FAIR-skinned gifted designer, Sharon George, popularly known as Olaedo, is gradually worming her way into the heart of fashion lovers with her fabulous designs. The mother of three children had an interview with ENCOMIUM Weekly about her foray into costume designs, what the future holds for her in the industry and more…
How will you describe business since inception?
At Olaedo, the challenges are much. The passion keeps me going, the passion to make fabulous things keeps me going. It has given me the opportunity to express my inner self.
A lot of people cannot differentiate between a costume designer and ordinary designer, can you give us examples?
Olaedo is a costume designer. Costumes are not the everyday cloth. Nobody can wear a costume and be walking on the road. They are designed for special occasions, traditional marriages, red carpet, runway, music videos, etc. They are not seen every day. You can use an animal skin to make a blouse for someone and it will be there for 20 years. Costumes are supposed to be memories. When you see Lady Gaga coming out of those things, you cannot see her dress like that for her day to day activities. Likewise, Michael Jackson, even our late Goldie, you cannot see her in those crazy outfits she wore in her video after shooting. I love to costume people.
Why the special love for costume designs?
I don’t know, I guess because I love fabulous things, it also makes me express myself better. I can go all the way with it. I love challenges, I want to be challenged creatively.
Can you share some of the challenges you are facing as a designer?
There are a lot of challenges but you just have to move on. For instance, some people will say they cannot buy a particular cloth for a certain price, they prefer to meet their tailor, but they usually come back and they still buy at that amount. There is also the issue of electricity, but the bills keep on coming and there is no light. There are some things you might want to do on a big laser machine, except you have a power generator, you wouldn’t be able to do it. Then, selling your goods can also be challenging. You cannot convert your materials into money, they are fabulous, breathtaking but you need to sell them.
Getting a showroom is another big issue. You have to pay through your nose to get one. Going on the runway is also expensive. Our government is not doing much. If our government can realize that fashion is part of entertainment, our challenges will be minimal. If they can give loan to artisans, a lot of our problems will be solved.
What differentiates Olaedo from every other designer out there?
Olaedo is a ready to wear clothing line. What stands us out is the fact that I don’t like people dictating styles to me, it is not always good. I design male, female and children’s clothing. Another unique quality is our readiness to deliver on time. I am committed to that. Olaedo can never disappoint. If you want your cloth made and delivered to you anywhere in Nigeria within seven days, call on Olaedo. We don’t disappoint. I want my clients to pick their clothes and give me a call thanking me for fulfilling my promise. If there would be a delay, we will call you and give you obvious reasons for the disappointment but so far so good, we don’t disappoint. I always like to put smiles on my client’s faces. You cannot keep disappointing your clients, if you don’t have time, refer them to other people, don’t collect their clothes and put it in your workshop. Our style also stands us out. You can get what you see abroad at Olaedo.
Olaedo makes ready to wear, does that mean people cannot bring their clothes to you?
They do. I collect fabrics from people. We are into such as well.
How will you describe the style your line exemplifies?
I have three different styles, the urban, old skool and young at heart. The urban is for the young, jazzy who want to look good. The old skool are the agbada, the South-South wears. We have modernized them now. They are smart, with short sleeves. The young at heart is the young, who wants to look fabulous.
What matters most to you as a designer?
Satisfaction is what matters to me. Once my clients are okay with my work, I am fulfilled. I want to see my clients happy.
How long does it take to construct a piece?
It depends on what you have in mind. Sometimes, it can take you two hours, sometimes, it can take you days. We do casuals and ethnic wears. The ethnic wears take more time than the casuals.
In five years, where do you want to see Olaedo?
I cannot speak about tomorrow. I would only ask God to take Olaedo to the Promised Land. Make us compete with international labels. I want to have clients in the Diaspora who will call that they are satisfied with my work.
- SHADE WESLEY-METIBOGUN
This story was first published in ENCOMIUM Weekly on Tuesday, June 25, 2013