Saturday, 6 April 2013

You can’t catch me in a bikini – Sartorial Yeni boss, Bunmi Ajayi

Bunmi Ajayi
Abuja-based fashion designer, Bunmi Ajayi, talks fashion with Juliet Bumah

Why did you leave banking for the fashion industry? Did you train as a fashion designer?
I did not train as a fashion designer. Fashion has always been in me and I have always had flair for fashion. Also, friends and family have always commended my fashion sense and colour combination and it has always been my dream to go into fashion designing. So, here I am.
So, what did you study?
I have a B.Tech in Computer Science from Ladoke Akintola University, Ogbomosho, Oyo State.
Where do you draw inspiration from while creating your designs?
I get my inspiration mostly from nature. The things I see, the things around me, in fact all the things and people I come in contact with all inspire me when creating my designs.

At times, the inspiration is not just there. What do you do when this happens?
Whenever it happens, I ask questions from people around me, especially my staff, because I do not cut my staff off. I believe their opinions also count. In this sense, they also inspire me and I appreciate them a lot. Also, at some point, I give myself a little break.
What are the steps you take when making an outfit for a particular client?
First, I ask questions like how the client wants to look, the occasion she wants to attend, etc so as to get a proper design out for her. With the client’s preferences, I design a proper style for her shape and with the proper colours for her complexion. I always have that in mind when designing any outfit for a client. Sometimes, I come across some clients that are not so sure of what will make them look good. But when they give me the opportunity to choose for them and advice on how to combine their outfit, I give them the best.
How do you relate with the material you work with?
Hmmm… My relationship with the materials I work with… I must say it’s very interesting because there are lots of things you can do with fabrics especially our African prints. The colours, the patterns, the textures all make you love working with them. I have been able to understand the materials I work with and I can never get tired of working with them. Again, working with a material also depends on the client I’m working for, meaning, even if I’m in love with the material, if they don’t like the material, I can’t force it on them. But, if I have my way, I will convince them and at the end of the day, they will like the outcome.
Who are your big clients in Abuja?
Lolzzz… in Sartorial’Yeni, no client is a small client; all our clients are ‘big clients’. We appreciate all our customers a lot.
Do you have clients from other states?
Yes! I have a lot of clients in and out of Abuja even outside Nigeria. It’s so amazing when you get a call from people you have not met or seen before to design and sew for them just because they saw your designs or work on a relation, friend, or anybody. It makes me remember the saying that, ‘Your work speaks for you’.
What’s glamour to you?
Glamour interests me as a designer because in fashion these days, glamour is the in-thing. Everyone wants to have this ‘Wow’ look all the time. And being a designer, people always expect more from you and they will always expect you to come out dazzling, but in the midst of it all, I still keep it simple.
When was your happiest fashion moment?
It was the first fashion show I participated in. It was as if it was not going to end. First, I was jittery because that was the first time my designs went public. My designs gave me courage and at the end, the applause and comments I got from people made me walk tall. I was so proud and loved myself the more.
What will you consider a strange article of clothing in your closet?
Going by my kind of person, a bikini is the strangest article of clothing you can find in my closet. Lolzzz… Me bikini? Where am I going to wear it? My head or my leg? Hahahaha.
What are you passionate about?
Am so passionate about my God and making heaven, and then work follows. I don’t joke with my work because I have not got to where I want to be in the industry.
Do you especially treasure the people you are close to because it is difficult for you to meet new people?
I’m not an introvert. I meet a lot of people. Therefore, I treasure the people am close to, not because it is difficult to meet new people, but because they are all unique and irreplaceable.
How was growing up?
I grew up in Osogbo, Osun State and growing up was fun-filled. Although, I had ‘issues’ with my parents – which was natural with our generation while growing up – but thanks to them, I am who I am today because of the support they gave me. God bless them a great deal. Growing up, I had grown siblings and a full house; it was fun.


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