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Jacqueline Obi : Building a fashion legacy on creative expression

Jacqueline Obi is a young woman from Nigeria born into a family of 7. She’s a creative entrepreneur, businesswoman, photographer, Social media manager , Brand strategist and the Lead Designer and creative director of her Seasonless Fashion inspired by NATURE brand @neemjah.

How would you define your idea of fashion?

I think fashion is expression.

Creative expression can take many forms, what made you decide to start your own fashion brand?

I started making fashion sketches when I was a child. I can’t even remember how long ago but my interest then was mostly in the fabric patterns and designs. Yers after being interested in fashion, I started my brand by making and printing street-style graphic tees I designed on my phone. Nobody really knew that I did most of my designs using my phone. 

Eventually, I found myself making unconventional ready-to-wear pieces. I think everything eventually unfolds and the dots connect.

Tell us about your greatest challenge as a fashion designer in Nigeria?

– NIGERIA! That’s my greatest challenge as a designer, the country itself. You have so many ideas and it’s almost impossible without resources, economical support, or a conducive environment to bring them to life. It’s a constant struggle. No properly structured factories that are affordable and do things right. 

I’ve had to set up my own home factory and had to subcontract tailors from time to time. But these artisans will drive you crazy! One day they show up to work with you on your patterns and designs and then the next day, they just decide to vanish. 

You take the stuff to factories, and they mess it up because they don’t really understand you. It’s literally almost impossible to run a fashion business in Nigeria unless you have an already set up structure and more than enough MONEY to run the business. Then you have to import artisans from other countries, house them and feed them. For your business to work! It’s absurd.

Don’t get me started on the electricity, fuel issues, generator noises even producing from home you got neighbors saying you’re making noise lol. 

As a young person I think building a brand from scratch as a Nigerian you have to mentally be prepared for it else you’ll shut down in a couple of weeks.

Tell us about your best and worst fashion moment?

– For my brand obviously, the worst would be not being able to express myself fully because the artisans cannot fully translate my ideas, or having orders and keeping customers waiting longer than usual just trying to get it done because artisans have decided to stop production with zero communication. 

My best fashion moment for neemjah is every single second I get an order from across the world or even in Nigeria. It’s orgasmic to think I had an idea in my head I put it out and somebody somewhere thinks “this is super cool. Here’s my money, let me have one”. When they receive their orders and send in that happy review? Ughhhh I’m in cloud 9.

What are the 5 things every woman should have in her wardrobe?

– Cute sexy underwear 

– A black dress 

– Statement heels & shoes 

– Perfumes 

– this last one is not material, but a mindset – CONFIDENCE. This should be in her wardrobe. You can have all the amazing luxury Items but without confidence, you feel or look like you’re wearing cheap stuff. You need carriage and confidence.

Check out Jacqueline Obi ‘s Fashion Brand @neemjah and show her some love

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