A Passion for Fashion Designing

For Hope Obe fashion designing is not just a hobby but a passion. haven started out as a tailor in her undergraduate days, she soon discovered other areas of fashion designing and without any waste of time, delved into them. Today, that little dream has grown and still waxing stronger into a great reality. Wedding Trends brings to you an interview with Hope Obe, the Chief Executive Officer of Gilds Glitz Fashion (GGF). Enjoy!

Please, tell us briefly about yourself
I am Hope Obe, a 22 year old girl from Benue State. I’m a graduate of the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, (Benue State) with a degree in Home Science and Management. I was an intern at OSC, College of Fashion, Lagos, Nigeria.

There are areas I am skilled in but I work majorly as a fashion designer, a fashion blogger, a fashion consultant and also as a fashion trainer.

What inspired you to go into fashion designing?
Over the years, I realized that you don’t have to speak for people to know who you are because most times, your outfit tells people about your personality. So, I got inspired to make clothes for the right body type and shape while maintaining decency with the perfect amount of fashionable thrown in. In doing this, I have two key points that serve as inspiration,

  1. Being fashionable or stylish isn’t about body exposure
  2. Looking beautifully dressed may not be equivalent to one’s account statement.

At what point in your life did you make up your mind to go into fashion designing?
Fashion designing has always been at the fore, a part of my life! I started drawing sketches at a very young age, years before I could climb a sewing machine. Immeasurable is my joy and satisfaction and beautiful is my bliss when I see people well dressed. At that point when I was able to place my emotions for such well dressed people, I decided I was going to do whatever it takes to make people, especially the ladies, look stylish and fashionable no matter what! However, I started leaning the act of dress making at age 16.

What type of fashion exactly do you design?

I design clothes for ladies with ages ranging from 13-40 and of course to elderly women who still feel young at heart. However, on special occasions like weddings, I design for kids too.

What other aspects of fashion designing do you also engage in?
Beside Fashion Designing, I am also a fashion consultant, and recently, a fashion blogger. I starter online tutorials tagged, "stitches with Hope".

Would you say you are enjoying what you do?
Of course I am! Fashion is my lifestyle. I absolutely love what I do and I would choose to be a fashion designer over and over again until infinity! Because of the immense love for what I do, there was a point in my career when I felt like making dresses for no cost at all because I wondered why I should get paid for what I enjoy doing! That perspective changed when I attended a business seminar where elaborate teachings were given on how to convert your passion to money. There and then, I learnt a lot!

What, in your own view, makes a good wedding?
From my perspective as a fashion designer, a successful wedding starts from the bride's dress (....... 😕😕😕). A bride's dress is one of the first things a wedding guest takes note of as soon as he/she gets into the hall.

The next thing is to observe the outfits of the bride's maids and of course, the little bride. In Nigeria, where I come from, one can easily conclude on how rich or poor a wedding is by the outfit of the bride and her train. The thing is, it is quite easy to forget how poor the decorations were or the insufficient food or even the overly poor music but a bad wedding dress will always remain news headlines as pictures will be plastered on every social media and on every flat surface!

Do you also sew pre-wedding dresses too?
Yes, I do. Most times, I help in selecting perfect outfit combinations for the to-be couples as well as suggest perfect color blends ( that is where my consultancy duty comes handy). Most times, I end up styling the bride and the bridal crew.

Would you say fashion designing is actually financially rewarding?
Ermm, I cannot categorically say yes because fashion designing like other businesses has got its challenges. Being a fashion designer can be rewarding if you find yourself at the right place, surrounded by your target market. However, if the government can provide more industries where fabrics can be produced locally, the profit realized by fashion designers will be a lot more appealing.

What challenge(s) do you face in course of your job?
Being a fashion designer come with many challenges but the most pressing of them will be POWER SUPPLY. The process involved in dress making can not be completed without a steady power source as almost every step needs ironing for proper finishing.

When power is frequently interrupted, fashion designers are compelled to use generators which are expensive to maintain. If citizens of Nigeria pay more attention on the wears produced within the country instead of placing more value on imported or fairly used clothes, then the financial benefits as well as self confidence on the part of the designers will improve greatly.

Tell us your most memorable experience as a fashion designer
Every moment for me as a fashion designer has always been very interesting but so far, the most memorable moment was when I got a slot at Benue Fashion Week, December 2016, to showcase my first collection. I was so nervous and uncertain because I started sewing three months before that period and I was to share the runway with people older than me in age, societal class and experience in the field!

In the end, it turned out to be super exciting as my collection came out so nice I got a lot of orders and even got nominated for Benue Youth Choice Awards 2017 (design of the year category). It was another challenging, terrifying moment for me because the other nominees were more famous than myself plus, I was the only lady nominated in the whole of Benue! Out of fear, I almost turned down the nomination but close friends and family members encouraged me to go for it and it all climaxed to me emerging as winner. At age 21, I got an award as Benue Designer of the Year, 2017.

What's your advice to young entrepreneurs?

My advice to young entrepreneurs like myself is, always remain focused, determined hardworking and most importantly, put God before anything.

Once you have developed a passion for anything, go for it with all zealousness and by God's grace, you will soar very high in your field.

How can people contact you?
I can be contacted through the following platforms
INSTAGRAM > @gilds_glitz_fashion

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