Interviews

‘My designs are for the urbane and chic’ – DORIS GAM-DEDE

Winner of Young Designer Award Port Harcourt International Fashion Week

THE Port Harcourt International Fashion Week may have come and gone, its effect is still very much felt in the fashion and style world.  Tagged, Native and Vogue, the show was a three-day affair which held on September 20 to September 22, 2013, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.  The show, anchored by former Miss World, Agbani Darego had in attendance professional fashion designers from Nigeria and international community.  Apart from the display of beautiful creations from some of Africa’s best, some upcoming designers and models were recognized for their works…

The highlight of the show put together by Neo Mantra, Allure magazine, Frank Osodi’s Bunor Creazioni and the Rivers State Government is the emergence of Doris Gam-Dede as the winner of the Young Designer Award.  Her creations under her label, Jazz Effect impressed the audience and the judges. 

Mrs. Gam-Dede, who hails from Port Harcourt, Rivers State tells her story.

fashionWhat will you say helped you in winning the Young Designer of the Year Award at the Port Harcourt International Fashion Show?

This is the first time an event of international standard is holding in Nigeria.  It lived up to expectation.  It definitely brought somebody like me out that people now know my name and my designs.  What helped me in winning the Young Designer Award was more of my artistic background.  I met other designers who are equally good. I tried to do something different from others.  I added beads and a lot of other things.  I think that was why the judges picked me.  My artistic background made me different.

What kind of designs do you do?

Urban chic, something every woman can relate with, that is why I am more accessible.  I do wearable clothes, something related to the woman next door.  I design for women, urban chic clothes that she can wear to any event, church, a dinner or any other gathering.

How long have you been doing this?

Four years.  I studied Fine Art in school, I used another four years in building my fashion brand and I am really happy because this award also qualified me to study more abroad.  I am happy I got the chance of an international training.

Since you don’t have any formal education in fashion, how did you hone your skills?

I will say I am blessed, because I have done art, painting and I finally found myself doing fashion.  I learned the trade by pulling out what other people have done, especially buying ready-made clothes, pull out the stuff and put it together, that was how I started.

What other financial benefits came with your victory?

I don’t know yet, all I know is that I will be going abroad for more training.

Since you are based in Port Harcourt, what kind of designs are in vogue there?

The Ankara is in vogue now, it is everywhere not only in Port Harcourt.  We are also exporting, everybody is doing the Ankara thing.  They sew any lovely designs with Ankara fabric.

How will you describe your own style?

Urban, chic and simple style.

Tell us briefly about your background.

I have been married for eight years now.  I have four surviving siblings, we are orphans.  I am a twin, though we don’t look alike.  I don’t have kids yet.

How do you sustain your marriage and work?

My husband understands what I am doing.  He knows that is what I have passion and flair for.  He has been very supportive of my work.

How did you get the name of your label, Jazz Effect?

The jazz there came from music rhythm.  People knew me in school as a music lover.  And again, I used to create my own style and people would tell me I always create an effect.  That was where the name came from.

Which of your designs stood you out?

The one like a basket and was beaded all through.  People applauded it, then the one that had a stone all over, people saw the man power that went into it.  I am sure that dress alone gave me the edge.  I think people realized how much work went into the designs so they adjudged me the winner.

 – FOLUSO SAMUEL

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