By Vivian Onyebukwa
Rhoda Michaels is the CEO and Creative Director of Rhoda Michaels Fashion Institute, Lagos. She holds a degree in Biochemistry and Nutrition from the University of Lagos. She also possesses a Post Graduate Diploma in Marketing from the University of Liverpool, United Kingdom. Michaels is a certified business consultant and content marketer. She has been in the fashion industry for over a decade.
In this interview, she revealed her journey into world of fashion business. She also spoke about fashion generally.
How did you find yourself in the fashion business?
The school started with me not finding good hands to do my work. I used to be a designer. So I trained people to work for me, but when I started, I enrolled in business to get the business knowledge of what I am doing- teaching young entrepreneurs to create wealth, the business part of fashion.
Some say that fashion design is for school dropouts. What can you say about this?
Fashion is a science. It’s mathematics. You can’t be here if you don’t know Maths. We teach pattern drawing which is similar to technical drawing. If you are not intelligent, you can’t cope with it.
Do you still design clothes?
No. Now I am all about building lives, making sure that there are a lot of people coming behind me. And if you want to be a leader, you cannot be sharing the same space with people you trained. So let them shine. Wherever they go in life, I go with them. If you are successful, it is automatic success for me. So, right now, I am just all about making sure that my students grow the right way, not competing with them on any scale.
Where do you see Nigerian fashion industry in the next five years?
Nigerian fashion industry has evolved tremendously. Gone are the days when you saw older designers. Now, you see young and intelligent designers everywhere. I see our designers competing on the world stage. They will excel because they have been properly trained. In the next five years, I see us competing heavily in the global world.
Looking at the present situation of the Nigeria economy, do you think fashion business can survive to a large extent?
The good thing about fashion and the Nigerian economy is that our fashion is to a large extent obtainable. We have a lot of bespoke sowing in Nigeria. As an industry, it is one that is just opening up. Young people now, especially, are integrated in it because they now see that the Nigerian customer is one of the best globally. You treat them well, they keep coming back. Nigerian customer want a very unique thing. So I am saying that we are truly going to rule the world.
How do you handle the challenges of the industry?
The challenges are what they are. Irrespective of whatever challenge, being it environmental, economical, and so on, your job is to study the challenges, but that can’t hinder our success. So in the midst of that, we create opportunities.
It is alleged that Nigerian women are the most fashionable in the world. Do you agree?
Yes. I truly agree. Nigerian women are the most fashionable in the whole world. I am a Yoruba woman. We are very fashionable.