Pat Odeyemi is the Chief Executive Officer of Pat Divine Stitches. They make ladies and gents wears, native attires, corporate, kiddies, bridals, accessories and also sell fabrics.
In this interview with ENCOMIUM Weekly at their Assembly Road, Satellite Town, Lagos head office, the amiable dark city clothier outlined the differences between a designer and a tailor and much more.
What is new at Pat Divine Stitches?
We’re planning an outlet on the Island by the grace of God, bigger and better. The Islanders want more of me.
You’ve been in the business of improving women’s dress sense for some time now. What has kept you this relevant up till now, at least within your base at Satellite Town and the neighbouring communities like Festac Town, etc?
Because of originality. We don’t copy, we do our own thing in our own way. These days you will always come back here for a new thing. I don’t repeat styles. I don’t recycle.
Must you have a formal training to become a reputable fashion designer?
Formal training is important because you need somebody to direct your talent. You need direction not just talent alone.
Every trade or profession has its peculiar challenges. Could you explain yours?
The only challenge is power instability. We pay bills for what we don’t consume. It’s very serious. It’s even worse now that PHCN has been sold. And if there is power surge, it might blow your gadget
What is the most interesting thing about clothing women?
Making other women happy makes me happy too. Making them happy putting on my designs gives me utmost joy and makes me walk tall.
Is there any difference between a fashion designer and a tailor or seamstress? If there is, could you please explain in detail?
I always say if you’re a tailor you can go back to the drawing board and make amends but a designer you don’t go back to make amendments. As for me, I cut, design and sew. I am complete, three things rolled into one, so to say.
Which fabric(s) are you very comfortable with?
I can work with any fabric. Every fabric has its own beauty and attraction. It all depends on how you manage them.
What is special about Pat Divine Stitches and why must you make my dress?
Like I said, it’s our originality, our finesse that put us ahead of others. If you want to look like a complete lady you just come over and we dress you up.
Do you also make dresses for men?
We do but not often.
When can a tailor beat her chest with pride and say I’ve reached my peak?
It is not possible. We learn every day. You can say you’ve reached your peak when you kick the bucket.
Who is a good tailor?
A good tailor sees a mistake and amends it, even if your customer says it’s okay. You don’t accept it because your credibility may be at risk.
What is trending in the fashion circuit now?
Fashion evolves. So you can never tell and put a finger on a particular trend.
Who are your icons in the industry?
I would say I respect Frank Osodi a lot. He’s the only man standing because of his originality.
What do you want changed in the industry?
Everyone should have his or her own signature. Like in Senegal, your signature can always be identified with ease anytime anywhere in the country and even beyond.
Can you vividly describe a well dressed individual?
I love perfect finishing. You don’t need to dress like a masquerade. Just neatly dressed and you get thumbs up. You don’t need to be rowdy.
Nigerian fashion designers have improved tremendously, what do you think is the cause?
We’re now appreciated by our people even in the diaspora. The demand for our products is very high even outside our shores.
Is the industry capital intensive?
You don’t need all that. All you need are your talent and direction. If you’re good and you make one dress for a customer, you will get hundreds.
Are you not thinking of a fashion show at this juncture?
For now, no. I have too many customers to cater for. Probably in the future we will attempt it.
What does fashion mean to you?
Fashion is my world. It means everything to me.
Are you fulfilled in your profession?
I thank God for what I am for now.
If you’re made a fashion police, how would you deal with people who wear rags to public functions, people who dress in the colours of the rainbow?
I will mark them triple bad. It’s embarrassing. Atimes when I see such people in public I begin to wonder if they have people at home.
Do you think government can use the fashion industry as a tool for image laundering by asking our embassies and envoys to assist our designers for foreign exhibitions?
It will really help. We should remove total reliance on oil. Fashion is another source of income for government.