Frank Osodi, Chief Designer, Bunor Creazioni was a celebrated model during his days. Today, he is known for his iconic and sassy creativity as a designer. Humble and very down-to-earth, he has mentored lots of models now making waves in the fashion industry and also does same for young designers. However, he is pained at the level of indiscipline among some upcoming designers and he did not hide his feelings in this interview. He’s working round the clock with Afolabi Oke of Sweet Sound African Promotions and Neo Mantra for Runway Jazz coming up later this month. He spoke with Sunday Sun recently.
By Christy Anyanwu
What has been happening to you?
I’m there in my studio working. I have had my own fair share of all these shows. I only do shows that I’m directly involved in, so that I can also have that platform that I love to do, discovering talents and putting them on the runway, giving them the visibility that I think they deserve. That is what a lot of young designers don’t have. That is what gives me pleasure in doing all these shows that I do. Otherwise, I’m there working for my clients.
Many designers are yearning for a fashion hub. Do you think Nigerian designers need that now? Is it necessary now in the industry?
I must tell you sincerely, what we have is a bunch of lazy young designers. The fact that you love fashion does not make you a designer. When you are jobless, you love fashion and then you carry tailor, you carry catalogue, most of the things they sew are copy work.
Does that make you a designer? Of course not. How many of them can cut, how many of them can make illustrations, how many of them can advise a client?. A lot of them are lazy designers, when they are asking for a hub , what they are looking for is a bail-out. None of them is ready to employ the services of young boys and girls who are born to train as designers and they are looking for a fashion hub.
They are looking for a bail out where you can practically do everything for them. All they will do is just give you their labels. They can even give you the label and take a plane to Holland and sleep and expect you to do the work and they call themselves designers. Designers all over the world really work to make their names. They work for other designers, they worked as apprentices, they are graduates and they worked with so many designers before they created their labels.
Here in Nigeria, tailors are their designers, they don’t know no jack. Very few of them do. With about 70 percent of those parading themselves as young designers, if you have a show with about a 100 of them, their collections all look alike. No big deal, nothing to it. And they are asking for a hub. First train as a designer, learn to consult, understand your client and try and be unique about your work, let them know you for something but all of them just copy.
How would you describe a stylish woman?
A stylish woman is someone who dresses to suit her physique. You need to know yourself and wear what suits your physique not because it’s in vogue or it’s trendy but because you should know what your body can pull, what your body should pull. That is what I call a stylish woman.
It’s not about the quality of what you wear or is it?
Not necessarily. What’s quality? It’s just the amount of work put into what you are wearing. For instance, this guy standing here is wearing a cotton shirt and a chinos trouser, how much is chinos, how much is cotton? But you can see that this guy is well dressed. You are wearing prints, how much are prints in the market? Is it well put together and does it sit well and is it well cut? It’s not how expensive it is but how it’s well put together.
Does it sit well on you; does it suit your physique? Some people don’t look at themselves in the mirror and tell themselves the truth. Some women come to the office and say “ I want this style” and I tell them sorry madam, it won’t work on you and she says but I saw this person wear this style.
The fact that the person wore it doesn’t mean it would suit you too. Look at your physique. Some women might not like to dress expensive when they go out but when you go to their homes you will be shocked how expensive their homes are. They have places where they want to spend money, this is their haven and there are people who spend all their money on shoes and bags. They can wear anything but for them, their shoes and bag must speak volumes. And sometimes if they don’t tell you how much it costs, you might never know.
Why don’t you do male outfits?
I used to. It does not require so much effort in terms of creativity. Men practically dress the same way. It’s just shirt and trouser and maybe a jacket. But with women’s clothing, there’s stoning and appliqué and even the stoning is in different ways. There are a variety of stones and appliqué and lots of things you can do on women’s clothing. You try another style each time. There are so many things to do as far as women’s clothing is concerned. Your creativity comes out best.
When you are not working on clothes, what do you do?
I watch comedy. I just relax with comedy. I have to laugh and laugh and laugh and be entertained. I travel sometimes too.
Who is a good designer?
A good designer is someone who dreams and nurtures the dream to reality. Someone who takes it from the sketch. You sit down and you dream, you put your dream in a sketch and you realize it because realizing it is not a joke.
It’s about making sure it’s what you design on paper that’s wearable art. Some people can make sketches and yet don’t know how to achieve the sketches but they dream it away and they expect the tailor to turn it around. A good designer is someone who looks at you, your physique and asks you a lot of questions as far as he can understand your clothing and transfer that onto the paper, get into the studio and brings it to reality.
What has life taught you?
Life has taught me that the best way to enjoy this life is to be humble and simple. Humility and simplicity is what life is all about. God wants that for us.
Know where you are, know who you are and understand how you should be living your life. If you want to live at Ikoyi and you are earning N300,000 monthly, you know you’ll have problems but the life you want to live in Ikoyi you can live it in Surulere, or Mushin. Just get a nice apartment, put it together and put everything in at your convenience there. Once you finish the hustling and bustling in Lagos, you enter your place. You can put your sauna there and whatever will keep you comfortable. Life has taught me to live the simplest life. I’m simple and I’m happy.
What’s your favorite food?
Edikang Ikong soup and Nsala soup
Where is your favourite holiday spot?
Cape Town. I like Cape Town because it’s heaven on earth.