Former Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria, Omowunmi Akinnifesi is an example of beauty and brains. The former beauty queen launched her fashion line on Sunday, March 6, 2016, at the Polo Avenue, Victoria Island, Lagos.
The event was well attended by the crème de la crème of the entertainment and fashion industry, like Nkiru Anumudu, Ono Bello, Alex Ekubo and a host of others. ENCOMIUM Weekly spoke with the delectable Miss Akinnifesi and she talked on her new venture…
What inspired the decision to go into designing?
It is something I have always wanted to do. I used to patronize designers but whenever they made anything for me, I always put my opinion into it. Most of them have advised me to go into designing. It has been a dream for me.
Sometime back someone I respect very much said, it was long overdue, I should start designing. I went to study it abroad, after my Masters. I went to London College of Fashion. I knew I wanted to do this, I needed to learn the business side of it. I will call myself a fashion entrepreneur more than a fashion designer.
I thought about the name for some time, I know that a clothing line must have an identity. I decided to go for Omowunmi because I have won different fashion awards, Vanguard Allure, City People. People have said that I am fashionable and I thank God for that. I need to put that identity into the clothing line. I gave it that name because it was closest to what it is really. Omowunmi is fashionable, Omowunmi is in trend, Omowunmi is classy, sophisticated and that is what the brand really is. Giving the clothing line my name doesn’t mean that it is me in a whole. I want to separate me from the fashion brand. I want it to have an independent being. It should have its sense of being and presence, different from Omowunmi herself. I don’t want people to tie the personality to the brand. The two are different brands but under the same umbrella.
Who are your target audience?
Young adult and matured women. It is for a woman with a social lifestyle, an entrepreneur, a woman that has her own business. The lady that can wake up in the morning, go to work in the busy Lagos traffic. She can go to office in an Omowunmi design. She can have lunch with friends, go for a business meeting, go for a conference and still go for dinner and even end up at a party later dressed in an Omowunmi brand. Our designs are conventional. She can wear it for many occasions.
She doesn’t have to go back home and change. She can have her suitcase in her car with different attires from Omowunmi. We design for the busy and sociable women.
You had the launch of your clothing line on Sunday, March 6, 2016. How will you describe the reception so far?
It has been amazing. Friends from Europe, UK have mailed me to tell me they love my designs. People have ordered from the US, they have ordered from the UK also. The designs almost sold out on the day of the launch. I am grateful to God for the opportunity and grace He has given unto us to do this.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
For the designs, I am very artistic. I do a lot of drawings. We get some designs online, we get inspirations from a lot of designers. We are ready-to-wear and not couture. We want to be the number one ready-to-wear brand in Nigeria. We still want to be in trend and classy. So, we draw our inspirations through our own artistic work and general research.
Where can clients get your wears?
We are at the Polo Avenue, we are in Lekki and Victoria Island. We will soon be in Ikeja and Port Harcourt. We have our online platform. We will start taking orders this week on www.shopomowunmi.com.
What role do you play in your clothing line?
To be honest, I play major role from the beginning to the very end. It is my baby. I don’t want to allow a lot of hands get involved from the beginning. From the designing, fabric processing, the fabric construction, the fitting, I am always involved. I do it myself. My Nigeria team come in when we have finished goods and we have to distribute them. I am involved in the entire process.
Does that mean you don’t manufacture here in Nigeria?
We manufacture some of our products here in Nigeria, but I am a perfectionist. I love quality, detail and finishing. That is why we don’t produce some of our wears here. We believe we must maintain the consistency, quality and finishing.
How price friendly is Omowunmi?
It is very price friendly. During our launch, a lot of people acknowledged that. Our prices are between N8,000 and N35,000. We are premium affordability, that is what I want to do.
What is your opinion about pageantry in Nigeria?
I think it is still a great platform for young ladies to strive and to achieve their dreams. An MBGN can walk into an organiasaiton and she will be given a listening ear. A lot of new pageants have come in and try to give a negative light to what pageantry is. Some don’t give pageant winners their prices. Some have ulterior motives of what the pageant is all about.
Some people have seen it as a business than a platform for a young lady to fulfill her dream. However, some people do it in such a way that at the end of the day, they don’t even care about the queen but the business aspect of it.
There are still some credible pageants out there that have not lost focus. They are making sure the queen gets the exposure she needs and the platform she needs as well. Some are still keeping it worthy. Pageantry is still there, it is here to stay. It may just not be getting the recognition it used to get in time past.
Before, the celebrities in Nigeria were the society people, the rich and the famous but there are so many people who are celebrities now. It used to be the beauty queens back in the days.
What is your beauty routine like?
It is the same beauty routine as every other lady. Washing your face before you sleep, don’t sleep with your makeup on, drink a lot of water, allow your face breathe, always moisturize because it protects your skin from the environment and stay away from the sun as much as you can.
What are the fashion accessories you cannot do without?
I can do without a lot of fashion accessories, I can’t lie. But, like jewelry, I love bags, I love lofty bags. I love shoes! I love looking beautiful.
What is that makeup item you cannot do without?
I cannot say. I used to say that I can’t do without some things but now, I can go without makeup. You are now grown and beautiful. You may not need makeup all the time. Maybe I will say lip gloss so that my lips are not dry.
A pair of sunglasses! It is always right. It always makes you look nicer. It is like the cover of a bottle. Even if you are dressed down and you are not supposed to be where you are, put on your sunglasses, people will know you are just there for business and you want to get away.
Sometime back you lost your dad, can you tell us things you missed about him?
My dad was an educationist. He worked with the Central Bank of Nigeria as well. He was an achiever in every sense of the word. He achieved so much that credible people said a lot of good things about him. He was overly educated and a distinguished individual. He did a lot for the country.
He was someone who inspired me. Anytime I was stuck education wise. He would come to my aid. He was like my teacher in academics and life. I missed him a lot, the fact that he is no more here to protect and spoil me. I was really spoilt by my dad. He gave me everything I wanted. I never lacked while growing up. I am really privileged I had that honour. I thank God for that.
What is your love life like now. Are you really in a relationship that can lead to marriage?
I don’t know. Maybe, maybe not.
That means you are in a relationship, you are not just sure it will lead to marriage?
I maybe and I may not be.
What are the qualities you desire in a man?
The qualities that every woman desires! The Christ like qualities, hard working, sense of direction, focused and every good quality.
When are you likely to get married?
When you say I should.