What inspires your work?
Ah. This particular collection referenced the film noir genre. In general though – inspiration can come from music, books, fabric, M.A.C Visuals. I know this is cliché, but I am inspired by life, life and beauty. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so I’ll qualify by saying that I am inspired by whatever is beautiful to me at a particular point in time.Occasionally when I have too many references that I am excited about, I sketch it all – edit to a point where I feel comfortable, and then produce the samples. Sometimes there is another pre-production edit – some things are beautiful but not necessarily in the same way as everything else in the collection!
How did you come up with the theme for the new collection?
Aside from the general message of being in ‘Control’ of your image, I was fixated on Rita Hayworth’s character in ‘ The Lady From Shanghai’. Her grace and the mix of strength and vulnerability was something I tried to portray in the collection as a whole, from the fabric choices to the styling in the film and photos (Bolaji Animashaun is a genius) . I like to think the collection is modern but with classic silhouettes and just something any woman can enjoy and relate to.
Do you have a particular person in mind when you design?
The Obsidian woman – Strong, Feminine and self assured. She has a sense of humour and cool, but cool in a timelessly relevant way as opposed to a ‘flash in the pan’ hot today, nowhere tomorrow. She can interpret a trend in a way that stays true to her personal style, but not in a way that portrays her as an overly pretentious, stereotypical ‘airhead fashionista’.
How would you describe your personal style?
Haha – A year or two ago I would have said fun, expressive and experimental. Now I'm working so hard the one thing I think of at ALL times is comfort. I still enjoy dressing up from time to time but I definitely go for a simpler more classic silhouette now.
What is the hardest challenge you've had as a up and coming designer?
Hmm. It’s hard to choose one really. There have been myriad issues to be honest. Nigerian designers don’t get as much support as they should, so the little you do get is treasured! I’m not saying we should accept mediocrity, but I think it’s important to give credit where credit is due, and really think before we make unfair judgments, baseless assumptions or harsh critiques. Ultimately, I find that as a people we love to associate ourselves with success – so I guess until I ‘make it’ lol I shouldn’t expect any overwhelming support. Production has also been a thorn in my side – the tailoring in this part of the world is not always amazing. So quality control is a problem, I am naturally a laissez-faire type manager but to get the work done to a standard I am comfortable with I have to micro-manage. It can be exhausting, but I think at the end of the day (as is true with any entrepreneurial endeavour) when you love what you do, it makes it all worth it.And of course constantly trying to push yourself, to innovate and take risks, learning to listen to criticism constructive and otherwise without taking it too personal. It’s definitely a steep learning curve.
Where do you see Obsidian in ten years?
The dream or the business plan? LOL. I'll tell you the dream then – If you can conceive it you can achieve it abi? *wink* Stores in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Enugu, Accra and Capetown. Stockists in London, Paris, Milan, Stockholm, New York and LA. A strong brand in general with brand extensions in other luxury sectors! (That’s the ‘SparkNotes’ version)
Describe your line in three words.