Design, Fashion

‘Mature wears don’t go with logo’

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– Asandrea Collections boss, TOCHUKWU UGAFOR

+ Itemizes qualities of good designer wears

Tochukwu Ugafor is arguably one of the finest and creative designers in Nigeria right now. He founded Asandrea Collections, a creative and classy outfit, in 2010 shortly after he completed his NYSC at Kebbi State, where he emerged as best corps member of that year. Being best corps member didn’t fetch him automatic employment from the federal government, the graduate of Economics from the Nnamdi Azikwe University, Awka, Anambra, decided to follow his childhood passion, fashion designing, and today he has carved a niche for himself in the fashion world.

He told ENCOMIUM Weekly in an interview held on Thursday, March 13, 2014, at his office in Festac Town, Lagos, “I started designing professionally when I was at the university. Many people didn’t know I clothed myself. My parents wanted me to be a banker, be an economist, but I decided to follow my dream. I am here today because I am a successful designer, not as an economist. So, I want to urge Nigerian youths to discover their talent and follow their dreams.”

He spoke further in this interview…

But, Asandrea Collections seems to be a new brand in the fashion market. Can you tell more about it?

To you, it’s a new brand, but I can tell you authoritatively that Asandrea is a household name. The thing is, Nigeria is a very big country, so if Mr. A doesn’t know your product it doesn’t mean Mr. B wouldn’t know it. A lot of people know Asandrea Collections, some celebrities in Nigerian entertainment know about my outreach. So, I am not a new fashion outlet, I have been in the business for five years now.

Can you mention few people in the entertainment industry that wear your product?

A lot of them, just that I don’t like mentioning names. Aside entertainers, I sew for business moguls, politicians, organisations, and captains of industry. When you see them, you’ll definitely see the uniqueness of my wears on them.

At least, can you mention few?

Okay, if you insist. I make clothes for Nollywood actor, Kenneth Okonkwo. The clothes worn by Pastor Anslem Madubuko for his traditional marriage was designed by Asandrea Collections. I will stop here because some of them don’t like their names being mentioned on the pages of newspapers.

What makes your work so unique and different from others?

I believe putting God first in anything I am doing, as He (God) will be directing you and all your affairs. After that, I take time in designing my outreach and I also put extraordinary touch in my design. My wears are always unique and extraordinary that when people see them on you, they will always take a second look and admire it. It is God that designs for me, because sometimes I don’t even know how I come up with my designs.

How did you come about Asandrea Collections? Do you have passion for fashion or it was just accidental?

It didn’t come accidentally because I started designing when I was five. I grew up with my sister who is a fashion designer, she taught me a lot about fashion designing, starting with cement bag. Then when I was growing I shifted to machine and I became a professional. I would say my sister inspired me.

How affordable are your products and how profitable is the business?

It’s very profitable, because it is what I have passion for, it’s not just what I started doing accidentally. I don’t know what I would have become without fashion, because Asandrea Collections made me who I am today. I am here today because I am a unique designer. My clothes are affordable and very available depending on what you love something unique.

We know designers by their logo. What are the qualities of Asandrea Collections?

Good products and if you check all my products, you will never see logo on them, because other fashionistas believe so much in logo. They think without it, the products will not be good or wouldn’t look unique. I believe mature wears don’t go with logo. You know a quality wear by the finishing and fitting when you put it on and also the fabrics and quality of the materials matter a lot. I use logo unless the client wants it.

What are some of the challenges you face doing this business?

The only challenge Nigerian designers are facing is electricity supply, as this doesn’t make us profit much. The government should try and help Nigerians with power.

Who is your role model in the industry?

Our Lord Jesus Christ, and in all my endeavours, I try as much as possible to practice is teachings. Mudi, too! I call him silent achiever because he makes exceptional outfits.

What are your plans?

I want everyone to be singing Asandrea Collections wherever they go in five years and I hope to get more publications for my fashion collection. Good work speaks for itself, good product sells itself, so I believe it going to be a worldwide outreach soon.

Let’s talk about the soft side of you. Are you married?

(Smiles) as if you know that’s the soft side of me. I am not married, but I am engaged to the love of my life, Onyinye Chukwu, and my traditional wedding holds in April 2014.

– RASHEED ABUBAKAR

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