Much like everything I’m doing now, I had always loved fashion from my childhood days. I remember very vividly how I would make stylish (at least it was to me) gowns with just a wrapper. I had this little neighbor then, Chisom, who would always come up to our flat just for leisure; I would use my mum’s wrapper and tie in a way that the gown had a train. Then, I had this very big obsession with trains (thinking of it now though, I think that was when my love for dresses with long trains began). That didn’t end there. I soon began making rough sketches of ladies in long gowns; just that, then, it was more as a part of a story than it was a fashion sketch. Let me explain; so I had this whole universe in my head and in that Universe, I could determine what is and what isn’t; I was the beloved of all, almost like God. Sometimes, I’d just draw a very ‘fine’ lady in what looked to me like a very magnificent gown with shiny diamond hems, elegant jewels and so on; but really, I’d have to explain the design to you before you can even manage to assume you understand it because the drawings were that bad. I’d name her the grand queen of the world and with that, no one could challenge her. I’d draw her in different attires and regalia from time to time. This was while I was still in primary school.
I also remembered looking forward to Saturday evenings when I’d have to watch runway shows on ETV (Enugu). The feeling was ecstatic and I always imagined myself there.
The truth is, despite the fact that I had eclectic collection of drawings of ladies by myself; I actually didn’t know what to call the obsession. I didn’t know what it meant or what it said about my future. I just knew that I loved the sight of ladies in beautiful attires. When I go to a wedding ceremony, while others were enjoying the event, I’m looking out for that lady (or ladies) in a nice outfit; and when I had found that lady, my eyes would never leave her. I’d keep on staring at her dress that you’d be embarrassed if you were by my side. That was how much I loved dresses.
JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL:
When I got into Junior Secondary school, the passion intensified. In my leisure, there were only three things I did; read novesl (which was very rare), write stories and make drawings of ladies. By then I had learnt how to draw ladies’ side views. I think all my friends and classmates then can tell you how the back of almost all my books contained at least four drawings of mine. It was so embarrassing that I was seen as a freak. I mean, what kind of boy loved drawing ladies? And to top up the embarrassment, I was the tallest boy in my class. By my Grade 8 (JSS 2), I was put into the same room with Chidiebere, who’d later become my best friend at the time; he was just in Grade 7, so automatically I was his senior. I think I need to note that by the time I got admitted into the school, my set was the 2nd set to be admitted; in other words, the school was just 2 years old when I came in.
Despite being a ‘senior’ to Chidiebere, we really had this connection. He also wrote novels and he loved fashion as well. Sometimes even, we’ll have a friendly fashion face-off. This was when the both of us and eventually another roommate of ours would use each of our long bed sheets and make a unique gown by tying on ourselves and appearing before judges (our other roommates and eventually some of our neighbours in the hostel). Well, we both had equal winning streak but that’s beside the point.
By my Grade 9, I was already being more open with my drawings that I had let my closest friends then, Olisa and Obiora, in on it. We created this imaginary secondary school and we each created teachers of this school. We would then task ourselves to draw our created teachers in outfits for a whole term. It was fun and exciting. Don’t get me wrong though, our grades were not bad.
SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL:
I left that school after my JSCE and moved to a school in my base State for my Senior Secondary Education as a Day student. This school was totally different from my previous school so I had to get to understand my environment first. I think the period I took in trying to understand this new environment became too long that it eventually affected most of my character. Unlike my former school, I had no special all-male clique who thought alike so I was mostly seen on my own. I had to stop drawing and even when I drew, I made sure no one saw me.
What brought me out of the shadows was another friend of mine, more like a family friend, IK. I think we were all together after school when he was showing someone his sketch book. You could imagine my exciting surprise on seeing that I was not alone and that what I did really had a name. With that, I got myself A4 sheets and started making sketches of dresses with and without the model in it. I still have some of those sketches till date.
It was at the beginning of my 400Level a window opened for me to showcase my first fashion line. So I had come back to school and I found this ad calling on fashion designers for my school’s first ever fashion show. I kinda knew this was it. With my last money, I applied as one of the designers. Now I had no dress, no money to make them and no idea what I was doing. I didn’t want to tell my parents about this because I wanted to achieve this without their help. In another post, whenever I feel so, I’d make a separate post about all I went through before the showcase but long story short; my dress walked that runway as well as three other runways that year.
Lately, I’ve not focused on that aspect of my life due to school work, my graphic business and my mental health. I have plans to revive it though. Hopefully, 2021 will bring opportunities to because there’s a lot I have in store waiting to burst out.