.
He started his entrepreneurship journey in his university days because “I have always had the drive to be in control of my life.”
When he was in his third year in the university, he launched a dry cleaning business and was also creating fashion illustrations for designers.
Otufodunrin established Damsco in June 2013.
The graduate of History and Strategic Studies told Africana Entrepreneur that his fashion brand had continued to grow over the years.
“Your delivery would determine the feedback and reviews you get from customers,” he said.
He added, “My advice to other young designers is that they should live life per time; let people see how your growth progresses, be deliberate about putting in your best, and money would eventually come if you put in your best.”
Ogochukwu Chukwunomso, who studied Accounting at the Obafemi Awolowo University, is another fashion designer striving to make a mark in the industry.
The Chief Executive Officer of Novice Couture, a fashion startup that makes unisex wears, “believes strongly in entrepreneurship.”
According to him, determination and love for fashion trends are essential for anyone who wants to go into the fashion industry.
“Everyone has different concepts and your concept is what makes you unique. The competition is stiff but your customers will be your customers,” Chukwunomso said.
Specialisation seems to be the name of the game in the fashion world.
The Chief Executive Officer/Creative Director of Christal Wears, Christiana Talabi, is into ready-to-wear designs and designing bespoke oufits for women.
“I have always been a fashion lover…but I never dreamt of ever becoming a fashion designer. I studied Linguistics and I had interest in broadcasting. Although my mum was a fashion designer, she lost interest in it long time ago.
She had a sewing machine in the house for decoration. I can never forget how restless I was in my hostel during my final year in school. I just had designs in my head; I tried to ignore them but I couldn’t. It all began with sketches as I felt I could sketch my designs and have tailors make them for me,” she said in a recent interview with Sunday PUNCH.