FAST rising designer, Omoniyi Makun, otherwise known as Yomi Casual, has finally opened his multi-million naira celebrity office. The unveiling held on Sunday, July 29, 2012, at his office in Bode Thomas Road, Surulere, Lagos, attracted top celebrities. The nominee for the New Designer of the Year at the 2012 Future Awards had an exclusive interview with ENCOMIUM Weekly, where he opened up on what inspired him to set up an office that has one of the best African classy showroom, work room, store and laundry sections.
How does it feel?
I feel very great about it. It’s like a dream come true and I have always dreamt of having my showroom in a place like this, where anybody can walk in at any time and feel comfortable.
When did you conceive the idea of having your showroom?
Hmmm…it’s always been my dream just like I started but the eagerness started in 2009. I read an interview of my mentor, Mudi, in a magazine where he talked about his fashion shows and how to become successful as a designer. That really inspired and motivated me plus a couple of fashion shows I watched on TV, where they exhibited different showrooms. Then, I realized that fashion is not just about sewing for celebrities but having your own showroom where people can shop at anytime. So, in 2010, we had our first showroom in Aguda, Surulere, Lagos and as time went on, there arose a need for expansion, which gave birth to where we are today. All glory be to God.
Tell us how you partitioned your office and what informed the choice of decoration, especially the orange colour?
I occupy the whole building (referring to the first floor) and partitioned it into different sections. First, we have the showroom, sewing room, where we do all the creative work, store house and finally our laundry. As for the decoration, especially the choice of orange, it’s my favourite colour and everybody that knows me well can confirm that.
It would have cost you a lot to put all these together. Tell us how much it gulped.
You can’t really get that now but it’s running into millions. First, you know what it takes to rent a building of this type in a place like Bode Thomas in Surulere, Lagos, not to talk of the furniture, decorations and even the designs. It’s a huge money but all I will say is, I thank God for everything.
Let’s talk about your background, especially your relationship with comedian AY?
My name is Makun Omoniyi, the CEO of Yomi Casual. Born in Delta State, I grew up in Delta State before I moved to Auchi Polytechnic, where I studied Fashion Designing and Clothing Technology. I am from the family of seven, last child, a younger brother to comedian AY. It was through him I moved to Lagos to start the business of fashion proper.
That means your brother, AY’s status as a top comedian has influenced your career as a designer?
Exactly, yes! That’s the basic truth because my talent alone would have been a waste if I never had him around. There are lots of young Nigerians with great talents but nobody to help them actualize their dream. If not God, then AY, there would be no different between Yomi Casual and any other road side designer. Having him as my brother has been instrumental to my success so far, with God on my side. He’s one of my greatest supporters, that’s why you see him putting on Yomi Casual Collection at his shows and people, including celebrities would order for theirs.
Let’s talk about designs that are in vogue for men?
I really can’t say these are designs that are in vogue but I can tell you the ones in vogue for Yomi Casual. I call it my 2012 Collections. What I have, however, noticed in fashion now is that men wear skinny pants unlike before. I could remember it started with Baggy Bag, to the Boat Cut and now to Skinny Pants. Meaning that fashion changes, depending on the time. Like now, everybody wants to wear denim collection, including women and I have them in my collection. What I therefore do is to add my own creativity to make it more unique which is why Yomi Casual stands out from others.
What about colours?
The same also is applicable to colours. Let’s say the colour in vogue for men right now is orange but the truth is not all men can wear orange. It takes a very confident person to wear orange, especially when you’re not a stylish person, you can’t wear some colours. Even when you force yourself to wear it, you’ll look very funny, as if you don’t know what you’re doing. The fact still remains that men have their colours, especially black, brown, navy and sky blue and white but not red and orange. For instance, I can’t wear yellow trousers and I think for guys too, it’s wrong. What people are doing nw is colour blocking but there is a limit to it.
With your present status, how affordable is Yomi Casual?
The fact that I design for top celebrities does not mean I cannot be accessible by ordinary people. In fact, they’ve been patronizing me and this is because my prices are affordable. If you’re reading this interview right now, don’t be scared to patronize us (smiles), because we have the kind of designs you can afford.
Last, where would you like to see your brand in two years?
Yomi Casual is going to be one of the best things that ever happened in the industry. I can feel it right now. I see myself making Nigeria proud across the world with my style and creativity. A bigger brand than the way he’s now and more importantly, Yomi Casual will be a married man in two years, by God’s grace.
- This story was first published in ENCOMIUM Weekly on Tuesday, August 7, 2012