Wilson Stonage is a young clothier that deals exclusively on casual wears. In this interview with Deborah Ocheni, the CEO of Wilson Stonage Official Clothings speaks about his foray into the fashion line, his love for high quality shoes, the uniqueness of ankara prints and sundry issues
Would you say you are satisfied with the height you have attained as fashion designer?
Nobody is ever satisfied with where they are. Everybody wants more and I guess I should be called an Oliver Twist of my time. I want more but not outside of my choice of business (clothing), because I am in love with what I do.
What is the major challenge fashion designers face in Nigeria?
Our major challenge is funding. Without money nothing works and we should also learn to accept made in Nigeria products. Artistes and some individuals send me Gucci and Versace designs to remake for them but I think we should appreciate what is ours.
Who are your popular clients?
I have worked for some top musical artistes such as X-busta of 5star music in Nigeria and record labels, TripleMG the record label for Tekno and Selebob. Although, in most of these jobs, I use my money to do them before they later pay me.
Would you say government has done enough for creative people in Nigeria?
Yes they have done their own little part but the main thing is we should also try to help the government by employing more individuals in our self-owned businesses.
Fashion market seems saturated, how do you intend to keep afloat?
By inventing unique kinds of designs and to be punctual with our deliveries
How would you define fashion?
Fashion is creativity, it is standing out from the crowd, and fashion is also money
Would you say you are a fan of ankara prints?
Sure, I am a fan of ankara prints because it has its own unique style.
What is your take on African traditional wears?
African traditional wears have their own uniqueness; they are of pure African origin.
Do you consider any fashion item indispensable?
Traditional African attire is indispensable because no matter how you see it, you would definitely have at least one of it in your wardrobe.
How easily do you get your fashion items in Nigeria?
Very much accessible depending on the design I want to make, but we have lovely fabrics here in Nigeria.
While shopping, which fashion item catches your fancy?
Shoes and sunglasses Which fashion accessory do you live for? Wrist watches
Do you conform to trends? Which fashion trends do you love most?
No, I am not really the trend kind of person.
How comfortable do you feel in jeans and T-shirt?
What makes a man well dressed?
A man is well dressed when he is comfortable in whatever he is wearing
Whose celebrity style do you like most?
And do you have a role model? Jim Iyke is my fashion role model
Is there anything you are unlikely to be caught wearing?
What is your ready to go outfits?
My ready to go outfit is a jean, T-shirt and a pair of sandals.
When it comes to fashion, would you say your physique works to your advantage?
Yes it does because I go to the gym and I think I have the perfect body to fit into anything.
Which outfits take up most space in your wardrobe?
What is your costliest fashion possession and how much did you get it?
My costliest fashion possession is MY Balenciaga shoes but I can’t remember the cost
How do you love your shoes?
I am in love with good quality shoes
What determines what you wear?
The weather/occasion determines what I wear
What do you think of modern designers?
Modern designers are now more versatile and very adventurous with their designs. I think I admire their sense of creativity. Do you have a signature perfume? My signature perfume is Sheikh
What was your parents’ reaction as regards your line of business?
They didn They didn’t have a choice but to allow me because I studied Theatre Arts in the university, and cloth-making is also a form of art. Cloth-making deals with a lot of creativity and it is also a legitimate business. So, they were fine with it.
Would you say fashion designing is lucrative enough?
On a more serious note, it hasn’t been easy because as a business owner you deal with the ups and downs. Clothing has been paying my bills the little way it can and I am grateful to God for helping me discover my talent.
Does your background influence who you are now?
Yes it does but it does not really define who I am currently because I now think above my background and I am determined to make things better and greater.