2012 Big Brother Africa housemate Chris Asekomeh has moved his fashion brand, Chris & Steeze Clothing, to the high street in the hub of commerce and entertainment.
On Democracy Day (May 29, 2017), the gentleman threw the doors of his Opebi Road, Ikeja (Lagos) flagship store open as patrons, family and friends popped in to check out his collection of painstakingly made apparels.
The Star Game participant spoke to ENCOMIUM Weekly about his craft and business…
What informed the name Chris and Steeze?
Chris is my name, while Steeze is a slang that means a few things like style, concept, etc. As in, what’s your steeze? Who are you?
Did you enjoy the platform given to you by Big Brother Africa?
Yes, I did. It was a way to understand and manage people of different tribes and culture. It also helps build your level of confidence in relating with people from different backgrounds.
How long have you been designing clothes?
I have been doing clothing for about 14 years.
How and where did it start?
I started about 14 years ago. It’s something l love doing, something l enjoy doing. We have been on this back and forth. First, it started as leisure. Then, it became something that I have to make a living from. Something that earns you a living, you have to put your heart, body and soul to it. Something that you know can take you somewhere. We started growing with time, we started making shirts.
From there we started making pants. When you start doing business, sometimes you streamline to what you are comfortable with. So, we stuck to men’s clothing. For us, men make a lot of sense to us to handle, men handling men.
What did you study in school?
I studied Human Kinetics.
Why did you opt for fashion?
It’s not about what you study, it’salways when you find your passion, what you turn your passion into. When you turn your passion into a means of livelihood.
How do you source your material?
We get our materials from Turkey, China and UK, depending on what we are looking for.
Who are your target audience?
Our main target are the males. We don’t do females, we just stick to males.
What inspires your kind of style?
Everything that has to do with lifestyle, cars, human, colours, styles, sex, male or females you know. I think it’s just a general thing. For me, I like to play with colours; it just blows me away.
Have you test-run this place before this official opening?
No. This is the official opening of the flagship store for Chris and Steeze. This is the first day we are opening, this is the first day people would come here.
What do you expect from here?
I expect nothing but the best.
How do you feel about today’s event?
I feel great. As you can see, everybody is happy here, I think (laughs). My family is here, my friends are here.
How has the current exchange rate affected your business?
There are times in business when things will go funny, go up and down. To stay in business in Nigeria, you have to be strong.
How much went into putting this place to order?
Wow! As you can see, it’s not cheap. You can figure it out too, it’s not cheap, but we thank God.
How do you hope to survive in the fashion industry with the level of competitiveness?
I am in no competition with anyone, I am just doing what I know how best to do. Basically, I am into fashion business, I am not just making clothes. We are not just about outlets, showroom. No, we are doing the business the way business should be done.
We have a platform already called GMH, which means Gentle Men’s Hub where we sell exclusive men’s wear and accessories. We also discuss issues on men based on health, fitness, comedy, music, fashion, everything about men. We also have another platform called AFN which stands for the African Fashion Network. It’s the media angle of the entire thing. It’s all encompassing.
How will you rate patronage since you started designing?
For me, like I said, sometimes business goes funny, sometimes it’s very interesting, sometimes you just be like wow, what am I doing?
- KAREEM AZEEZAT