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Blend of western styles helps us create versatile pieces – CEO Seamples

Blend of western styles helps us create versatile pieces – CEO Seamples

Chioma Akanimo Inyang is the CEO of Seamples, a top indigenous fashion outfit-making Afrocentric women’s wears that’s now a trend in the Nigeria fashion space and quickly becoming every woman’s delight. In this interview with IFEOMA OKEKE-KORIEOCHA, she speaks on her passion for fashion, why she took a pause from school and learnt how to sew and what distinguishes her brand from competitors. Excerpts:

Are you fulfilled as a fashion designer?

Yes, I am. Absolutely. It can be very tasking and demanding but I’m happy I get to do what I truly want to do. I’ve done and still do other kinds of businesses but fashion design is at the forefront. It’s the one that I can’t let go of.

As a kid, was fashion all you wanted to do?

I actually wanted to be a lawyer because I enjoy reading but I grew up and realized that law was much more than reading. I didn’t know I was going to do fashion full-time even though looking back now, the signs were there. I joined the needlework class when I was in primary 4 and we would make all sorts of things ranging from napkins to pillowcases, armrests, dusters, etc.

Also, my mom owned a butterfly sewing machine which she passed on to me. At home, she would work on our torn clothes, bedsheets, and all sorts and I just found it fascinating so sometimes, when she was not around, I’d try to pedal the machine and I always ended up making the needle get stuck. She stopped scolding me about it and showed me how it’s done. I helped her tack buttons and pin down zips. The rest they say is history.

When did you quit your school qualifications for fashion?

I wouldn’t exactly call it quits. I just took a pause from school and went to Accra for about seven months to learn how to sew. I learned the basics of sewing in Accra and then I returned to Nigeria, enrolled in the university, and also enrolled in a fashion school. I did both simultaneously and somehow, survived.

What makes Seamples unique from other fashion outfits?

It’s our attention to detail and fabric choices and fabric blend. I can say we have really good eyes for prints that make people stop to look at you. And we finish outfits in the most impeccable way.

Do you blend your design with western styles (if so why)?

Yes, we do and that’s because we have people who want to be connected to their roots or culture but they also need to show up at the office or attend a corporate event. That’s where this blend of Western styles comes in.

African fashion truly is most ‘occasional’ so having that blend of western styles helps us create versatile pieces that can be worn to the office and in the evening, be worn to a girl’s night out.

Do you sometimes feel you would have been a better person if you had practiced what you have a school degree for?

I have a degree in the English language from The National Open University of Nigeria. I’ve always wanted to work with NGOs and humanitarian organizations like the United Nations Children’s Fund, (UNICEF) and that’s what led me to study the English language.

It’s the most spoken language in the world among native and non-native speakers so it was right that I communicated well in English. I haven’t put in an application to work at UNICEF but I will in due time.

What gave you hope when things looked uncertain?

Jeremiah 29:11. “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and hope.”

This verse gives me hope and peace to know that whatever I might be dealing with is designed to help me be better so I’m always looking for the lesson in situations that I find rather uncomfortable.

Read also: Designers from 11 countries showcase at Africa Fashion and Design Week 2022

When did you make your first big money?

In 2021. It was a production deal to make 500 pieces of clothes for a boutique in the US.

How long have you been making clothes for your most influential client?

I would say since 2018.

How affordable are your clothes?

They’re really affordable. We try as much as possible to keep a low overhead so we can have affordable clothing. We have clothes ranging from N7000-N35,000

What are the challenges you battle with?

Getting really experienced tailors. I find that every time I have to hire someone, I need to spend at least one month showing them the ropes of how to couple an outfit, and how to stitch neatly and finish properly.

Are you married?

Yes I am. I got married in 2021. My wedding even went viral because I wore an Ankara wedding dress. Amazing stuff!

How would you describe your fashion style?

My fashion style is minimalist and simple as possible. I don’t like to be in pain or uncomfortable because I’m trying to be fashionable.

What do you want your brand to be known for?

I want us to be known for versatility, good quality, and excellent service delivery.

Tell us everything you do in Seamples

I create pattern pieces for new designs before they go into production. I do quality control (checking the seams, finishing, and technique). I am the customer success manager. I make sure clients receive and are satisfied with their orders.