BY YEMISI SULEIMAN
Ugonna Omeruo is the creative head of House of Nwaocha, a clothing line that caters for today’s ultra-feminine woman. Officially debuted in 2006 with her first fashion show, the young designer already has a celebrity contingent on her clientele list, with a craving for her form-fitting dresses.
As colourful and eclectic as the designer herself, her designs appeal to women who love glamorous, classic styles; women with an eye for workmanship and affordability. The idea, she says, is to make everyone look pretty however they tend to perceive themselves. Please read on.
House of Nwaocha? What does Nwaocha stand for?
Nwaocha is my grand-mother’s name. We were very close when she was alive so, when she passed on and I wanted to have my clothing line, I decided to name it after her. Nwaocha literally means ‘white woman’ in Igbo language but in translating it what it means to us as a brand, it means a beautiful woman, a sexy woman, an elegant woman, a woman that you will always want to look at. That is what House of Nwaocha stands for.
What fabrics bring out the best in you?
We work with different fabrics. We have done collections in lace fabric, soft feel fabrics. We have done collections using different fabrics. I have people working in the factory with aso ebi fabrics for weddings, bride’s maids (dresses) and they usually come in all sorts of fabrics. Sometimes, I help people come up with combinations for their wedding and with that you find out that we work with all sorts of fabric from ankara, to Wooden to george. So, we are not restricted to any particular type of fabric.
What does fashion mean to you?
Fashion for me, I think also for everyone, is to look good at all times. Whoever you are at any particular time, I think you should be able to carry yourself well and look good. I always tell my clients that it is not about the dress. I could do a diamond dress that will cost about ten million (naira) or whatever and you wear it and everyone looks at you like where did she get that from. Even when you can afford it, it is not usually about the dress or the pieces, it is about you as a person and how you wear it.
What is your fashion weakness?
For me, because I make clothes, I have so many clothes. I love shoes. I am not really a bag person. I love bags but I love shoes more and I love my watches. I will give an arm for a watch, even if I don’t have a wrist to wear the watch.
Do you have a preference for designer shoes?
As long as it looks nice, as long as I am comfortable in it. I have been tricked into buying shoes I really liked and couldn’t leave the shop without buying the shoes. At the end of the day, I wore it once and never wore it again because it was really tight but when I was buying it they were like it is going to expand.
If it is not comfortable, I won’t buy it. I have different pairs of shoes from different designers; I have a Louboutine, I have from YSL, from Dior, but I am not about a particular designer. You can’t even love a particular designer for shoes because there are shoes you see, you love them and then you look underneath and find out that they are from an unknown designer. Sometimes, I just buy when they are nice.
What about perfume?
I am also not particular about perfumes. If I love any I buy. If I get one as a gift, if it’s something I love I keep it. If it is not, I give it away. I am a fan of Jessica Parker because of her fragrance.
Best beauty secret?
I make sure I take off my make-up at night and I use my facial wash. Those are my basics. I try and shower like twice a day. Sometimes, you get home and you are so tired, I just try and get the make up off and use my facial wash because I have oily skin. Oily skin is not so difficult to maintain, if you stay away from oily stuff to manage the oils you already have. I avoid oily foods and I try to manage the oil on my face which is by using my facial wash and not wearing make up all the time.
Best make-up products?
Mary Kay – everything from lip gloss,to foundation, concealer; it kind of works better for my skin.
Favourite red carpet look?
That would be difficult for me now because I do lots of red carpet. It is difficult to pick one look but I think if I have to pick one look, I will always do the classic look which is a fitted long dress that will always work for me on the red carpet.
Best form of relaxation?
My work could keep me standing for hours in a day; if I am in the factory or if I am working on a collection, I could stand all day. So, the best way to relax for me is to hang out with my family, go and see my nephews and nieces or watch movies.
Favourite holiday spot?
Paris was really fantastic but my best holiday spot is somewhere I haven’t been to which is Brazil. I am looking on doing Brazil hopefully.
Cars! Wow! I like Jaguar. I have always wanted one; I hope to own one soon and that definitely is going to be a Jaguar.
Must-have item in your handbag?
Mosquito repellant. You can’t miss it. I carry it everywhere. I can’t stand mosquitoes.