Clothing Nollywood stars brought me fortunes —Paul Purple

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In today's world where young men are craving for white collar jobs, running from pillar to post to make a reasonable living our guest today believes otherwise. Early in life he had decided he would be his own boss and he is presently living his dreams as of Nigerian's fastest growing designer. In a short while of setting up his outfit, Paul Purple Couture, he has clothed the upwardly mobile, especially top actors in Nigeria's Nollywood. He spoke to ; VICTOR AZUKA MORDY in this interview. Excerpts

What informed your decision to go into fashion designing as against other conventional professions?
I was a teenager when I had my first exposure to the world of fashion ,a couple of years ago, It all started when I met Barr Phillips Shodeinde in Western House on Lagos Island, he was excellently dressed. I loved the shirt he wore on that day so I approached him to commend him and asked where he bought the shirt. He smiled and confessed that he didn't buy the shirt that it was custom made for him. I thought it was a cool idea, I took down his number.

Two weeks later Barr Phillips took me to his designer and I had two shirts made to my size. Prior to then getting a shirt that fits to my frame was a challenge, I was happy to receive the shirts. The idea that you could have a custom made shirt floored me. I was excited by the experience. I guess that marked the beginning of my journey toward the world of fashion.

It is more interesting now as indigenous designers are being recognized the world over and you should be aware of collaboration with other designers especially those from France and other West African countries.

Why the preference for menswear and custom built wears.
For a long time designers did not bother to look in the direction of male sex. The reason is not far fetched, men were then stereotyped and rigid fashion wise, but things have change lately, men are now highly fashion conscious and want to look their best, it is a market that is ripe so in school I made up my mind to take advantage of this emerging market.

Custom built shirts are the best for every fashion focused individuals it is quite affordable and highly reassuring than ready to wear shirts, if you walk into a clothing store to buy shirt 151/2 size shirt, you are taking a gamble with your hard earned money, there are five different cut under 151/2. We have the short, regular, tall, fat and slim fit. .

But custom made shirts are more expensive than ready to wear shirts?
A custom made shirt is usually more expensive than a ready to wear shirt because of the factors I talked about earlier, custom built shirts has value addition that give the customer that excellent tailoring edge.

When are you going to organize a run way show to show case your outfits and designs
I will be staging a fashion show before the end of the year but a joint one with other designers, my major preoccupation now is meeting my orders.

Can you share with us a list of your clientele?
I will share with you some of my corporate clients but I won't talk about my individual clients you have to find those ones all by your self and sought their opinion, however among my corporate clients you have Health Professional Service Group, Sky Media, Mind Fari fair, Q Company and some Nollywood producers as well as actors. Clothing Nollywood stars brought me great fortune and this is my main stay.

Taking a look at your designs they appear elitist
You are highly discerning, my designs are elitist, being that it outclass others, snobbish, being that is offers the unique tailoring edge. It is second to none and I am proud, my designs is for a distinct class; you see, for it to be “Paul Purple” it has to be all of these and more.

What triggers your creativity?
A lot of factors top of which is a client's body posture as well as a finely swooned fabric.

How easy is it for you to get fabrics and accessories?
The ban on the importation of fabrics is no longer a barrier as I send my designs to the United Kingdom via e-mail for tailoring and somehow we still get fabrics from the open market scattered all over the country.

Tell us some of the marketing tools you have engaged in the course of business.
In Paul Purple we rely on interpersonal marketing this is the most credible platform, the use of handbills and posters, we equally have a functional website the next set of tools we will be deploying is run way, fashion shows, fashion fairs and print and electronic media .

On my projection for growth is simple to stay dynamic enough to evolve with every emerging taste and I will soon launch my line of fragrances “the art of sophistication” for men and the “fantasy” for women.

How easy has it been for you to source capital injection?
I made up my mind from the outset to let the business evolve gradually, I am not against financial leverages but the time for that is not now, my focus is one on one interpersonal service and my initial capital outlay is quite enough for this.

Do you also have plans to design for women folk?

Is there any place of Local fabrics in your design?
Yes, but I am working on it for the runway show I earlier talked about especially Ankara designs for men.

What is your piece of advice to upcoming designers?
Please know your craft, carve a niche, know who you want to serve and have a passion for it.