THE THINGS I STITCH FOR BEAUTY QUEENS --MAI ATAFO
About four years ago, when Ohimai Atafo got tired of 'brewing' beer at Guinness Nigeria Plc, he decided to let his creative juice flow into other areas. So he started out as a designer, quickly attained success in it. This opened new doors in entertainment consultancy, and today he moderates events as a compere. Without a doubt, he has has carved a niche for himself in the Nigeria fashion business circle. His brand name, Mai Atafo Inspired, is widely regarded by glitterati for who he has done stuff. Excerpts…
How did you become a designer?
It all began after I resigned from my job in Guinness Nigeria Plc. I started out by designing more of male clothes with a little bit of female wear. But over time, I started designing a lot more female wear because I was clothing Omowummi Akinnifesi and it was business wise. I also clothed people for a few awards like the Sound City Music Video Awards, Hip Hop Awards, and then I launched my wedding line a few months ago with Uti Nwachukwu and Munachi Abii.
What's your inspiration?
The fact that I want to make more money is my number one driving force and inspiration. But aside from that, I design functional clothing so everything around me inspires me, sometimes it could be just the shape of a woman's body. It could also be an outfit that someone else designed, it could be light or travel, it could be anything and everything.
As a designer, what are your major challenges?
The industry is small but has a lot of potentials so nobody is willing to invest in it, sourcing good fabrics and materials to work with is sometimes so difficult that one has to go overseas to get what's needed. Lack of power supply, loan from banks, human resources, getting good tailors and many other challenges that most industries in Nigeria face.
What makes you distinct from other designers?
I would believe it's my use of colours for my male collection and edgy female collection.
You have a unique dress sense. What influences this?
Everyone is unique and my uniqueness is expressed in my dress sense. So I influence myself.
For individuals who desire to be stylish, but do not have a lot of money, what advice can you offer such people?
My advice is simple: focus on getting the right fit for your body and combine your clothes in the most interesting way.