Designer Adeyinka Jonah, spoke with Temitope David-Adegboye, on how she came into the fashion business and what inspires her works. She also advised celebrities on how to dress for the red carpet.
Did you really want to become a fashion designer or was it just by accident?
It did not happen by accident. My mother was a tailor all her life. I grew up knowing the job. I grew up being a very stylish person and I decided to go into designing.
Do you have any formal training?
Yes. I was trained at Nikky Africana, Ikeja. I also did other programmes abroad, I did a one-week programme in London College of Fashion.
How do you determine a stylish person?
Being stylish is not all about wearing expensive clothes. It is knowing how to place the right things in the right places. It involves knowing how to wear the right colours at the right time and mixing the right colours together and putting them properly. That is being stylish.
What inspires your kind of designs?
The number one thing that determines my design is what my clients want. Something might be in vogue, but the clients may not like it. I could add some professional touches to what the client wants. That is where a designer comes in. The fabric is also very important. You can’t use a lace for what you should use chiffon for. When you see the fabric, then you know what suits the fabric.
Which fabrics do you like working with?
I like Ankara a lot because it is very flexible and lovely. I like lace too because it is glamorous. Anywhere you put it, it comes out well. I like both of them in their own unique way. What I want to design determines the fabric.
How did you come about the name Imol and how long has it been around?
Imol Designs. is five years old and it is named aafter my daughter. It is the short form of my daughter’s name – Imoleayo. Some people pronounce it the way they see it, but it is a Yoruba name.
You rarely showcase your designs. Are you planning to host your own show?
I have been to quite a number of shows. I just did one with Encomium Magazine. I’ve just been invited to that of City People too. As to hosting my own show, yes I will. For every designer, to have hisher own shows is always in our agenda.
When should we be expecting the show?
I have not fixed a date yet but I am seriously working towards having my own show.
When are we likely to see Imol in big stores on the streets of London?
Of course, that is the dream of every designer. Already, we have customers that come into the country, order one or two things from us. And they travel abroad with them.
How much did it cost to start designing business?
I may not be able to tell you the exact amount I started with but what I can remember is that I ensured we started with industrial machines because I was running a boutique before then and I had already planned how I would start. It is not something I just jumped into.
So, how many people did you start with?
I started with five people, but now we have grown. We have always been big, but now I can say we have stepped higher.
What are the challenges you face as a designer?
I have noticed that people want to work too much with trend even if it does not suit them; you find out that, especially among women. Somebody with size 20 would want to wear what someone of size 10 would wear comfortably. You could adjust it to fit the person’s shape, but since they just want it to be size 10 it becomes challenging.
In that case what do you do?
I try to advise them. I tell them they can’t wear it that way, but we can adjust it such that the person would fit into it.
What are the fashion mistakes you have noticed on the red carpet as we have in Nigeria?
I think the wrong thing in fashion on red carpet has a lot to do with people’s personality. Some of our celebrities are stylish, while some are not on the red carper. Our celebrities need to seek advice from style consultants or designers to help them determine what is right and wrong on the red carpet. Some of them don’t even know that they could make use of a style consultant to help them out on what to wear and what not to. A designer can also do the job of a style consultant. He or she can offer some advice on what to wear at a particular occasion so that you will not go out looking odd or awkward. As designers, we are trained to be able to know a lot about colours and where they fit in.
What determines what you wear?
What I wear depends on the occasion and I try to be as comfortable as I can. I also look out for the right colours to wear at occasion and I make sure they fit well before stepping out of the house.
Are you a jewelry freak?
I like jewelry, but I don’t love jewelry.
Which ones do you wear?
It depends. I wear any one that comes my way, but I don’t wear costumes because it is not all costumes that go well with my skin.
You face is spotless and smooth. How do you maintain it?
I make sure that it is very clean. Not just washing with soap, I use a cleanser to ensure that all the dirts are off.
What is your view on bleaching?
I believe when people are doing something and discover its side effect(s), you should stop when it is still early. Some people bleach or tone as it’s called here and they don’t overdo it. You see that it comes out well and it does not affect their skin. I have seen people of age 60 and above, who have been using toning cream and they turn out glamorous. You just have to know when to stop, especially when something is not good on your skin.