I am a go-getter, I look at the bright side’
Jumoke Salami’s one unbounded passion is The Lagos Wardrobe and Exhibition (TLWE). It is a dream she has diligently nurtured and brought into being. And this is the third year of the coming of the event, which fashion enthusiasts are looking forward to. The Guardian Woman spoke with Miss Salami, who is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Nine Eight Couture, a fashion stylist, wardrobe manager and personal shopper. She is enthusiastic and full of energy, as she explained that plans were underway to make the 2016 exhibition, which comes up on October 30 at the Westtown Hotel Opebi, Lagos, a memorable one.
On Saturday, September 26, Salami said they had a casting to choose models that would work with them. According to her, TLWE is a platform for young and new entrants into the fashion industry to show the world why they think they can make it in the world of glamour and cloth making.
The professionals, who are expected to take part in the expo, are cloth designers, stylists, make-up artists and photographers. The idea, she said, is to showcase synergy in the world of fashion by promoting every brand and exposing such talents in the social media, as well as in the print media. She added that TLWE has gone into partnership with some organisations to make the show a memorable one.
“TLWE gets better,” she said, adding that, “in the three years of existence, it has become an event to look forward to.”Last year’s exhibition was sponsored by MTN Nigeria, she revealed.
But why is she so highly interested in fashion to the extent of staging a fashion show, when she neither designs nor makes clothes?“I am a stylist and a stylist’s job is to ensure that a client wears the right outfit,” she responded.
Her partner, Tunde Mololari, is the Founder of TNT. He is also a cloth designer, she added.And Jumoke cannot be called a green horn when it comes to organising fashion exhibitions of such magnitude. Some of the major ones she had been part of include: The Lagos Fashion and Design Week (LFDW), African Fashion Week Nigeria (AFWN) and Music Meets Runway.
The urge to cut her teeth in the world of fashion started when she was still a student at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife.“What I do now was a gradual process that started,when I sold jewellery to make some money as a student,” she reminisced. “At that time, I shopped for people and they paid me. It was from there that I got the idea of what I wanted to do after finishing school.”
On photographers exhibiting at fashion events, she said: “These days, there is fashion photography, and it is necessary to show the difference, for example, between fashion and portraiture, when talking about clothes. Fashion needs to be presented with the details. These days, there are professionals in that field. They learn the skills and right now, it is becoming a big industry.”
Speaking of Nigerians and their acclaimed high sense of fashion, she observed that in her opinion as a professional, many are getting it right, though there are still some that do not understand what it takes to be called a tasteful dresser. She believed that style is an individual thing, which shouldn’t be emulated, just because your friend looks nice in her own style.
She said: “People should have their own style. Everybody should have a personal style, as everybody should not wear what is trending. We have our different body structures and shapes.”
Her personal style is casual and classic, she said. She has two role models in her line of trade. “They are Veronica Odeka and Bola Balogun,” she said. “I follow them on the social media, as well as, go to any seminar I know they will attend. I hope to be like them one day.”
In her view, it is amazing to be a fashion entrepreneur. She describes herself as a female entrepreneur and a foremost fashion stylist.
“I believe that I am number one. I work hard. I always feel motivated, when I see people looking good. I don’t like it when people look untidy. Even though most women have lots of clothes, but they don’t know how to wear them.
“I am a goal getter. I am not easily discouraged, and though things may not always go the way one planned, but at such moments, I look at the bright side and keep working at it.”
She attributes her calmness to the grace of God.She is the first child of her parents who are both civil servants. Interestingly, she has never for once felt or encouraged to write a formal application for employment, as she has always wanted to expand on the business she started.
Fortunately, her parents did not discourage her; rather, her mother gave her the first seed capital.Her younger siblings are also toeing the same line. Her brother is a clothes designer, while the sister is into jewelry making.
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