• Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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Best way to retain customers is to make sure they are 100% satisfied – Ajayi


Oluwakemi Ajayi is the founder of Wearlala Fashion. Ajayi has carved a niche for herself in the industry and has over the years trained many youths on what it takes to become successful designers. Speaking in this interview with NGOZI OKPALAKUNNE, she appealed to government to revive the textile industry and also create an avenue for designers to get access to grants and support. Excerpts:

What is your assessment of the Nigerian fashion industry?

We embrace the modified wears more here in Nigeria because an average Nigerian will prefer to buy fabrics and give it to a dressmaker to make a custom made dress than walking into luxury brand store to pick a Louis Vuitton dress. This is one of the many reasons international clothing brands find it difficult to penetrate Nigerian market.

As a creative designer where does your inspiration come from?

I get inspiration from a lot of sources. Inspiration can come from nature, imagination and very importantly, the internet is a well of information to draw inspiration from. On the other hand, the fashion industry has improved greatly in Nigeria especially with the advent of the internet. It has given us a platform to showcase our talent and designs to the world at large whilst getting inspiration from other designers in various parts of the world. Nigerian designers are getting better and creative, people now see it as a full time career and not just a mere skill or side hustle.

How would you describe the involvement of Nigerian youths in creative designs?
In the past, no; but now things have changed. A lot of youths finished from Higher Education and pursued white collar jobs, but in recent times, there has been a paradigm shift and more and more university graduates are tending towards becoming entrepreneurs and fashion design seems to be one of the topmost sort-after skills in Nigeria today.

In what way do you think Nigerian designers have encouraged Nigerians to patronise locally-made wears?

By creating awareness to the consumers that buying made-in-Nigeria designs can promote our culture and also improve the economy of the country. It will also serve as source of job creation because we can leverage on our population size by producing locally.

Do you think the government is doing enough for the industry? If not, what would you want them to do more?

The government can do better by reviving the textile industry and also create an avenue for designers to get access to grants and support.

How has the present economic crisis affected the industry and what is the way out?

Economic crisis I must say is a global challenge however, clothing is one of the basic necessities of life, hence the impact on the fashion industry isn’t so much. But going forward, fashion brands need to focus more on creating sustainable designs because consumers are beginning to focus more on spending on what is sustainable and durable.

What is your achievement as a fashion designer?

I have been able to impart my knowledge to others and indirectly creating jobs for other emerging fashion designers.

Your strength as a fashion designer?
I pay attention to details and my excellent sewing skill is a great advantage for me as a fashion designer.

Explain your process of working with a disgruntled client?

The best way to retain customers is to make sure they are 100 percent satisfied. In some instances, when I have a disgruntled customer, I try to figure out what the problem is and fix it the best possible way. I could even offer a discount on next purchase to make sure we retain the client and for future referrals too.

In your opinion, what are some of the important skills or traits for fashion designers?

A fashion designer must have good communication skills, pay attention to details; he or she must be creative and have good interpersonal skills. Furthermore, a designer must be passionate about the job and also be eager to succeed.

What type of fabric do you enjoy working with the most?

I enjoy working with Ankara fabric. It is a very versatile fabric that can create different styles and designs.

What are your favourite fashion trends, both in the past and now? Why?

I love the fact that we have more of dresses than skirts and blouses in trend presently in Nigeria in the last 8 years. It is a style that suits all body types irrespective of your age, stature and status. Corsets have also been trending in Nigeria since 2018 and has gained ground with different designers coming up with unique styles.