Arts

‘My objective is to bridge the gap between Western and African fashion’

by Ifeoma Okeke

September 30, 2018 | 2:45 am
  |     |     |   Start Conversation
Adaeze Kelechi Obi, a Nigerian-born UK-based fashion designer who recently relocated back to Nigeria, is the CEO of Great Dazed House (GDH), a fast-growing fashion house with an objective to tackle unemployment and promote Africanism through modern-day fashion trends. In this interview with Ifeoma Okeke, she speaks of how her outfit is providing employment opportunities for Nigerians. 
What motivated you into fashion designing?

I was basically motivated by real life situation, after my first degree there were no jobs forthcoming and we know every fresh out grad is looking forward to that white collar job just as we are meant to believe is the process, when non of these things happened I knew I had to live and not just exist. This gave birth to my self discovery and along the line fashion came and I followed it. It’s been graceful ever since.

How long have you been into fashion business?

I have been in the fashion industry for about 12 years but professionally I can say 5 years, and it’s been highly adventurous.

What are the challenges of fashion designing in Nigeria compared to other climes?

The major challenge here in our homeland ranges from funding, power and so on. We don’t have financial institutions that can offer long term investment loans to SMEs and this is really eating deep into the progress of our local industries. This glitch affects a lot of things like getting the required machines and work tools to make apparels required by the international market. I’m using this medium to plead with our government to look into creating platforms and program to support the creative industry (fashion industry).

How many people have you employed both directly and indirectly through GDH, your fashion house?

GDH has been able to train directly and indirectly over 100 Nigerian youths and teenagers. Due to undercut on running capital there is a limit to what we can do, but gradually we are recording great success. We have not recorded much as we desire such is due to the slow progress which is as a result of limited funds. But we have employed more than a handful.

Who is your target market?

Our target market ranges from aged to middle class and teenagers (male and female). GDH has different units working hand in hand towards the actualization of the organizational goal. Each division working at their optimum capacity to meet fashion need and trends globally. We have our clothing, beading, hat, bag and purse making, gele units. Also the academy is open for new intakes.

Can you tell us about GDH and what you sought to achieve by setting this up?

GDH as we know is a fashion power house that wants to bridge the gap between the western and African fashion. Gucci and Dolce & Gabanna recently lunched their new collection with African fabrics. The primary aim of GDH is to promote Africanism through fashion and also mold lives through empowerment programs.

What are the success stories from GDH?

A lot of success stories. There are limits to what I can say here at the moment, fingers crossed. A lot has happened and a lot more is going to be happening soon from GDH. Many project and programs have flied in the state in and outside government parastatals.

Being a mother of two, how have you successfully combined fashion designing with the home, such that none suffers?

This has been the most difficult task amongst all. Thank God I’ve them both running fine. I guess that’s the duty of an average African woman: keep your home running and functioning fine without any excuses whatsoever.

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by Ifeoma Okeke

September 30, 2018 | 2:45 am
  |     |     |   Start Conversation

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