One must always deliver to win trust of clients— Daniel

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Opusunju Daniel is the Creative Director of Jahada, a fashion brand. He speaks to TOLUWALOPE KAREEM about his business

How would you describe your brand?

It is innovative, progressive and revolutionary. We aim to redefine fashion in Nigeria and Africa. It is an afro-centric and avant-garde fashion label that delivers premium men’s haute couture outfits, designs and collections.

How did you start the company?

It began in 2012 as I was completing the National Youth Service Corps scheme. I could not travel home for a particular break, so I decided to stay back and learn a new skill, which ended up being sewing. Upon completing NYSC, I moved to Lagos but it was tough getting a job. I brushed up my sewing skills and the rest is history.

What do you envisage as the future for fashion designing in Africa?

The western world has dominated fashion for a long time but Africa is poised to take center stage. Our culture is diverse and our heritage is beautiful. We are gradually spreading to every corner of the world with our creativity, and in no time, we would be influencing the global fashion landscape.

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What are the challenges that fashion designers face in Nigeria?

A lack of economic infrastructure is a major challenge that impacts every other sector, including finance, transportation, energy, health, education, technology, and security. The environment is not conducive for building a business.

Also, managing fickle artisans is a fashion designer’s nightmare. Some of them are skilled but are unable to work in a structured environment, which leads to operational problems and delayed deliveries. Some could decide not to show up at work without prior notice, and that would leave one shorthanded.

Do you think the Nigerian fashion industry is competing globally?

Several Nigerian designers have been featured on the global stage, so I believe we are competing to the very best of our capacity. However, rather than say compete, I would prefer to say we are ‘owning our own lane’ and pushing forward with the best creative and innovative angles. I believe the timing is right because African designers are infusing the global fashion landscape with fresh and vibrant ideas.

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What mistakes do you think fashion designers should avoid to remain relevant in the industry?

That would be agreeing to do a job and not delivering on it, and not providing good customer service. One must always deliver to win the trust of customers.

Some people feel men are the best when it comes to styling women. Do you agree?

Both male and female designers bring different perspectives; therefore, there would be a different outcome to each design. I would not say that one is better than the other.

What is your educational background?

I have a Postgraduate Diploma in Management from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Osun State, and a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta.

What makes you different from other fashion designers out there?

I design quality bespoke tailored outfits and ready-to-wear apparels.

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The label also creates impeccably crafted and tailored pieces to meet the demands of men out there.

How long have you been in business?

We have been in business for seven years. We started with bespoke but have since moved into styling and ready-to-wear clothing.

What do you regard as the highlights of the business so far?

The brand has partnered with international textile companies such as Woodin and Vlisco. We have also consistently created fashion pieces for top celebrities.

We keep striving to maintain a top-tier​ ​position with our African artistry and design.

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