Fashion in Nigeria is constantly evolving and part of the newer generation eager to make a name in the industry is Damilola Oke, aka MsModish. She recalls drawing inspiration from her mother who piqued her interest in fashion at a young age. She explains, “I remember her big hair, red lipstick and high heels.” My dad was also always clad in his plaid 3-piece suits, fancy shirts and coloured pants with Italian shoes, a very well groomed afro and tasteful jewellery. Fashion really has always been a way of life, I have known no other.”
Msmodish is a Master’s degree holder in Corporate Communications and Public Affairs from Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen Scotland, and has a Diploma in Radio Presenting & Production from the London School of Film & TV.
She later moved back to Nigeria and decided to chase her dreams as a style consultant. She explains, “I started from nothing, no contacts, no celebrity friends, nothing. I took up different TV production, editorial and personal styling jobs at every opportunity I could get and one successful job got the next one and so on.”
Guardian Life caught up with the stylist as she talks about building her brand, future plans and gives us a few tips on finding trendy clothes.
How did you start building your brand and identity in the industry?
It’s a conscious, daily and on-going process that I doubt will ever end. I started from nothing, no contacts, and no celebrity friends. I took up different TV production, editorial and personal styling jobs at every opportunity I could get and one successful job got the next one and so on.
My identity is being shaped by the jobs we do. I am known for alternative fierce and unusual menswear and personal style, of which I never forget to carry along in my journey as a style consultant every day.
Give us a slight break down of your creative process?
The creative process starts with a meeting or clients brief. After this an in-house brainstorming session plus ideation and strategy is agreed upon. The pieces are sourced and looks put together, from head to toe. As easy as it seems, it is a lot of work. The creative process is laborious in that every time, your work is expected to be new and that comes with a lot of pressure.
Do your life experiences or background have anything to do with your work?
Oh sure! Fashion is a lifestyle; it’s a reflection of life so daily experiences add up to the job. It’s however important not to let that swallow your art for then it becomes literal and void of any true inspiration.
Who are your top designers at the moment?
It’s hard to choose from a plethora of talents around the world right now but I would say Balmain is an all-time favourite for its attention to detail, structure and exceptional designs. I love everything DKNY is doing at the moment. For menswear brands I like Press Play clothing and Dsquared2 to name a few, as they inspire me.
Give us some tips on finding clothes?
My policy has always been you can find clothes anywhere. To avoid impulse or continuous buying without actually having the clothes you need, take time to find and define your style, discover what you feel comfortable in.
I love it when there’s fabric and fluidity. I mean sometimes it’s good to show off a good body especially when you work hard for it.
Tell us about any exciting project you have planned for the year
For Fierce and Modish the major focus this year is expansion. We will be five next year, it’s important for me that at this stage we build the capacity to do more in terms of delivery. We have kicked off this goal with training and development as our very first event tagged The Art & Business of Styling which will hold on the 6th May, 2017 at the Whitespace Creative Agency.
This expansion will be unveiled in different stages throughout this year and the next, leading up to our fifth anniversary in 2018, God willing!
Fashion really has always been a way of life, I have known no other.