Are you thinking of becoming a fashion designer in Nigeria? Do you have hopes of becoming one of the bigwigs like Mai Atafo, Frank Oshodi and Deola Sagoe in the fashion industry? Well, you must know that fashion designing isn’t all about catwalks at runway shows; it requires a lot of hard work, passion and commitment.
Fashion designing has the ability to touch lives and make an occasion special, ranging from helping people get hired, making couples feel good on their wedding day, impressing on first date, and most of all, feeling good about themselves.
Thus, to become a fashion designer in Nigeria, below is a list of necessary steps assembled to help kick start your career in the fashion world.
Fashion designing is a dynamic industry and it is pertinent to do a great deal of research before venturing into it. A lot of people showcase works that you wouldn’t glance at twice as a result of extremely bad taste.
Some even go to the extent of buying ready-made outfits, putting them on models to schmooze at runways and claiming them as their creations. Just like every other profession, you have to learn from the best to be the best. And how is that possible? You could go to a fashion school or look for internship positions at revered fashion houses.
Paying attention to details
Trust me, a perfectly done piece will not only advertise you but would put you far ahead of your contemporaries. When people know your designs speak quality, they will pay good money to have you make clothes for them.
Thus, a good fashion designer doesn’t look at a fabric and see a piece of cloth, what he/she sees is a combination of colors that can be used as an advantage to make exquisite designs. A top fashion designer sees what others can’t see.
Working as an intern or apprentice will not only give you the necessary knowledge needed in the business, but will also ensure you don’t make mistakes that will ruin your career.
Making your calculations
After garnering the necessary experience, the next thing is to decide how to start your business. This is where mathematics comes into play. You need to know how much it will cost you to start the business, location, and other factors too.
Without proper calculations and planning, you are laying a path for failure. At first, you might have to do the design, marketing, sales and other factors necessary for running a startup, however as the business gets bigger, you will be able to afford the services of various specialists to help your business expand.
Marketing your business
When you make a great or stunning piece and no one sees it or knows about it, what happens? It just gathers up dust and it’s a shame that such design is left to go unnoticed due to lack of exposure.
The solution to that is to sell your designs. Shows like the Lagos Fashion Design Week, Native and Vogue International Fashion Week, Arise Fashion Week, Music Meets Runway, Africa Fashion Week, Nigeria Fashion Week are great opportunities to market your products.
The internet and social media is also another avenue to let people know about your products. Fashion influencers, fashion bloggers, fashion photographers are also another option to use to your advantage.
Knowing your niche
You need to know who your target customers are and how best to access them. Specializing in a particular niche is very important. There are lots of niches out there to explore, ranging from bridals to swimwear, lingerie, casuals, kiddies, corporate wears (men’s and women’s suits) and traditional attires. The choice is yours.
Let people know you for your designs. Famous designers like Mai Atafo, Yomi Casual, and Ituen Bassey are known for their exceptional pieces. You might ask why? This is because they are unique. Mai Atafo’s suits overlap your body making you feel you were born with it, Yomi Casual’s designs are simple but sophisticated, Ituen Bassey is famous for her patchwork and fringed dresses.
As a budding fashion designer, you can be famous too. The recipe is to make amazing clothes with spoonful of creativity.
Setting up good customer relationship
When you treat your clients nicely and make them feel special, they will definitely come back and refer others. But if the reverse is the case, you are going to put yourself quickly out of the business before you realize what’s happening.