Alhaji Lateef Adams is the Oba elect of Ikate, Surulere, Lagos and the CEO of Latris Fashion Limited, one of the oldest fashion houses in Nigeria-over three decades in existence.
Speaking with ENCOMIUM Weekly, the first Oba elect of Ikate, Surulere, told us what has sustained his business and how he would run the fashion business from his palace.
Looking at your fashion house, it appears to be one of the oldest and a trend setter for African attires mainly for men. How have you been able to do this?
Fashion now is competitive. When we started this fashion business, we had few names that are known in the industry but now, we have so many and if you are not a hard working person or you are not creative you cannot be in the system.
Your creativity is most important and you have to ensure you focus on new ideas, as a fashion man that wants to dress people and make them elegant because without new ideas you cannot follow the new trend.
Time and fashion change, and if you are backward, nobody will come to you so, you have to follow the trend of what is going on in the fashion world which has made us stand till today. This business is over 30 years. We started after Sophisticat, Vivid Imagination. I have made clothes for Vivid, Sophisticat before I started mine.
When you have the knowledge which is sketching, you don’t need to know how to cut fabrics, your knowledge is how to create. When you are in the factory, you are the main man of the job, you have to tell them how to cut so that they wouldn’t cut wrongly for you. You create, design and make your work okay.
What has sustained Latris Fashion Group over the years?
Hard work and how you move with the trend of the time. The designs we made for MKO Abiola is different from what we are making now. We were making big designs but now just simple and unique designs. If you bring a woolen fabric to me, I might not do much machine work. I prefer making it simple and unique.
We understand you are thinking of doing Latris Fashion Television very soon?
I am looking at what I can put together for my business. I have been registered for over 15 years and I have a license so, I can promote my business, showcase my customers, make them elegant for people to see and at same time win more customers.
What will be the name of the TV programme, sir?
There is no change in my companies name. It’s going to be Latris Fashion on TV.
Latris Fashion is a big fashion house, where do you want to see it in two years?
We will take it to the level that is okay, level that people will remember you for, a level that I would be able to leave it to one of my sons who must have acquired more knowledge than me in terms of what is going on in the fashion world.
It’s good to leave a good legacy for your business and name when you are gone.
How were you able to manage as an official fashion designer to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu?
When you know your job, you manage it very well, we still makes clothes for him and through him, we have made clothes for so many top Nigerians. We make clothes for ex President Goodluck Jonathan and Dr. Mike Adenuga. If you know your work well, you will feel okay, though there are some challenge which is the workers. If you are not strong to back up your business, the workers might destroy it.
Tell us more about your obaship because the whole world has been waiting for your coronation?
Though it’s taking long because there has never been an oba there before now, they only have baale. I will be the first oba there and that it’s why it’s taking so long but thank God everything is set and very soon, you shall hear the good news.
Will it be in the Guinness Book of Record that you are one of the obas that sew cloths?
This is my work. The only difference is that I can’t attend to customers in my palace but I will be working from my palace, that is, talk to my workers and give directives from my palace. Obas work and they have offices so, it’s not out of place to work from my palace.
If as an oba, your people bring problems of land to your palace, would you tackle it in your palace?
It’s the same work because you are in your office, so I will continue my work which I am known for.
- AJOKE ONITOLO