Creative menswear designer, Evans Akere is reaping the rewards of his hard work and God’s favour as his brand, Vans Kere now has a new outlet in Lekki Phase 1, Lagos.
The Lekki outlet at Valley View Mall, off Admiralty Way in Lekki Phase 1, was opened on Sunday, December 7, 2014, with a host of Nollywood stars and entertainment personalities.
In this chat with ENCOMIUM Weekly, Evans Akere talk about how he got to where he is today…
I’m very happy and excited. In fact, I’m short of words. Seeing the people who came out here to support me simply shows that I’m blessed. I just thank God and I’m happy.
10 years is not 10 days, neither is it 10 weeks nor 10 months. What has kept your brand relevant over the last decade?
God, reall y. God has kept me relevant. It’s not been rosy all the way, but we thank God. Things are looking good. Fashion is what I do and is all that I know. It’s not something I want to give up now. I’m going to keep on doing it and hopefully it’ll get better. Having an outlet in Lekki Phase 1 is not easy, but I thank God, He has done it. So, from here on we can only hope for better things to come.
What are those specific things that have stood you out and brought you to this level?
It has been God, because talent is never enough. It has been His grace, without Him I wouldn’t have got anywhere. He is the one that has blessed me with creativity and connected me to the right people. Everything has been by His grace.
I want you to be a prophet now. Look into the next 10 years, where would Vans Kere be?
Like every businessman and entrepreneur, you can only hope for the best. We all know that the future belongs to God and we can only hope and pray. I don’t usually like talking about the future. I like to keep my future to myself, but of course I have plans for the new year. But only God can make it manifest.
With this new outlet, you’ve entered the Lagos Island market. Do you think you can keep up with the demands of your customers here on the Island?
By his grace, because by strength shall no man prevail. It is not by my power that I am here, God that started the good work in my life will surely not abandon me.
What are those things that gave you the edge over the years?
It is about what we believe in which is a fusion of the African and Western style. What we do is combine the African and western culture, which we have been able to do effectively. As Africans, we cannot totally neglect the western influence in our lives and as such we depict the masculinity of the African man in a western line. Also, we have the finest embroidery in the industry. Our embroidery is second to none. They are very rich and unique.
As your brand expands, so will the expectations. What are the changes you’d make in the new year to improve your brand?
The beauty about fashion is that it evolves, it is never static. For instance, last year I wasn’t playing with colours, but this year I did in response to demand. I don’t know what next year holds but as a designer you can’t be ignorant of fashion trends. What I also do is that I listen to my clients and their needs. I take the latest fashion trends and make it my design.
How much is this new outlet worth?
All I can say is that it runs into millions.
Give us a range…
(Laughs). I can’t, just know that it is in millions.
Celebrity guests shower Vans Kere with goodwill
The impressive guest list featured the likes of musician Sunny Neji; actor couple Nobert and Gloria Young; frontline comedian Julius Agwu; Gideon Okeke; and model Michael Nwachukwu. They showered encomiums on the designer…
I wish him success stories’
-Nollywood actress, GLORIA YOUNG
I wish him a lot of success stories. I see him dressing up most celebrities and dignitaries in the next ten years. I’ve seen a lot of his clothes as my husband wears them.
‘I wish him well’ – veteran actor, NOBERT YOUNG
As always, I wish him well. I wear his clothes, so I know the brand.
‘This is just the beginning of good things’ -model, MICHAEL NWACHUKWU
Vanskere is world-class. It is of international standard. I believe this is just the beginning of good things to come for Vans Kere. He has gone 10 years, he has 50 more to go.
I believe this is a project that will outlive him.
‘Vans Kere makes me look good’
-Nollywood actor, GIDEON OKEKE
I wish him all the best really. I have very few African stuff in any wardrobe. And Vans Kere is the only guy that makes me look good in them.
‘I wish him all the best’ – foremost comedian, JULIUS AGWU
We live in a country where there are a lot of odds against entrepreneurs and businesses, so for every person, especially a young man who’s doing well should be encouraged. I wish him all the best.
-MICHAEL NWOKIKE and Pix by GODWIN ONYEMAECHI