Keep looking good, Mrs Folorunsho Alakija tells women
Mrs. Folorunsho Alakija is one of the top class fashion designers in Nigeria. Her name rings bell in the industry because she is not just one of those in the forefront of the Nigerian fashion industry but was once the National President of the association. Her dress sense compliments her profession in such a way that you cannot catch her unawares when it comes to fashion.
Mrs. Alakija attracts attention at every occasion by her gorgeous dressing. She spoke about her secret of looking good at her age, her sense of style and fashion generally. She also advised women to keep on looking good anywhere, any day.
Secret of beauty
Sincerely speaking, there is no secret to my ageless beauty. It is just by the grace of God and I give Him the glory. I massage twice a week and I started it about one and half years ago. I started exercising just about three months ago, so it is not by my power but by the special grace of God.
Idea of style
Style is whatever you make to be your personal style, whether it is clothing, make-up or your interaction with people. There is style in everything that we do. You just have to determine how you want to do it.
My own style is to look beautiful at all times. I like to have beautiful people and things around me at all times.
How best she likes to dress
I like to dress the best I can be at any given point in time, even up to my 90s. It has to be exquisite.
Nigerian fashion industry in the last few years
One major difference in the industry in the last few years is that designers can now charge a lot more than we used to charge when we first started. This is as a result of inflation. The industry has become more lucrative definitely and the challenges have also increased because the Nigerian fashion industry is beginning to get recognition, not only in Nigeria but also in other parts of the world. But we still need to do much more work to take it to the core fashion cities and locations where it is supposed to be seen. Nigerian fashion is supposed to be in departmental stores abroad. The Nigerian fashion is also supposed to be seen not only in major fashion cities, but also in major fashion shows abroad. And I give God the glory for what many have been doing to take the Nigerian fashion industry to the next level. I cannot say this without giving kudos to Legendary Gold for their doggedness, because it is through Legendary Gold that Nigeria has been given recognition. Few weeks ago in Abuja, the World Fashion Week, Nigeria sector, was inaugurated and I happen to be one of the trustees. So, in 2010, Nigeria will be one of the countries that will take part in the World Fashion Week in New York. So, much is being done and much is yet to be done. There are many places that Nigerian fashion should be and we will get there.
Problems of the industry
One of the major problems of the industry is cost of production. There is no steady power supply and as a result you spend huge amount buying diesel to run generators. Another challenge is the Nigerian mentality where everybody wants to be the boss. What happens abroad is that if you are a tailor you specialize in that. But in Nigeria, when you are a tailor you call yourself a fashion designer. So, it is difficult for a fashion designer to get tailors because every tailor wants to be a fashion designer, or believes he is a designer. Whereas, what they do is just to copy from fashion magazines, and some of them even make a mess of the designs. Another problem is that top class equipment are not fully in use in this country because they are expensive. The kind of equipment that are labour saving devices are expensive and very few designers can afford them.
Nigerian women and fashion
Nigerian women are extremely fashion conscious, men too are very fashionable. Almost every single human being in Nigeria is a fashion lover. God just created us like that and we can't help it.
Advice to women
My advice to women is that they should keep on looking good. They are doing a fantastic job. They should coordinate their clothing and colours well and wear the right outfit to the right occasion. They should keep getting noticed, not just locally, but everywhere they go abroad and I believe that anytime we do that they will continue to get compliments.