Who is Funsho? Tell us something about your background.
Funsho is the Creative Director of the ‘Install’ brand, and he’s also an amazing person. “I’m the first child, and you know, it’s not easy being the first child. It means that I have a lot of work to do. My background made me realize that I needed to work hard, and that’s all I’m doing. I’m trying to work hard to make my friends and family proud.”
Why did you choose fashion designing as a career?
I initially didn’t choose fashion designing. I wanted to become a lawyer, but I think fashion chose me. So, yeah, I just followed suit. And to be very honest, it hasn’t been easy. It’s God’s grace and favour that has been taking me from one level to another, and I hope and pray that I continue to grow. Although I didn’t pick fashion designing, over the years, I discovered that I had fallen in love with it. So it has just made life very easy for me, and I also know the business intimately in terms of creativity.
What do you love about being a fashion designer?
What I love about being a fashion designer is that I haven’t bought a single shirt or a pair of pants in the past six years, neither has any of my family members, to the best of my knowledge. It is always nice to have free clothes.
Who or what inspires you while creating any design?
God inspires me. The patterns I pick help me decide what I want the end product to look like. Also, colour play influences me a lot. It makes life very easy when the colours come together. So, God is number one, and patterns and colour play make my shirts stand out.
What is fashion for you?
Fashion, for me, is looking classy, being confident anytime anywhere knowing that you look good. It is also a statement of how you feel. People can interpret your mood with your fashion style. Fashion should be a reflection of how you feel.
According to you, what are the skills that are necessary for becoming a successful fashion designer?
Like I said earlier, I didn’t want to become a fashion designer. It was the need to be successful that drove me when I started. It was paying my bills to an extent, and then I decided to drill down on this path and see where it leads. I didn’t even have the proper skill set. The only thing I had and still have is the mindset of a successful person, and that is what has been pushing me – the mindset that I know will take this business to the next level. I also have a great fashion sense, and that is what has helped me create the designs.
Secondly, I am deliberate. I’m deliberate about wanting this business to grow, and that is a skill in itself. Also, most people know the technical parts of it and don’t know how to ensure that the business part succeeds.
They know how to sew, but they don’t know how to market the brand properly. If you want to be a fashion designer, you need to have marketing skills, branding skills, customer service skills, and basic tailoring ideas – fabric selection, pattern-making, and colour play.
Your designs are quite unique. Can you walk me through your thought process when designing?
My thought process starts with the market. The moment I see the fabric, I already have an idea of what I want. So it’s just for me to go back home and say, “let’s use this colour.” or “let’s combine it this way.” This is not stressful for me because I’ve been doing this for a while now, and it’s already a part of me. I see it, I know it, I do it, and there’s no going back and forth. The only place that I have problems sometimes is if I have too many colour options to choose from, and I’m trying to decide which one to go with, but creating to me isn’t difficult anymore.
What does a day in your life look like?
Anybody that lives a day in my life and survives is strong – a day my life is stressful. Every day in my life is a busy day.
It’s always work, work, work over here. A day my life starts at the market, or I’m at the factory trying to sort out things. And, to be honest, I’m still involved in every process. From Production to delivery, and making sure that our clients get exactly what they want – that is not easy. It’s always a busy day for me, but I’m grateful to God because I’m doing well.
How would you define your personal style?
I enjoy being comfortable in whatever I wear. That’s what my personal style is – comfortability, simplicity, and of course, being happy with how I look.
What are your biggest challenges and victories as a designer in Nigeria?
My biggest challenge, to be honest, is that most young people don’t want to work, but they want money – manpower and production problems. Tailors may be doing well today, but tomorrow, they decide to mess up. Another huge challenge is that electricity in this country, Nigeria is not encouraging at all. However, we can’t say there’s no power and not produce, or we won’t deliver. We find a way around it. The cost of importation also affects us – sometimes we try to get our fabrics from other countries, and it’s not easy financially.
For our victories, I think one of our biggest victories is that every year when we have our pop-up, it is something people always look out for. So, yeah, our pop-ups have been our biggest victories. Asides from that, the fact that although people keep coming and going, we still have people who are loyal to the brand and will always be loyal to the brand is very encouraging. That counts as a victory – good customers that love us, and we love them, too. And then, we featured in the movie series, and that felt great too.
What are the favourite projects you’ve worked on?
All the stuff we put out every day for our customers – they’re all my favourites.
What’s your dream project?
My dream project is to sell my shirts around the world. That is what I want – For everyone to wear an ‘Install’ brand. I don’t know what God’s plan is, but I’m sure we’ll be able to figure it out soonest. For now, we keep moving, pushing, doing my best, and I know that a miracle will happen.
What 3 things does anyone starting in this industry need to know?
The three things anyone starting in this industry needs to know are;
- You need to be creative.
- You need to be patient.
- you need to be a giver. The free things that you give out will eventually help your brand in terms of publicity. Giving free gifts is a form of marketing for me. Although I cannot give out everything, I have a few people that I reach out to from time to time to give them free items.
What would you do differently if you were starting in your industry now?
What I would do differently is have money. I would start up properly and have the basic things – like a good workspace, which brings a little bit of sanity. I’ll be intentional about where I’m going. When I started, I didn’t know that the business would grow this big. I just wanted people to wear ‘Install’.