I had the privilege, some time ago, to chat with Ufuoma about her love for fashion and plans to go to fashion school. It's a joyful feeling when a person's passion for something comes to fruition. I have seen Ufuoma's designs donned by people and I must commend her eyes for style and pattern mixing. I'll let Ufuoma tell you about her herself, her journey as a fashion designer, which has just begun, and her hopes for the future in this challenging, yet fruitful business.
Please introduce yourself?
My name is Ufuoma Akusu. I am a graduate of history and diplomatic studies from the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria. I am also a graduate of Legs Apparel Fashion School in Abuja, Nigeria.
When did you decide to take fashion designing seriously?
I have always loved fashion right from my high school days. I would save up my lunch money to buy clothes just to look good. Also, I used to cut up my mom's wrappers in the process of trying to create stuff I had imagined. So after the mandatory National Youth Service, I decided to enroll in at a fashion school and I have not looked back since then. I breathe fashion and strive for excellence and perfection everyday.
What was the first piece you designed and who was it for?
I had actually been designing for my self right from my university days, but I didn't know how to sew then. I had a tailor who used to sew for me. But once I enrolled in fashion school and began sewing I made a pretty peplum skirt.
How do you distinguish your designs from that of your competitors out there?
Actually, I am just starting out but I love to work with Ankara and Swarovski stones and I also love to do embroidery and appliques on my clothes. I believe this makes me stand me out because my clothes are always stoned uniquely. When most people see my clothes they know it's "Izibesome Stiches," (this is my business name) and it means God is good in in my native "Epie" language in Bayelsa state, Nigeria.
How do you get inspired/Who inspires you?
I am inspired by lines and colors and by my environment. I am also inspired by culture and travels. I especially love the "Oyonyo" worn by the Efiks in Calabar, Cross Rivers state, Nigeria and the Ibibios of Akwa Ibom state, Nigeria. Right now in fashion, I am inspired by Stella Jean and Micheal Costello. I love Stella Jean's use of ethnic fabrics and how colorful her clothes look and I love Micheal Costello for his mermaid style dresses.
Who would you give credit for your motivation and pursuant of your dream as a fashion designer?
I would give credit to myself because I love fashion and I decided to go after it against all odds.
What are your current accomplishments in fashion?
I just registered my business name and it means a lot to me right now because I just started out.
Any plans on expansion?
Yes. I hope to go into ready-to-wear styles. I am so excited because the future holds a lot for me.
What is your long term goal in this career path?
My long term goal is to have a ready-to-wear line that would fall under high street fashion category. I hope to own flagship stores and then outlets all over the world and also hope to be a motivational speaker someday.
What should we watch out for?
Watch out for beautiful and embellished clothes from Izibesome Stiches.
Any closing remarks?
Nothing good in life comes easy. It takes a lot of determination and dedication to achieve anything you desire. It's not going to be easy but it's going to be worth it.
Special thanks to Ufuoma Akusu
Interview by Ukoemem