Wednesday, 7th June 2023

Sharmaine Aderemi speaks on Arise Fashion Week

I am Nigerian, born and raised in London. I was brought up within a strict Yoruba family. I was sent to Boarding school in Nigeria (Benin) and that was when my life changed and I realised I had a passion for fashion.

Sharmaine Aderemi

Sharmaine Aderemi has worked within the fashion industry for over 15 years as a branding, wholesale, sales and product development expert. With over a decade of experience within the fashion industry, developing branding and licensing opportunities across fashion, beauty and lifestyle. Working with talent and influencers to created product ranges such as home fragrance, apparel, accessories and much more.

Sharmaine’s client list includes Acne, Buckingham Palace, Burberry, Calvin Klien, Celine, Gina, Karl Lagerfeld, Swarovski, Charlotte Olympia, and many more. She has travelled extensively across the globe throughout her career to regions such as the Far East, Europe and the USA on behalf of factories, brands and retailers.Sharmaine’s approach to all clients and products draws upon her deep industry knowledge and wide sight, providing clients with visionary advice and strategy.

As a leading expert in fashion, branding and retail industry, Sharmaine has helped companies accelerate brand growth in new and established market.

Her experience with new start-ups to world-famous labels and everything in between enables her to help companies fine-tune all aspects of what they create; from choosing international suppliers to advertising how to access factory costs and margins for different markets, determine the most effective and efficient method to improve profitability. From determining inbound and outbound logistics to refining sales processes and steering product development. She has worked within a variety of market – emerging, established, and start-ups. Whilst providing guidance on growing brands, sourcing factories for production worldwide and assisting with price strategy.

Sharmaine is currently working with Storm Model Management in London, strategically developing and implementing strong brand partnerships, licensing and collaboration deals for various models, talent and influencers that are signed to Storm.Storm Models is synonymous with the discovery of the world’s most famous models, such as Kate Moss, Jourdan Dunn and Cara Delevingne. Storm maximizes and develops creative and commercial opportunities for significant talent outside and inside the fashion industry. She was currently in the country with 10 top models from the agency to grace the just-concluded Arise Fashion Week in Lagos. In this interview Sharmaine takes GuardianWoman through her life career, family and impression about Nigeria’s fashion industry

Let’s meet Sharmaine. Tells us about your family background, education, career and so on
I am Nigerian, born and raised in London. I was brought up within a strict Yoruba family. I was sent to boarding school in Nigeria (Benin) and that was when my life changed and I realised I had a passion for fashion. I came back to London after graduating from SS3 and went to The London College of Fashion to study Fashion Management. I knew I loved fashion, but I was more interested in the business side of things rather than the design, I wanted to know how and where clothes were manufactured, I wanted to know how retailers made profit, who wore the clothes, why, I was intrigued.

You came to Nigeria for the Arise Fashion Week 2018. How deeply involved were you? What’s your partnership deal with the organisers?
I worked on the model side of things, casting 10 models from London that are from different parts of the world. They all have their own individual different looks.

What does your job entail at Storm Models?
I work across all boards at Storm (Mens, Womens, Artists, Creative and Vision). I work on branding, collaboration, licensing for the models and talents we represent. I also work on campaigns and ambassadorships for brands. We are always interested in signing new talent, so that’s another part of my role. I sign artists, performers, actors, footballers and DJ’s.

Since you represented the prestigious Storm Models London here, who are the star models that came with you to rule the runway?
All 10 girls are stars in my eyes, some of them have walked the runway for some of the world’s most successful brands, been part of successful campaigns and also worked on great editorials like DAZED, Vogue, Wonderland etc.

How’s your agency ranked among many top modelling agencies worldwide?
Storm is one of the most successful agencies in the world, Storm is known for scouting boys and girls and turning them into successful models. Kate Moss and Jourdan Dunn were scouted at a young age by our CEO, Kate was scouted in Luton Airport and Jourdan was in Primark and now they are both known around the world.

