London based Nigerian designer- Emmy Collins has decided put his money where his mouth is. His idea is to help some upcoming, but very talented and creative designer to fulfill their dreams. Many just have the God given talents, but don't know how to go about turning the talent into a profitable venture. With this upcoming workshop, it's a way the industry's veteran, hopes to help the up-comers, learn how do the right things and put the proper structures together.
I am excited with the number of young, budding and aspiring designers who have signified their interest in the upcoming workshop on fashion, where everything, including branding, product placement, seasons, business of fashion, manufacturing (a key factor in design and fashion), fabrics, who the buyers are, low end/top end of fashion, business plan, short and long term projections and so on would be disc. As a matter of fact, I will endeavour to touch on all the nitty gritty of fashion; the very glamorous and not so glamorous aspects of it and will also answer questions from participants. I clearly understand that one seminar is certainly not enough to cover all these aspects of fashion. However, I hope that this will serve as a launch pad to organising a monthly or bi-monthly workshop where Nigerians, with genuine knowledge and passion, will be invited to lecture participants on selected segments of fashion.
To those budding talented individuals who are saying to themselves, “Oh,I have the skill and the passion but not the funding“, I say to you please do not fret. With time the funding issue would be sorted out. Fashion should not be elitist so everyone with a natural aptitude for fashion deserves a shot. I believe Nigeria has the money to invest in all its great skilled individuals, or else I wouldn’t bother putting even a kobo of mine in this economy. All it takes is to have individuals who genuinely believe in fashion, and also have the necessary contacts, to approach corporate bodies and banks to present the case for talent sponsorship quite robustly. My reason for believing strongly that the funding is available is not far-fetched. Josh Samuel recently won a cash award of N4,000,000 (which is roughly about 16,000 pounds) at the recently concluded MTN Lagos Fashion and Design week. If a corporate body as big as MTN could put up such an amount of money, who can argue they cannot double it if they are convinced their money will be put to good use? One can rightly argue that the money is theirs but those of us in the fashion industry need to get our acts together in order to build trust and access these funds. With proper organisation, the fashion industry should, and could, access funding from the government via the Ministry of Youths and Culture.
I must say that manufacturing and quality of workmanship will occupy a prominent place on the agenda at this workshop because I often hear about designing, but not a lot about manufacturing. What is the dividend in designing garments that can’t be made or are made cheaply? There are a few standard tricks needed to ensure a garment is tailored properly, such as swapping from over-lock to French seams whenever necessary, or boxing in lining so it does not poke out from underneath the skirt, or dress, through the vent (which is the slit at the back of some skirts, dresses and blazers). These are some of the important things I would like us to get to at some point during the workshop.
Hopefully, some well meaning stakeholders will extend support for this workshop. I do not know it all but I believe there is something I can give and most of these, besides my talent, I got free of charge from a mentor, Mr David Jones, who believed in my talent right from the onset. It never cost me a cent to gain such knowledge from him and so I am never going to charge for imparting the same to others. It is only fair that I give back free of charge what I also got free of charge.
Also, I will come along with some of my pieces and as well recommend that the participants come with any pieces they have designed so we all can analyse the quality and highlight areas of needed improvement. One can always improve on one’s current achievements, which is why I would be bringing my pieces, and I will be glad to listen to anyone who thinks I need to improve on the quality of workmanship.
The workshop is absolutely free and refreshment has been arranged for 20 participants. While I am brainstorming on moving venue, as I believe the present location may not be adequate considering the number of interested participants I have received, the venue will definitely be on the Island but hopefully venues will be rotated between the Mainland and Island in the future.
The prerequisite to register is TALENT AND PASSION. I can’t teach those, you have to have them.
If you believe there is any sort of knowledge or experience you possess that these upcoming designers will benefit from, do not hesitate to message or tweet at me @emmycollins or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. This is about giving something, irrespective of how big or small it might be, to our country. Nigeria cannot afford to let its stars of tomorrow continue to grope in the dark for answers they could easily obtain from workshops such as this.
LET'S TALK FASHION, NIGERIA