By Christopher Oji
Debby Enemoh is the managing director of an event centre, Grace & Love Event. She has developed a concept that would promote biblical values and principles on dress sense, mainly with a Christian fashion show for Christians in Nigeria.
She spoke to Daily Sun about her project recently.
How did you venture into the event management business?
I had this idea since 2009 but I didn’t start until this year. My concern is to organise Christian events but not a normal, conventional kind of church activity. It was something that I wanted other people from other denominations to participate in. I did not want to make it strictly a church affair even with the values, morals and biblical principles.
I believed that, if I made it a church thing, some people might not participate, but I had to stick to Christian values, and I am not ready to compromise the standard.
That is the idea behind it. I get my inspiration from God; and it has rules, just like every organisation that is governed by rules. Everybody can come and have fun, it is open to them. If it were a church thing, people would feel restricted, some people who worship in other denominations might not attend.
Your establishment is built on Christian principles. What moral values are inherent in the event for women?
These days, a lot of young girls do not dress properly. What you see is indecent dressing, clothes that reveal their body, and this is causing a lot of issues in society. Our moral values, apart from our Christian values, have nose-dived. No more dress sense, moral behaviours and courtesy have been lost. Nigeria is supposed to be a morally upright country, due to our practicing faith. Nigerians are very religious, but today what is trending is misconduct, no more sanity. People no longer practice what they preach.
How do you intend to transform the womenfolk through your programme?
To preach is an assignment, and what you preach sometimes touches people, but at other times it might not. My job is to preach and God touches people’s hearts not me. I know a lot of women would be changed through this event. It is not really easy trying to effect a change, especially when it involves young people who have taken a decision and their mind is made up on the choices they want. That is why I am targeting children and women.
I have a personal experience with God. I have always been a Christian but I didn’t know that there were certain things that God disliked.
I did not understand that one must look attractive at all times. And, you know, men are moved by what they see. I got to know that and it became a learning process for me, until God gave me this idea last October to start a Christian fashion show in Nigeria. At the time it came, I was already doing my master’s programme in event management.
I can’t really say now if people would accept the vision, because it is a new concept entirely.
This is the first event I have organised. I have learnt a lot from this and would improve on other events that I am planning, not just this Christian Fashion Show.
What about some the events you plan to host?
I have a women’s conference coming up later this year. This would address topics on the “Virtuous Woman,” women in business, and how she can package herself as a woman. It would afford us the opportunity to talk about all these in detail.
How do you intend to make women buy into your brand?
When you are good and original, people would accept your vision.
I am not really happy the way young ladies dress now. Although I am not in any position to judge them. Formerly, I wore tight clothes and God spoke to me about it. I had to change my dress code. For me, though I was covering my whole body, the cloths were too tight. I was like, how do I dress? And I started communicating with God. Some people may not even know that their dressing is seductive because of different values. For instance, in the UK, I can dress differently because nobody looks at you twice but in Nigeria, people would ask, what is this person wearing? In the UK you can wear shorts and bra to the beach and nobody would say anything. It is because of their culture. There are cultural differences, and one has to understand that.
It is not right to judge anybody. I have been there before and God questioned me about my dressing. When you judge people, you push them further away. People do not like hearing the truth but if it were someone close to me, like a family member or a friend, I could advise the person on what she is wearing, if it is not modest.
When one dresses indecently, it is capable of leading to certain unpleasant experiences in life. I would advise such people to make amends. Dress the way you want to be addressed. Moreover, some people, because they are Christians, they become too ‘spiritual’ in their dressing. As a Christian, look good and presentable. Take care of yourselve as a woman. The fashion show would teach women how to strike a balance in their fashion life.
However, the programme is going to be a yearly thing and it would involve young men. The way children dress too is of concern to us. Children have to look their age. My three-year-old daughter, for instance, I don’t allow her to wear bum shorts.
I don’t want to imbibe an indecent dress sense in her. You know, if she gets used to it, I cannot stop her; when she grows into a teenager, it becomes difficult for her because she has been wearing it since she was a child.
Gradually we will bring in men’s fashion and other things so that it won’t be boring. I have also approached some men’s designers to come and showcase their clothes but they were not able to meet up. That is why we do not have males yet. It was not meant to be only females but an all-encompassing event. What really made this event a Christian one is the atmosphere, the kind of music that was played.
What exactly is the unique selling point?
My unique selling point is basically the fact that the event is bringing all churches together. I don’t personally like it when people ask what church you attend. People have a perception of RCCG, Winners and Mountain of Fire. So, this is a place where everybody can just come together and have fun. Here, everybody is free to attend, it is not about denominations. There is no barrier here. It is also an avenue for evangelism. We are also putting up structures so that people can be employed based on how good they are. We want to create a platform where people can serve God in a comfortable environment. Everyone is free to go back to his usual church on Sunday. We do our events on Friday and Saturday so that people can go to their individual churches on Sunday.
Since charity begins at home, I would advise parents to raise their children right, in a godly way. It is from good home training that everything starts. Like I said earlier, if I allow my daughter to start wearing bum shorts, I cannot stop her later after she gets used to it. Back then, when you did something wrong, it did not need to be your parents but anybody there would discipline you; but now, some mothers would go and fight anyone who beats her child for doing wrong. We are gradually losing our values and hence the need to remind them.
In the recent past, we have witnessed a rise in the number of rape cases because of our failing values. We are trying to be westernised but it is not really our thing to be that way. We are trying to pick up something but it is not really blending. I think it is more of really getting a clear picture of it. If you ask God what He thinks about your dressing, which I believe many people would not like to ask, there is this thing that when one is going to work everyone knows because of the particular way one dresses. As a Christian, there has to be a particular way one dresses as well so that you don’t announce yourself as a Christian. You don’t have to start a fight to let people know you are a Christian, you don’t need to explain, let your dressing and character speak for you. If you are putting on a suite everyone knows that you are going to work. Your dress would definitely tell people where you are going.
Some people are going to fashion schools but I don’t think fashion should be taken as a full-time subject, it should be taught at forums like workshops, seminars and in schools to help students have a better sense of it.
For me, I like to work with children because the youth have already made up their mind so I think we really need to understand them. There is a way you can talk to people individually. Many people, because of low self-esteem, feel if they do not expose their bodies nobody would be attracted to them. So you may actually have to talk to people individually to find out why they are doing what they are doing. It is more about having an individual relationship with them.