Your profile also shows that you’ve worked with many famous fashion brands, when and why did you delve into the fashion world? Has it always been your passion or was it just accidental?
I always loved fashion but not the glitzy part; I started my career working for companies that produce clothing for stores and brands. My career changed when I was headhunted by CK and then moved on to work for Swarovski where I worked with brands who used Swarovski on their products brands such as Gina, Burberry, Charlotte Olympia and weirdly Buckingham Palace (The Queen loves Swarovski) lol.

What have been the most interesting and most challenging aspects of your job?
The most interesting would be the travel, I have travelled far and wide, China, Italy, Austria, Paris, Florida, New York, Scandinavia……The list is endless. The most challenging…….when you are seconds away from signing a deal that you have been working on for months and the talent/model change their mind at the last minute. It really gets to you but you can’t let it show, you have to breathe and move onto the next project!

Who are the easiest people to work with- start-ups or the established brands?
Both really, it just depends on the person /business. You can work with a start-up and they listen to your every word and trust you, or they can be a startups that are too scared to make big decisions and they think they know it all. Established, it can be a well-established company, but the team don’t have a clue what they are doing. Just because it’s a big brand or organisation it doesn’t always mean things are going to run smoothly, it can still be challenging.

You’ve travelled worldwide, what has life been as a globetrotter
It has been interesting, fun and I have learnt so much and met some amazing people. But as you get older it gets tiring and also a bit lonely, having dinner for one isn’t always fun! But I am grateful as I have been travelling for over 15 years.

What is leisure time for you?
Staying at home….haha! People tend to think I am out at events every day or socialising, that’s not the case. Because I travel and socialise so much, when I have free time I like to stay at home, watch movies, eat and sleep. I also love spending time with my family, I am the oldest of six, so there is never a dull moment. Going to my parents’ house and just chilling out eating eba and egusi is the best thing ever!

What’s your definition of style?
Wearing what you feel comfortable in, not following trends just because….Everyone that knows me knows I love jeans and high heels, I know what suits me so I stick to it. And I love colour, never be afraid of colour.Having worked with different brands, kindly tell us your favourites in clothes, accessories, perfumes, interior decoration etc.I love YSL and Celine when it comes to clothes and accessories as their shapes, cuts and colours are timeless. My favourite perfume is Portrait of a Lady by Dominique Ropion, the best scent ever!

Any plans to own your own brand in the future?
Maybe one day, but I would go for an affordable brand and not high-end. You can do so much more with an affordable brand.

What made Storm models stand out at the Arise Fashion Week?

Fierceness, confidence and individuality.

Did you plan for any model scouting at this event?
We are always on the lookout for fresh faces, we carry scouting cards with us everywhere we go, so yes I am hoping to find some amazing boys and girls in Lagos

How can you bring your wealth of experience to bear in helping Nigeria’s fashion industry?
Guide brands in the right direction in terms of production cost, branching out into other markets- you can’t grow a brand when it is sold in one county. Introducing international brands to Nigerian brands to collaborate with and grow their platform and gain international brand exposure.Are you happy coming back home? Do you enjoy staying in Nigeria? I love Nigeria, I always look forward to my trips to Lagos. There are so many talented people here, the designers are fabulous, their style, prints and materials are rare, one of a kind!

What is your life’s mantra?
Live, Love, Laugh.

Who are your role models in the fashion industry and why?
My old CEO Emma Grede who is now the CEO of Good America, her business partner is Khloe Kardashian. Emma, like me wasn’t born with a silver spoon in her mouth, she worked her way to the top. She was never fazed by anything or anyone. She is honest and that is a hard trait to come across in this industry. She speaks her mind, and doesn’t take no for an answer, I respect people like that. She now owns one of the most successful brands worldwide with a Kardashian as a business partner, as well as being a mother to two children and a wife.

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