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Ochuwa Yusuff: Leaving a Mark through Sustainable Fashion

Ochuwa Yusuff is a Nigerian fashion stylist, an entrepreneur, and a conscious fashion designer. She designs, makes, redesign, up-cycles, and revamps clothes. This goes without saying that she is heavily invested in sustainable fashion. 

She’s currently pursuing two degrees. One in sociology from the University of Lagos, Nigeria, and another in Fashion Industry Essentials from Parsons school of design, NYC.

How would you define your idea of fashion? 

Fashion is a very interesting approach to life. It’s a form of self-expression. How you want people to see you, and most importantly, how you want people to remember you.

My lecturer at Parsons once said something that has stuck with me ever since. “The purpose of fashion is to negate our persistent fear of death. Decorating ourselves in particular things helps to craft an identity, which creates the illusion of permanency. When we buy things and we define the way we look, it makes our existence feel more real and everlasting”.

I really love fashion because it gives instant insight into one’s mood or state of mind. It can easily tell you how someone wants others to understand them without having to ask the cliché “how are you today?”.

I’m not a huge believer of the saying “Dress the way you want to be addressed” instead, “Dress however you like as long as it makes you feel comfortable and on top of the world” (but don’t forget to dress for the occasion!).

You should be able to wear clothes because they make you FEEL GOOD, and not because they make someone else feel good about you. 

Creative expression can take many forms, what made you decide to start styling people?

I didn’t decide to start styling people. In fact, I have not even decided. People just see and like my style. Then they hit me up and ask me for styling advice or guidance.

I have always loved playing dress-up and if that’s what the universe aligns me with, who am I to say no?

Tell us about your greatest challenge as a stylist in Nigeria ?

As we all know, Nigeria as a country is a lot! Not only stylists but creatives, in general, are seen as unserious. Because I’m a stylist, it doesn’t mean I’m unserious or less of a person.

This is my job and I’ll love for people to respect it as much as I respect theirs. 

Tell us about your best and worst fashion moment? 

My best fashion moment has to be when I put together a last-minute outfit for the GTB Fashion Weekend in 2019. I did the most basic thing and made it look so extra. It was definitely a proud moment for me. 

I don’t think I’ve really had a “worst” fashion moment. I’ll update you guys when I do.

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

Okay this one is hard because left to me, I’ll just say socks, slides, oversized tee, shades, and maybe a scarf for a bad hair day. But let’s get serious;

  • A nice oversized blazer: this can be styled in so many beautiful ways regardless of how you want to dress, whether you decide to dress up or dress down.
  • Shades: I don’t go anywhere without my shades because why? 
  • A signature staple: I think every person should have one thing that is just so you, whether it’s a color, bold lipstick, vintage clothes, etc. Find a staple that feels like you and then rock it consistently and unapologetically. You don’t have to be a fashion designer to have a signature look. Mine is oversized clothes (I never feel comfortable in tight-fitting clothes). 
  • Power shoes (depending on your style): Shoes that you’ll wear and feel “If I want it, then I’m gonna get it”.
  • A white tee: For other days when you don’t feel up to it, try wearing a white tee.

Fashion is an evolving thing but these are essentials that should be in a lady’s closet at any point in time. Also, don’t forget pepper spray babies. Very important

What is the most hilarious thing that has happened to you on set?

This has to be actors intentionally taking away clothes that are meant for stylists.

After the shoot, please drop the clothes sir/ ma. If you like it so much, ask the stylist. He/ she would probably not mind selling it to you. Please stop taking our clothes, that’s stealing. Don’t do that! 

Check out Ochuwa Yusuff here to see more of her work.

Chioma Mmeje
Chioma Mmeje