YUTEE Rone is a big time fashion designer based in Abuja. Her label also goes by her name, Yutee Rone Fashion Collections. Her specialization is strictly women clothings at least for now.
Having participated in fashion shows across the globe, Yutee showcased her collections at the Elite Model Look 2014 held at the Expo Hall, Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos. In fact, she was one of the best designers of the night. Yutee, married to Abuja businessman, Julius Rone chatted with ENCOMIUM Weekly about her craft and where she is headed in the fashion world…
What actually propelled you to start fashion designing?
I started in 2006. I have always loved fashion. I have always been artistic and at the end of the day, I knew this is what I would end up doing. As a child, I loved drawing. I sketched a lot. I have always loved putting clothes together. I did my clothes when I was much younger.
This wasn’t what you read in school?
I studied Microbiology. My father wanted me to be a doctor but somehow I didn’t go into Medicine, I went for Microbiology instead.
You just wanted to get the certificate?
I didn’t want to let my father down. I wasn’t thinking of just getting the certificate, I knew I would do something like this in future. I did fashion after graduation, then I could decide what I wanted in life.
Why strictly women design?
For now, that’s what I do. I understand women’s clothes so I can easily reproduce such at anytime. I have always loved making women clothings. I make clothes for those I know, mostly women. That is what I do now. The kids segment may come later.
So, what inspires your creativity?
Everything inspires me. I can look at you now and an idea crops up. I can be watching television and an idea comes up. I just put it down.
2006 till now, how would you assess the fashion industry in Nigeria?
In 2006, we couldn’t do anything with Ankara but now we sew Ankara in skirt. You can wear Ankara anywhere, to any occasion, it depends on how you put it together. It is easy to wear Ankara now unlike in the past, that’s a great improvement for the industry.
The target you set for yourself, how far have you gone with realizing it?
Fashion is something I wanted to do at my own convenience and comfort. It wasn’t about money. I have done a lot of things for friends for free because I just want to see people wear my designs. I was okay doing that, so it’s not as if I set a target. I am just doing my own thing.
What would you say separates you from other designers?
Everybody has his own style. There are some designers you think about and then style just shows up in your vision. I have heard people mention my label at a gathering. My strength in this job is that I work with a lot of chiffons and silk which is very unique.
What are the challenges associated with your job?
I have got challenges in dealing with my tailors. I have challenges in balancing work and family life. It is really big. Sometimes I barely sleep, I have to get my designs ready. Sometimes it gets into your personal life. Sometimes you make a design and put a price on it but later the cost of materials rise and there is nothing you can do about it. The most important thing for me is to satisfy my clients.
Have you ever had difficult times?
Women generally have difficult times now and then, it is a natural phenomenon.
Do you also wear your label?
I wear what I sew all the time. Comfort is it for me. I spend time to put this together. Sometimes it can be edgy but the most important thing is to get satisfaction in what you do.
Where is Yutee based?
Abuja. I have a store in Dolphin Estate. I just moved into Lekki Phase 1, Lagos and I have all my clients everywhere.
How would you describe your style?
I don’t really have a particular standard style because I wear everything I can lay my hands on. I wear jeans, skirt, I just love to wear clothes that are nice.
What do you look out for whenever you want to design for a client?
I look out for fitting and comfort. At times, I design for a client and it doesn’t fit, I redo it at my own cost just to satisfy my client. I just want them to smile and when she wears my design I get the compliment from people.
How do you hone your skills?
I have done some fashion courses in London. I also did marketing at least to be able to run the business.
What is the method you adopt in running your business and the homefront?
It has not been easy. I take my kids to school every morning and I go to pick them and I have to also work. At times, you are working and at times you are running fast that you forget the kids. I leave whatever I am doing to attend to them. At the end of the day, I wear long face at home, I get tired and sleep off. I push myself to manage the two so that everybody is happy.
Tell us about some shows you have participated.
I was at the London Fashion Week 2012 and 2013. I have done fashion shows in Abuja and Lagos. I have done quite a lot.
From experience, would you say Nigerian women are fashionable?
They are very fashionable, we are in the forefront. That is why we have many Nigerians participating in fashion shows abroad to market their products. We are setting standards in the world fashion industry. Nigerian women spend enormous time and money just to look good.
Can you still recollect how much you were paid for your first job?
No, I can’t remember. This is because at the initial stage I did a lot of designs for friends for free.
What is the future of Yutee in the fashion world?
The future will be bright, I want to be up there and do my thing. I want to get to the highest level.
What is level of competition in the industry that you think would not make you realize your aim?
It’s not about competition, rather doing what I love to do. There are challenges and setbacks but I push myself not because I am in competition with anyone but because I am competitive by nature. I am actually pushing myself to attain that level I should be.
– FOLUSO SAMUEL