She’s been around for 16 years as a designer. Zizi Cardow has been consistent in Nigerian fashion industry, and her label has been waxing strong. Only recently, Cardow marked her 16 years in the business. She also used the celebration to appreciate her old time friends and faithful clientele. She is one designer you may not be able to disect until you move closer to her. At her showroom in Ikoyi, she was singing hymns and choruses and you wonder where her spirituality was coming from. She confessed she cannot compromise her faith noting she had mounted the pulpit several times to preach the word. She spoke with Effects afterwards.
You are always youthful looking. You maintain the same physique and comportment, Whats the secret?
I don’t know really. I can’t really say what it is because I don’t do Spas, I don’t do all the girly girly things. Everyday I wake up, I do my normal makeup and I’m good to go. I don’t have special diets. As a matter of fact, I got ‘a day at the Spa’ for my birthday which was May 4th; I’m yet to redeem it. I’m yet to have that day at the Spa. I think the most important thing is to be happy. I make myself happy, but I don’t take myself serious. I keep telling people that. For me it works. Just take life as easy as it can be. Sometimes, as humans beings, people just worry unnecessarily over material things. All those worries, all the stress tells on one. My best prescriptions to anyone is being happy and taking life easy. I don’t try to be somebody else. I always say I don’t conform to society because society is you and I. You don’t have to be a follower. I believe in being a leader. In everything I do, I think the outmost thing in my mind is to be happy. When you try to be somebody else, when you try to do things that are not your purpose in life, you end up frustrating yourself, putting yourself in a lot of problems. However, I see myself as a happy going person, I like to have fun, whichever way or form it comes. The cheapest form of medicine is laughter.
So, you don’t do anything extraordinary to keep in shape?
The only extraordinary thing I do is perhaps, practicing new moves on the dance floor.
What would you have done if you aren’t a designer?
Criminal profiling. Something like forensic profiling. That’s something that really interests me. I would have gone into Behavioral pattern also. Talking about the way people behave, think and see things. Those things fascinate me. Sometimes, I like to be in somebody’s head and I try to understand why they do the things they do, why they act the ways they act.
What influences your designs?
I have always loved to be different. I keep saying it, I don’t conform to society. I design based on what I feel from inside. I have always loved the femine silhouette, and tried to build on that. I try to show the sensuality in a woman because I think every woman has a sensual side that need to be explored and shown out there, appreciated and applauded. For me, it’s all about you wearing the dress, not the dress wearing you. So, most of my designs are wrapped around that fact that you don’t need too many things happening. I always believe in elegance and simplicity. They are like timeless pieces. Year-in-year out, you can still wear them. When I say my pieces are timeless, I mean when you design it, it takes five years sometimes before you can see it in the market. I like to be fashion forward. I like to think out of the box. As a designer, or as a creator, your job is actually, to think of new things. That creative side of it is what excites me. People look at me sometimes and tell me, you are just weird. I’ll reply them, two, three, years from now; you will tell me different things.
What is that thing that people don’t know about you?
That I have a spiritual side. That’s a part of me that people don’t know about. Somehow, it has taken the forefront.
Are you a worker in the church?
I am. I actually, returned from Abuja just recently. I went to preach for the Mothering Sunday. I was the preacher of the day and it was exciting. I tell people that I rock on the rock of ages. Serving the Lord is the greatest joy anyone can have. Unfortunately, people tend to say if you are born-again or serving the Lord, you have to look a certain way; you have to look serious and deranged. I don’t believe that. I tell people that my God is a Shakara God. He made beautiful things, Consider the birds; He made beautiful people, so why should you worship Him otherwise. I believe for everyone, there is a time, there’s a purpose, there’s a calling. I have always been active in the church. I don’t go about screaming about my faith. Everybody has that calling, the purpose to impart on people differently and positively. I think at the end of the day, that is what we are on this earth to do. How many souls you won for the kingdom. I have been opportune to preach on different occasions in the church and during revivals.
What is style for you?
Style for me is timeless. Style for me understands your body, understanding what goes for you, what fits you. I keep saying not what’s in vogue, not what’s trending. Always watch your body frame and knows what flatters you the most. My style is simple.
What has life taught you as a person?
As a person, life has taught me to be very patient, tolerant, and not to be taken seriously. We were created to enjoy life. We were made to appreciate life; live it, not just exist. We were also made to help others yet to find their paths. Life is actually beautiful; it’s just we human that complicate it. I have learnt that patience and perseverance is the key to any business, whatever you want to do in life., you need to believe in yourself most especially.
You have just returned from the UK for your daughter’s graduation, how did you feel as a mother?
It was awesome. Thinking that she’s finally graduated especially in this time of 500 naira to 1 pound. She did her A levels at Charter House in the UK. Then her university degree at DURHAM University. She studied Sociology. She does painting and photography too. She’s about to start her Masters. I thank God. It was wonderful. I’m so proud of her before she graduated she showed me a clip of herself on BBC. She had to defend her dissertation and that made me happy. I’m so proud of her.
Any hope of remarrying?
I don’t know. I never thought about it but funny enough, between me and my ex husband….lets not talk on that.
Is he coming back?
(Speaks Ibo, )Apu iheahu (forget about that)
Does your daughter have flair for fashion too?
She does. She has her own style too. I tell her that she should be a stylist. She’s very good at putting pieces together and she went into vintage shopping recently. Sometimes she even jazz at me that as a designer, I don’t even know how to style and I would reply her that I’m not supposed to know everything.
What makes your outfit stands out?
Zizi brand is the kind of clothes you wear to a show and you won’t need introduction. These are the kind of things we want to be associated with.