TINA Ndidi Ugo is the brain behind Didi Creations, a fashion designing label. Although she is based in the United Kingdom, she is currently in the country to formally launch her outfit which deals mainly in hand made fashion items. ENCOMIUM Weekly had an exclusive chat with her after showcasing her products at Deuces, the upscale lounge on Ademola Adetokunbo Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, on Saturday, June 9, 2012. And expectedly, Didi Creations’ boss talked about her business, state of fashion, love life and more.
How did you start fashion designing?
It is inborn, because I had no formal training in fashion designing. I had passion for fashion designing since I was small because I love things that are extraordinary. I took it from my mummy because she is a fashionable woman.
How long have you been into fashion designing?
Professionally, I just started. Before, I was just doing it part time. In 2005, I did a lot of artwork in clothing.
What is Didi Creations all about?
It is all about making unique unisex wears like clothing, foot wears, bags and accessories for men and women of style. We get our creative ideas from different things including colours. I love colours a lot and most of the bags are colourful and bright. I like African art and culture, we get ideas from there. I also like to be creative by doing things that are extraordinary.
Where is Didi Creations based?
For now, we are registered and based in the UK. It is incorporated in the UK, but we hope to get registered in Nigeria as soon as possible. That’s why I came home to launch my products. I just don’t want to cater for the UK market alone. I want to cater for my people here in Nigeria because Nigerians are fashionable.
Do you have an obsession for bags, shoes and foot wears?
It is just a personal thing. I like quality bags and foot wears. I spend a lot on bags and foot wears. I have always known that one day I will do it professionally. When I finished my MBA last December in UK, I had a chance of dusting my curriculum vitae and look for a management job out there or doing what has always been my passion professionally. I was like, ‘girl you know what, just go for what you like doing, at least you will never be bored.’
You are based in the UK, so how is it shuttling between UK and Nigeria?
In the UK, I operate through my website and back home here it’s not easy getting an outlet. But I hope to talk with some outlets that got different designs to sell my products there.
Would you say you are back home for good?
No, not at the moment.
How do you go about your designs, do you have a factory?
Not for now. I make a sketch of what I want and then give it to the shoe maker and they produce it. I have them in different parts of the world.
What should we look out for in Didi’s label?
Didi loves colours, nature and looks out for unique style and designs that are not very regular or common because Didi can decide to make a bag that will turn out nice from uncommon materials.
Are your products affordable?
Yes, I am affordable because I have two different categories of my designs. I have cheap but quality products. Although, a layman might say they are not cheap, but in terms of quality and finishing, everything is hand-made from start to finish. We are catering for different sectors of the public. You can get my products for as low as N10,000.
There are a lot of leading brands in Nigeria, are you particularly in love with any of them?
I don’t know much about the shoes and bag designers, but I think they are all doing very well.
You have an MBA, what were you doing before then?
I had my first degree in the University of Ibadan. I studied Philosophy and Political Science. I graduated in 2000/2001. I worked in the corporate sector as a marketer then I stopped working with the corporate world in 2005 and decided to do my own stuff in the fashion world but it wasn’t full time because it was what I loved doing. I went back to school in 2010, where I have a post graduate diploma in Business Management in the UK. I attended London Business College. In 2011, I went for my MBA at Edgehill University, Northern England, United Kingdom.
Any regret dumping all of these for fashion designing?
No, I won’t say I have any regret. Fashion has always been my passion and an MBA doesn’t necessarily mean you must go for a management job or financial sector. It’s just preparing you on how to run your own business and that is why I am doing it professionally now because I am prepared for it.
Who is a well dressed woman?
To me, once you are comfortable in what you are wearing and it fits your body type because we have different body types and shapes. Once you are comfortable in it and look smart in it, you are well-dressed. It has to do with individuals because we have different perspectives.
What are you most comfortable in?
Didi likes colours and short things.
What can’t you be caught wearing?
It depends on where I am. Like in Nigeria, you have to catch me wearing jeans and T-shirts but in UK, I don’t. It depends on my location.
What are the fashion items that must be found in a woman’s bag?
I think every woman needs to have fashion items like sanitiser, wipe, apart from make-up.
When is a woman’s wardrobe incomplete?
It depends. What is applicable to me might not be applicable to others. So, I will give you the answer based on my own perspective. I love shoes and bags, so every woman must have different kinds of foot wears and bags.
Are there fashion mistakes woman make?
Definitely, a lot of mistakes. Don’t wear something you are not comfortable in.
Does a woman need a lot of money to dress well?
You don’t necessarily need to break the bank to dress well. It’s all about your style. It’s not everybody that is a brand freak, so as to buy expensive things to look good. You can still look good in your regular attires.
So, what is in vogue?
Colours are in vogue. I got a lot of stuff that are really colourful and go with the trend.
Are you in a relationship?
So, what was the attraction?
We were friends and from there, emotions got involved.
Where did you meet?
We met in Nigeria through a friend. We have been dating before I moved to the UK.
Has he always been the kind of man you wanted in your life?
So, the wedding bells will ring soon?
Is it every relationship that has to lead to marriage? Until then, I don’t know how soon but when it comes I will let you know. But for now, I don’t want to talk about marriage. All the same, I’m in a relationship.
Can you give us his identity?
No, I won’t. He is a very private person.
Where are you taking Didi Creations to?
Global. But now, it’s between Nigeria and the UK till we are fully established.
– MARIAM SALAMI
This story was first published in Encomium Weekly edition of Tuesday, July 24, 2012