Speaks On Her New Ready-To-Wear Fashion Line Ex- Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria, Omowunmi Akinnifesi has just joined the league of those in fashion business. The stylish beauty queen unveiled her clothing line called “Omowunmi Ready To Wear Collection: The Urban Movement at the Polo Avenue, Victoria Island, Lagos on Sunday 6th March 2016. In this interview with QISMAT YINUS, she speaks about her clothing line, and fashion in general.
What is your clothing line all about?
This is the Omowunmi Ready To Wear Clothing. It is for the busy and sociable woman. A woman who can wear whatever she is wearing, for breakfast, to lunch with friends, to a meeting, and also to the office. What she is wearing transcends through different occasions. She does not have to go home to change. This is what I wanted to do for the “Omowunmi Woman”.
What inspired this line?
It is about trying to empower women, make them look and feel good. Women are losing their substance. I just wanted to add value to the Nigerian entertainment industry, in terms of fashion.
So what do you hope to achieve with it?
I hope to inspire people to do more ready-to-wear, as opposed to doing couture. Everyone does couture, and it does not move fast enough. When you do couture, you do one piece, you don’t do many pieces of one. It is a good thing, however, we want to build a good market so we can have our own “Oxford Street” here in Nigeria, where Nigerian designers will be doing ready-to-wear. We go to Oxford Street, in the UK and shop for Zara or Ted Baker. We need to spend the money here.
Would you be going into couture later?
Not really. If I do go into couture, it would be something special, for a special friend and it could also be for the business, but right now we are doing ready-to-wear.
Did you study Fashion Designing before setting up your label?
I studied at London College of Fashion. I have wanted to do designing. I went to Kings College London, and studied Environmental Management, and after that I was like I wanted to do fashion. I have won fashion icon of the year awards from City People, and also from Vanguard. Also a lot of the fashion designers that have designed for me have always told me to go do my own stuff. So I thought if everyone is telling me to do this, I have to do it. I saw it was something that I loved to do, and I decided to take the bold step forward.
So how has it been since you started?
It has been wonderful. I launched in December and sold out, which is not normal, because a lot of people did not even know I had a clothing line. Many people just walked into the stores, and I sold out. So I was actually supposed to launch in December, but I sold out, which is why I am launching in March now. So it is going really well.
Can you mention some of the big names who wear your outfits?
We have a lot of people. We have Osas Ighodaro, Annie Idibia, and so many them that I can’t think of right now. Numerous high profile celebrities have worn my clothes. Aunty Sade Okoya is here right now, Senator Florence Ita-Giwa, Nkiru Anumudu, Ruth Osime are all here. These are women who have defined themselves in the fashion industry, and for them to be here, and admire my pieces, makes me honoured.
Did your background as a beauty queen influence your journey into fashion designing?
Of course. I am very favoured and I thank God for it. I am using my platform to create wonderful designs, and also to inspire people. I am happy that I am able to do this.
As a fashionista, how would you define style?
Style is in-built. It is something you bring from the inside outside, not the other way round. For example I could be Bohemian and wear maxi skirts, and dresses, because that is who I am. I could also be chic and wear pencil skirts, and tops; your style is a reflection of who you really are.
So what we should be expecting from your line, after this launch?
You should be looking out for more designs. We are stocking at Meidei in Lekki, Grey Velvet in Lekki, Ikeja, and Port Harcourt. We will also be launching in USA, and United Kingdom. I am in partnership with Polo Avenue and the other stores.
Why did you choose to partner with Polo Avenue, and launch your line at the Polo Avenue Store in Lagos?
Why wouldn’t I? Polo Avenue is a luxury store. We are an affordable brand, but I wanted to inspire people. It is very good when you enter a store, and it is very intimidating, but you find out you can actually get affordable stuff like mine. It is comforting. I chose Polo Avenue because I wanted somewhere people can aspire to be and afford my clothing right here inside Polo. When you say affordable, what do you really mean?
Our price range is between N8,000 and N40,000.
So it is not a luxury brand?
It is not a luxury brand. We are middle range. We are not cheap, but we are affordable. It is premium affordability. That is why we are at Polo Avenue, we are premium, but also affordable.
When I brought my clothes here at the Polo Avenue, all the sales girls bought from me. The sales girls were happy that they could get those affordable clothes here at Polo.
Did you design all the pieces in your collection yourself? I designed everything, from the fabric selection. However, I am not a fashion designer, I am a fashion entrepreneur. My designs are simple.
What sets you apart from other fashion designers? I am for a woman with a social life style, I am not couture. I am ready-to-wear. You can wear my clothes from day to night. Omowunmi’s pieces transcends all of these.