It was a windy evening when I met with this designer whose clientele remain anonymous for security reasons. I had heard him relate how he was being frisked by security to reach some of his clients. Some of his stories bother on being hilarious, he being a natural jester. I decided to ask about his foray into fashion and here’s the excerpt of our interview.
Tell me about yourself.
I was born in Lagos where I had my primary education. I had my secondary schooling in Port-harcourt, Rivers state. I had my first and second degree from University of Abuja. I am the fifth of nine children, the second boy. I am a native of Bayelsa state, Sagbama local government.
How did you get into fashion industry?
I went into fashion during the prolonged ASUU strike of 2002. I was tutored by a designer who was then sewing for the Obasanjo’s and since then, I’ve been on a roller coaster.
Okay so would you say that you’ve carved a niche for yourself in the fashion industry? There are so many dress makers…
Yes I have. My styles are unique and my clientele, wide. Most of my old designs are currently in vogue for men’s fashion. As old as eight years ago. So I can rightly say I am a pacesetter.
What makes your establishment different from others?
Originality. We have learnt to think outside the box. We have had twelve years to do that. We keep things fresh!
Wow! Twelve years…
Yes, PCL (Perali Clothing Line) has been around for twelve years.
Where do you see your establishment in the next few years? Say five years…
Like the dakova of those days, Perali will be a household name.
Along the way, it can’t have been smooth all along. What challenges did you face?
You’re right, there has been challenges. Getting capable hands to assist is the major one. I practically have to retrain my work force. Again, the issue of capital is another. Fashion is capital intensive and getting people to invest is like learning to walk on tight rope. (laughter)
Kudos, you braved the challenges. What personal philosophy do you live by?
For me the word IMPOSSIBLE doesn’t exist. All in all, I have God to thank. Besides I don’t see myself as being there yet, there’s still a lot more to achieve God giving me life.
How do you relax?
Watching movies, swimming and hanging out with friends.
Any encouragement for young entrepreneurs interested in fashion?
Love the job, rewards will come later! At Perali, it’s more than just fashion, it is our way of life!
Contact the designer: firstname.lastname@example.org, 0806 521 5071