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MY FIVE SISTERS ARE MY DESIGN 'GUINEA PIGS'--ADEGBE, MODELA BOSS

By NBF News

Through his brand, Modela, Bayo Adegbe, has garnered international recognition as a fashion designer though he started as a model. He is known for his creativity and innovative collections. He is also a make-up artist who runs one of the oldest modeling agencies in the country.

Who talked you into fashion designing?
I didn't choose to be a fashion designer; rather fashion designing chose me. I used to be an in-house model for Odua Originals/Deola Sagoe, Dakova, Samselly fashion, Finicky Stitches and Nobel Afrik. What happened was that my friend was working with Nigeria's best and most creative designers at the time. This paved the way for my indirect internship.

After a one-year part time course with Nobel Afrik, I started sewing but not as a business but making my own outfits and for my friends and family. Then I registered Modela Agency in 1993, but in 2004, I registered Modela Couture after winning NFS Best Designer 2004 on my first attempt. It was a bet that made me take part in the competition and, by God's grace, won. I thought that was the end until the media blitz made me see the reality that I had to continue. Today, God made me a designer and whatever I created wowed everyone at events and fashion shows.

Were there designers or tailors in your family?
I have five delectable and stylish sisters, but each one has her style. It is a big challenge to please each of them, because each one wants to wear the best but with very little resources available. So as the eldest and concerned type, I have to manage to make something creative from what is available. Our Christmas outfits always look beautiful and satisfactory to them all.

My mother and I shop for the fabrics but I sketch the designs and consult and direct the tailors who sew them. I learnt make-up, styling and making my sisters' hair and their friends'. My mum never liked it but later had to accept it. It looked like child's play then but now it has become business. The only thing I remember very well is that I always felt happy making people look better and happier with their look.

What have been your challenges?
My biggest challenge is creating outstanding designs that tailors find difficult to sew. Then, you have the issue of funds to continuously keep creating superlative designs. I heard another senior designer say something like 'will he be able to continue this crazy collection'. What they don't know avant garde that I enjoy making superlative avant garde creations. You should have seen the excitement on the faces of the audience in Paris when they saw each piece on the runway; I got standing ovations and that makes my day as a creative artist - not the money. The money will come later.