By Esther Onyegbula
Sharon George is the creative director of “Olaedo” a unisex clothing outfit that specializes in making exotic clothes and fashion she has been in the industry for about three years and recently she showcased her 2012 collection at the City Beauty and Fashion awards. In this interview, she talks about her inspirations, designs, challenges and dreams. Enjoy!
Professionally, how long have you been in the industry?
Officially three years.
How would you describe these years?
Frankly speaking, it has been very stressful but I love it. I have this strong passion to do it. Otherwise I would have quit. Of course, you know that it can’t be easy. Every business has its own stress and challenges, mine is not different. As a designer, the challenge of electricity supply tops the list.
The environment is not conducive for us to work. Finding the right staff is a problem so also, sourcing for quality fabrics. And if you want to create a fashion brand in the industry, you need to have a showroom and that is capital intensive. It requires real money, to set it up.
What really inspires your designs, I see you work with a lot of Ankara Fabrics?
My designs are inspired by God basically, but I must tell you that a lot of things inspire me. For instance, people around me, the colour of the sky, even the colour of my car, and the people I meet everyday inspire my designs. Inspiration is something that comes naturally to the mind and as a designer; you replicate it in sketches and fabrics.
How would you describe your collections?
My collections are ethnic and western; I infuse ethnic and western styles into my designs.
The industry demands creativity, how creative are you?
I am creative; you are looking and talking to the most creative woman on the face of planet earth.
How would you describe the Nigerian fashion industry?
Most Nigerians I must say, are beginning to realize that fashion is part of entertainment. Nigerians are waking up, they are appreciating our own Ankara. They are appreciating our own indigenous designers. Gone are the days when a Governor would want to attend a red carpet event and he would order his outfit from London or Paris.
Today they are proud to wear what our designers make. Now you see our designs on the red carpet. This shows that they are appreciating what we are doing.
Do you consider the average Nigerian woman fashionable?
Oh my God! Nigerian women are fashion conscious. They are really fashion forward, and things are beginning to change.
Most people feel that the Ankara fabric is restrictive in nature, what is your opinion?
On the contrary, you can wear your Ankara to a red carpet event. You can wear Ankara anywhere; it all depends on the style and the finishing. Frankly speaking, there shouldn’t be restriction on Ankara. I do a whole lot with Ankara fabric. I make slippers, jackets, men’s shorts and evening dresses with Ankara fabrics.
In the next couple of years where would people see the fashion Label Olaedo?
I don’t know where God will want to see Olaedo. The question is not for me to answer, because I don’t know what tomorrow holds. But I want to be where God wants me to be. And I believe God who started this journey with me, will see me through.
What is your message for upcoming Nigeria designers?
The thing is that if you don’t have the passion for fashion, there is no point, because there are challenges that you will definitely meet that would force you to want to quit. The first thing an upcoming designer should do, is find out if you have the passion for fashion. If you don’t, forget it. Also, you must be hard working and dedicated to your work.
With the saturation in the industry, how have you been able to cope with the competition in the industry?
In fashion there shouldn’t be competition.
Because what you treasure as good clothing might not appeal to Genevieve Nnaji. What Charly boy wears or what appeals to his dress sense might not appeal to Ramsey Noah. So there shouldn’t be competition.