Obijie Oru, whose brand name is is one of Nigeria’s top designers and movie costume designers. She has designed and clothed a lot of top Nigerian celebrities and designed costumes for award winning movies. Last year at the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards she won Best Costume Designer alongside Deola Sagoe for Kunle Afolayan’s movie, October 1st. This year she has also been nominated in the same category for designing the costumes in Omoni Oboli’s Being Mrs. Elliot. The lawyer turned designer had a chat with ENCOMIUM Weekly and told us all about how the journey into being a designer started.
How did the journey into designing start?
I always liked to say fashion found me, I didn’t go looking. I had always been a sketcher but I didn’t pay much attention to it. When school was over, I had an extra year and was looking for what to do to earn money. I started by catering, I love to cook and I don’t do badly in the kitchen. That didn’t work out too well. I went out one day wearing a dress I designed and a complete stranger ordered and from then there was no turning back.
How will you describe the experience so far?
The experience has been both hectic and rewarding, I cannot even begin to describe the trials, but God has been good. The success may have been slow but there is growth and that is all that matters.
How does it feel winning award for costume designer at the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards?
It was the most amazing feeling winning the AMVCA’s in 2015 and more amazing being nominated again this year. It is a pat on my back saying well done! I feel so humbled.
What inspires your designs?
My designs are inspired by everything around me, my culture and my heritage.
Can you remember the number of movies you have designed costumes for?
I haven’t designed costumes for so many movies, I have only done very credible ones, so maybe somewhere between five and 10.
Have you always wanted to be a designer?
I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur, I didn’t know my chosen field would have been fashion, but it was inevitable, and the signs were there.
How was growing up for you?
I’m family oriented, I grew up in a close knit family, I’m very close to my siblings and my parents. I grew up with so much love around me and I’m grateful for that, I know not everyone is privileged to have this type of bond.
What were your parents reaction when you told them you were leaving law for designing?
My parents were cool, and ever supportive of whatever I wanted to do, I was only asked if I was sure, making sure I knew what I was giving up and to never regret it.
What does it take to be a good designer?
For me, a good designer should be able to sketch, take measurements, cut and sew, but that’s my opinion. I feel you are never able to pass on your ideas to your team if you have no clue as to get the job done yourself. Then of course creativity is key.
How did you get the name Byge?
I am forever grateful to Bobby Enaholo and Uwa Amusaike, my friends from UNIBEN who christened me Byge, they coined it out from my name Obijie and it went through a series of other names before it finally became that. They helped start this legacy.
- SHADE WESLEY-METIBOGUN and TINUOLA JOSEPH