Lola Adewole, Creative Director, Fashion For Life (FFL), believes that there is always an emotional connection to what people wear daily, no matter how simple it appears.
For this innovative woman whose designs launch her clients to a universe of no worries, her focus is designing elegant, distinctive yet practical clothing, combining unique concepts, quality and value, to create a confident and sophisticated woman or man.
Lola told Daily Sun that she not only sees herself as a successful designer but also an individual making changes in the industry to promote the concept of Designing with a difference.
As the Creative Director of Fashion for life, what are your plans?
We plan to increase the number of outlets we have in West Africa. Last year, we launched another sub unit of FFL- The African Home Decor Unit. Our plan is to grow the African Home Decor unit into a cash cow.
Also, we aim to widen our international market, by providing greater accessibility for our International clientele via our website. Our international clients can place orders on line and get their goods delivered to them. In general, we plan maintain our growth as a respectable recognized fashion/lifestyle outfit.
Who are your target clients?
My target clients can be described as Men and Women who are not afraid to experiment with their individual vision, and those who like to attract attention. I call them the man or woman of ambience as the case may be.
They are individuals who know what they want and look for ways to get it. And since our appearance is a way of self-expression, that kind of individual shows off their character through different and fashionable piece of clothing. The ideal FFL client thrives on new experience, embraces different cultures & lifestyles and actively seeks exhilarating life experiences.
What excites you about a woman’s style?
The fact that a woman could have a million and one different looks is so exciting to me. A woman can wear a different persona each day if she likes. She is capable of creating several different looks, depending on the way she chooses to be styled and made up. The versatility of a woman’s style really excites me.
If you have to style a woman, what would you consider first?
I will get to know her first, engage her in a conversation, solely to know her better, her style, her comfort, how much risk she is willing to take and certainly to make her comfortable and confident in me styling her. I am unable to style a woman inconsiderately. In my opinion, fashion and style is emotional, it is in fact an object of individual desire and only a woman knows what she desires by yearning for a particular outfit.
When we dress up everyday; we are simply exercising our freedom of expression. Most times, we try to express the way we feel, even without realizing this. There is always an emotional connection to what we wear daily, no matter how simple. Hence, to style a woman, I need to know how she wants to feel about herself in that outfit.
A woman most probably, would want to feel sensual, she may be concerned about how her body moves in an outfit, the feel of the fabric on her skin, how it improves her confidence and most of all the impression she desires to create while adorning an outfit. I think it is a basic rule for one to know their customer before engaging further in attempt to satisfy a customer.
How would you describe the Nigerian fashion industry as it is today?
The fashion industry in Nigeria is yet to reach its full potential, there is still a vast array of opportunities for designers to emerge and define their individual styles and overall expressions of fashion. In addition to designers, the industry is comprised of pattern cutters, machinists, vendors, retailers and several other key players who facilitate the delivery of the finished product to the customer.
In my opinion, these are the people whose skills need to be polished in order to fully support the designers and the industry in general. The creativity and innovation of Artisans in the Nigerian Fashion Industry is in no doubt in the fore front of global competition, the focus should then shift to the production of good quality garments.
In a fast growing industry like the Nigerian fashion industry, quality and detail consciousness can sometimes be sacrificed. It is important we remind ourselves that without quality and price control measures put in place and adhered to, the current global spot light may just fade away. It is the same situation in every industry. Quality controls and measures have to be put in place for the growth of the industry.
I hope that we in the fashion industry will find a way to use our current success as a tool to help make changes and affect the way industry professionals work with one another and their communities. The fashion industry in Nigeria is a potential gold mine; it has the ability to make a huge impact if guided in the right direction.
When did your journey in the fashion world begin?
Fashion has been the love of my life since I was a child. My need to contribute my quota and share my creativity with the world through my devotion, efforts, and determination led to the creation of Fashion For Life (FFL) in 2006.
What are your challenges?
The first and most glaring challenge is the unavailability of comprehensive resource, to make outfits with high quality and standards as mine within reasonable budget in order not to produce very expensive pieces for clients.
One often needs to source for resources abroad, even sometimes, human resource. Sometimes, the high cost of producing high quality clothes is often passed to the clients. The other challenge would be a demanding schedule.
As the Head designer, I am responsible for sketching, testing of fabric samples, identifying a target consumer base and determining price. Even when you delegate, you are completely responsible and will have to follow through from the conception of the design to the end of the production line and sometimes even the sale and after customer service.
One is also required to do a lot of research and designing to recreate fashion from different eras and also evolve fashion while staying within budget.
How would you describe your designs?
Clean, opulent and classy with attention to detail. By wearing my designs, one will often feel like they belong to a universe with no worries.
What matters to you most as a fashion designer?
The most important elements to me as a fashion designer is to think outside of box, to be creative, innovative and come up with new designs that will be appreciated by my clients. I am always focused on designing elegant, distinctive yet practical clothing, combining unique concepts, quality and value, to accompany a confident and sophisticated woman or man.
How would you define your personal style?
I love to look good, and the appreciation of fashion, as a vehicle of character has a perennial appeal to me. There are two things a person must do to achieve a truly personal style, wear what looks great on you and wear only what you love. Those two elements contribute to producing a signature wardrobe that will give you years of wear.
To wear what looks great on you means you need to know your body, and learn what types of clothes look good on that type of body. It also means to see yourself properly. Don’t be in denial about weight gain or loss, embrace the present you, and dress that beautiful body, as it is. Wearing only what you love will add passion to your wardrobe.
My personal style exemplifies glamour, beauty, romance, style, femininity, and comfort and is homage to the eternal Goddess that resides in me. My mantra is elegance, class, and beauty.
What are some of your fashion goals?
I have big goals and I always see myself accomplishing all of them.
I’m very confident of my ability not because I’m the best at anything but because I am extremely self motivated and determined and won’t stop until I reach my goal and happy with my success.
I see myself not only being a successful designer but also making changes and movements in the industry to promote the concept of Designing with a difference. I hope to be a big part of the expansion of the Nigerian/ African fashion industry and help put it on the map as a fashion capital.
What fires your imagination?
Arts, craft, people, experience, and vintage fashion all inspire me. With an artist’s eye, I notice beauty in so many ways; and would interpret my thoughts using fabric. I could get inspired by something I see at an Art centre, the colours of spring, visiting a museum or traveling to a new and exotic country, each facet is diverse and inspiring.
I’m also a huge fan of the true Hollywood glamour era and the Nubian designs. At the moment, combining the past with the future, mixing vintage-inspired colour and prints with modern silhouettes inspires me. Each fabric is different and I enjoy working with each of them as they create their own inspiration and direction.