It’s less than a month to the widely publicized Nigerian Student Fashion and Design Week 2014. NSFDW is scheduled to hold on the 5th and 6th of June at the Indoor Sports Hall of the University of Lagos. Different designers will grace the runway showing off their collections, also exhibitions going on in the side lines.
We share a mini chat with one of the designers, Couture Royals who will be showcasing his collection at the event.
Q: Can we meet you?
I am Utejiro Gregory Ogbo, the sixth child of my parents out of eleven children, so yes I come from a large family which makes holidays and family occasions so much fun. I am from Delta State, an indigene of Isoko South Local Government Area although I was born and grew up in Warri. I have a BSC in Microbiology from University of Benin and an MSc in Safety, Health and Environmental Management from the University of Southwales, UK. The brand name is Couture Royale. It is a lifestyle brand and as such we intend to design and manufacture products ranging from clothes to clothing accessories. We specialize in urban designs at the moment but quickly branching out into formal wear, dinner dresses and eventually street and sport wear.
Q: How did Fashion start for you?
Well I always was in love with ART, not necessarily sewing but the idea of creating something just from my thoughts was amazing. I started writing poems and short stories (fiction) when I was in Secondary school and I became the go-to guy for poems and love notes (yea I’m that old), but I got my first taste of fashion in my 2nd year at the University of Benin and haven’t being able to shake it away. I am now into designing and developing the creative direction the company takes for each season.
Q: Are your parents in support of this?
My mum supports anything her child wants but my dad was more skeptical and pushed me to read Microbiology for my undergrad and Safety, Health and Environmental Management for my Masters, but he has finally come along and realized that you cannot make a child be what you want him/her to be, you just have to support them and help them grow in whatever field they fancy and have a natural gravitation towards, for me that is fashion.
Q: How did you hear about the event?
I heard of the NSFDW when I was studying for my MSc in the UK and was interested in the concept, I made the enquiry but couldn’t make up the funds to travel down and back. So when I heard about this year’s event and saw all the online ads, the rest they say is history.
Q: What are your expectations from the event?
My expectation is simple, I want people to recognize that Nigeria has got talent and the skills to compare and surpass most designers in other parts of the world, we are a gifted country and recognition is most important because if you do design amazingly and nobody gets to see it (which I did for several years) then it begins to dumb down your creativity, but when it’s out there you would want to improve on your work to keep people interested.
Q: What should we be expecting from you at NSFDW?
At Couture Royale we tend to mix and match materials, textures and colours but you would be seeing something a little from our 2014 urban look and a taste of our sexy couture side.
Q: What are the major challenges emerging designers in Nigeria are facing?
Emerging designers in the country are not exposed to media and ways to produce in bulk, or to the international market, at the moment print design and materials are ruling the fashion scene but a country like Nigeria that should be milking this trend is still behind. Also the few well known designers in Nigeria are not willing to mentor the emerging designer, it is sad but
true. The emerging designer only learns by mistakes which could have been avoided. That is why Couture Royale plans to introduce an internship program where emerging designers can come and learn by trying their hands on Couture Royale’s global projects and get paid for their hard work, so you work, learn and develop yourself as a fashion designer and business person with the internship program, we are not opening a fashion school, I don’t believe you learn the nitty gritty of the fashion world from there.