It is tough to decide to embark on a journey as a Creative Professional in Nigeria. It may be easier now, still the last I checked, the major schools here do not offer courses in Fashion or media.
I studied Cell Biology and Genetics at the University of Lagos and whilst there, I don’t recall there being a course in Fashion Design, Photography or even styling! The closest course to anything creative at the time as I remember was Creative Arts. Which was more of drama and acting.
I went on to study Environmental Management (MSc) at the University of Wolverhampton, UK. Once my flair for Fashion seemed to be more than a passing fancy, I decided to officially take on Fashion and Styling as a career in Nigeria (Nov,2009). There was hardly any local resources to browse through. Styling was fairly new and there were about only 1 or 2 other stylists I knew in the entire Nigeria.
It was a bold thing to do then,bold and crazy it seemed. I was passionate and very determined to make a difference and a living out of it (Despite my strait-laced Dad’s stern warnings to desist from the then “seeming path to destruction”). I remember the good ole start-up days, I wanted so much! I wanted to be successful so bad! So bad! and I threw myself into work whole-heartedly and researched,researched and researched.
I had some really awesome web resources I feverishly read and visited constantly;Fashiongonerogue.com,harpersbazaar.com and style.com. I also made a really great friend; Kelechi Amadi-Obi (Award winning photographer and Publisher, Mania Magazine). He was awesome; A friend, A helper and a guiding influence! I shall never forget.
Along the way, online media and learning by practice was no more enough. I was hungry for more knowledge. I booked a course in Los Angeles; “THE SCHOOL OF STYLE” and went off for the most amazing 6 weeks course in Fashon Styling. It was a great experience; a confidence booster and re-affirmed my convictions.
I came back and immersed myself once again in the job. Last year December, I felt stagnant once again, I felt the need for more skills. To immerse myself in a study environment and re-charge my juices.I set off to the London College of Fashion for a two week intensive course in Fashion design.
My best decision yet! Immersing myself in fashion, meeting amazing talented individuals and just generally having a really creative experience was the exact experience my career needed at the time.I came back to Zinkata re-energised, with new skills and a more excited approach to work and life in general.
For all the aspiring fashion creatives or even fashion professionals, always take time out to study and learn new skills. Even if you already have a degree in fashion/the creatives, a refresher course is always a good idea. Acquire knowledge anyway you can.Associate yourself with people that would influence you positively and teach you new skills.
Some of us reading this may not have the resources to commit to going all the way to England or America to get courses done (Especially with the country’s new economic situation).Online courses are available as well. If that proves too expensive still, then practise repeatedly, expand your minds, reach out to people you admire for mentorships, research and find out if there are any grants by organisations. All you really need is the will to succeed and to be the best you can possibly be.
The journey is still on for me. I am still learning, still moving, still developing and hoping to carry all those that may need my help along the way with me! Send an email: email@example.com.
Talent is great,it is not enough. Hardwork, consistency, smarts and the will to succeed is what we should always latch on to!!
May the Lord see us all through!!
See you all at the Top!