SEASONED clothier and philanthropist, Pat Odeyemi is the proprietress of Pat Divine Stitches, a tailoring outfit with bias for women. The outfit is at Assembly Road, Satellite Town, Lagos. By all indications, she has carved a niche for herself and stamped her signature in her catchment area.
Pat Odeyemi has been dressing many upwardly mobile women of all sectors of the economy including career and society female bigwigs in the metropolitan city of Lagos with special attention to Satellite and Festac Town and their environs.
In this interview with ENCOMIUM Weekly, the ebony skinned lady who loves skin cut, made it point blank that she’s finicky about finishing, her professional signature and more
Can you give an update on the Nigerian fashion industry and its affiliates?
The Nigerian fashion industry is upbeat. New designs and fabrics are evolving seasonally. In summary, the industry can now compete favourably with long time industries that play in the big league.
How is patronage in the face of the prevalent economic quagmire?
It has not been easy, but God has been faithful. We still have our head above water. We can’t be drowned by His Grace.
Now that we’ve seen light at the end of the tunnel courtesy of President Muhammadu Buhari, how do you feel?
I thank God the long expected change has come. Though people are becoming skeptical about the new government, we are believing God for a true change. We’ve had enough of political rascality and impunity.
What is special about dress making?
It gives me joy looking at women in well tailored dresses I made.
Aside your alluring finishing, what else set you aside?
I have a distinct style and a signature. My signature is as constant as Christmas. Moreover, I have refused to photocopy. That’s not in my character.
Are you a tailor, fashion designer, cutter or all rolled into one?
First, I am a tailor anytime anywhere, any day. But that does not fence me off the other beats of dress making. I can fit properly into the others but I insist I am a tailor. Whether it’s derogatory or not, I can’t be bothered.
What are the qualities of a good dress maker?
A good dress maker must be exceptionally creative and should be able to cut and sew. You should be able to tell what would fit an individual of a particular size. The Japanese would say, “Good thinking, good product.”
Can you tell us your favourite fabric?
All fabrics are unique in their own ways. What you do with chiffon and taffeta you may not achieve with Ankara.
No, never. This is what gives me joy.
Aside tailoring, what else do you do?
I don’t have any other business. I am a full time tailor.
What are the challenges?
The major challenge is electricity. How I wish that sector would be sanitized in good time so that the anaemic economy would come to life again. We’re believing God that with the new government, it will be better.
After over 10 years in this lucrative business, don’t you think it’s necessary you transfer your knowledge of dress making to the up and coming ones?
I train people, but I’m planning a workshop to share my expertise with participants. I’ve seen people doing the same thing over and over again. Everybody is talking about it, you have to follow. You’ve got to spice your works with variety. It makes a lot of sense. By next year, when I will be 40 in September, I plan to do a fashion show, but the workshop for willing tailors around me that would want to upgrade would hold.
Every stakeholder is clamouring for protection of home made products. How do you intend to attract more patronage?
Every industry practitioner should stick to his or her signature. Creative minds don’t copy, they think deep. In Senegal, once they see a dress, instantly, you know who made it.
You’ve been too long in Satellite and Festac Town and environs and you’ve made your mark. Why not extend your tentacles to the Island?
I’ve tried but it was not easy. My clients will always look for me come rain, come shine. Good products sell themselves, distance can be no barrier. No matter the circumstance, they will come back because I have what they desire. I’m saying this with all modesty.
How do you manage a client who insists her choice must be followed whether it fits or not?
I would take my time to explain the implication of what she intends to do. If she insists and the dress is made and it did not fit, I would remind her she chose the style.
Now, President Muhammadu Buhari has come with a drastic change in governance, what are your expectations?
Government should do something tangible for our industry. We desire to feel the presence of government. They should look our way, including multinationals. The entertainment industry enjoyed the financial largesse of former President Goodluck Jonathan, this time President Muhammadu Buhari should do something for us. What is good for the goose is good for the gander.
Away from your professional bias, the past administration left the country in shambles and chaos. How do you expect President Muhammadu Buhari to rebuild the nation? Can you give us your roadmap to the Promised Land?
This administration has myriad problems to tackle headlong if we wish to get out of the woods. It could be tedious and neck breaking but the dynamics of change which the present administration stands for must be achieved. They inherited a collapsed economy, therefore, they should find a way around it. Like a Nigerian singer said, Nigeria jagajaga, that is the picture of Nigeria for now.
To fix Nigeria depends on the sincerity of purpose of the leaders and of course, transparency.
Political jobbers, sycophants, hypocrites are some of the banana peels in governance. What would you want Buhari to do with them?
He should avoid them like lepers. He should avoid inconsequentials to hang around him. President Muhammadu Buhari should understand that Nigeria is bigger than any individual, no matter your status. Nigeria does not belong to just one person, a group of people or a state. This country belongs to all Nigerians. The hydra-headed godfatherism must be deleted from our system.
Everybody is trusting President Muhammadu Buhari to deliver the dividends of democracy, what should be the responsibility of the citizenry?
We should all follow the wind of change by doing things right and at the right time. This is a collective responsibility and should be treated as such.
What should the First Lady, Aisha Buhari not inherit from her predecessor, Dame Patience Jonathan and what should she pick from her?
She should not be profane and lousy. As the First Lady, she should lead by example. As a matter of fact, Aisha Buhari should never pick anything from Patience Jonathan. Madam Jonathan has nothing modest to offer. Aisha and Patience are parallel lines. Patience Jonathan is the opposite of a lady.
President Muhammadu Buhari is lamenting he met an empty treasury and has inherited trillions of naira debt, therefore, Nigerians should not expect a miracle from him. In your opinion, what should he do?
Everybody that is known to have stolen from our common wealth in whatever guise should be tried as a deterrent. None of them should be spared, no sacred cow.
What’s your take on the free for all at the National Assembly?
It’s disheartening and a big disappointment. All in all, I still believe Almighty God is in control. We can’t afford to go back to the woods, God forbid.
The National Assembly is asking for N506,000 as wardrobe allowance for each member, what is your take?
Are they going to do catwalk on the runway or display trending styles and fabrics. It’s incredible. It’s outrageous. If they can’t clothe themselves, they should go home.
– NKECHINYERE IBEMERE