In our chat room today, we have the privilege of honouring the presence of a great woman with a drive and passion for excellence. Today, we will be discussing on, ‘Let’s do Fashion the Right way.’ This is the first of many interviews to come.
Princess Nancie Espoir is the CEO of Espoir Fashion. She is also the Founder of Lily in the Mire, an NGO that helps people find their purpose in life.
Ife Grace: You are welcome to Ife Grace’s Chat Room. Let me start by asking you this. What spurred you into the Fashion Industry? I mean why did you choose Fashion Designing?
Espoir Fashion:It was simply Passion.
Ife Grace: I see. Passion..Of course there must be something driving us to do what we do. That’s what keeps us going when tough times come. You have a brand, ‘Espoir Fashion’, What are your goals for it? What do you see Espoir Fashion becoming in the nearest future.
Espoir Fashion: At Espoir Fashion, in the long run, we hope to build an online/offline store for our brand designs and wears in all shades, both African prints and English wears. We also hope to provide waybill services around the world.
Ife Grace: If I decide to go into Fashion Designing today, what should I look out for? Are there strengths I need to have? Natural abilities I should possess? Let me put it this way, what cuts a person out as a fashion designer?
Espoir Fashion: Strictly creativity. Anyone can learn the basics but it is creativity that will stand you out.
Ife Grace: I have always wondered, Can a person learn how to sew by downloading videos on Youtube? Again, is it possible to learn this skill without a sewing machine?
Espoir Fashion: You can’t learn the basics effectively on Youtube. I’ll recommend offline training for at least three months and of course you need a machine except you choose to just go into pattern drafting. But really, to be am effective designer, you should be able to have a mastery on operating a machine properly
Ife Grace: Pattern drafting. What’s that?
Espoir Fashion: Pattern drafting is an advance course in fashion designing. It differs from the free hand method. In pattern drafting, you have to do some sketches and drawing before cutting the fabric.
Ife Grace: If a lady decides to travel out of the country in the next three months probably to join her spouse, is it possible to learn how to sew within the space of three months. I’m not talking about wuru wuru kind of fashion designing. I’m talking about professionalism.
Espoir Fashion: With diligence and determination, the lady can get the basics in 3 months and then self learn. She can support what she already knows by watching Youtube videos, registering for online whatsapp classes and following fashion pages.
Ife Grace: Lots of people complain that many fashion designers do not meet up with demands for the jobs given to them. I have experienced it myself and I remember a friend putting fashion designers in the category of people who won’t make heaven. He was kidding of course but we know how disappointing many of these designers are. How can a fashion designer handle issues of maintaining integrity?
Espoir Fashion: I believe this is a personal issue not peculiar to fashion designing alone. Some other professions have issues with integrity too. By God’s grace for the past 7 years since I’ve been a designer, I have not disappointed any of my customers.
Ife Grace: That’s impressive.
Espoir Fashion: It’s not that the tendencies do not show up, but I do all in my power to ensure that I meet up with the demands. Again, I feel it’s more of greediness. Some just want the money even though they know they can’t handle so much work. I’ll suggest this is addressed on the basis of personality rather than the profession as a whole.
Ife Grace: I remember seeing you at a wedding last year. The attire you put on was so lovely, I couldn’t take my eyes off it, did you make it yourself?
Espoir Fashion: I make all my dresses for the occasions I attend. I believe it’s my way of marketing my brand.
Ife Grace: What’s the biggest lesson you have learnt since you started Espoir Fashion?
Espoir Fashion: Hmmm….The biggest lesson for me came when I was outside the country. I studied the Fashion market in the city where I was and I discovered that male wears were more in demand. I had to travel to the capital city which was about an hour’s journey to learn from a male designer. No one saw the work I put into it but the outcome bagged me an international award as the ‘Entrepreneur for the Year.’ Hardwork pays.
Ife Grace: -This is interesting. No wonder the scripture says, he that is diligent in his business will stand before kings and not mean men. Let’s take a moment and talk about godly dressing? What’s your take on that?
Espoir Fashion: Well, this is a controversial issue as regards the measure of what is correct and what is not. I got into this dilemma but I learnt to stand up for what I believe is right. No matter how much of the money I’ll make from the customer, if I am not convinced that the design she wants is godly, I won’t take it.
Ife Grace: Your answer leads me to the next question. When a customer comes asking for a design on a dress that is way beyond acceptable moral standard or that goes against your convictions, many Christians would say, since it is the customer’s clothes, and they are not the ones wearing them, it’s no big deal. What do you think? Is it right for a believer to design clothes like that?
Espoir Fashion: It’s a No No. It’s not right at all. That you drive an armed robber to the place he wants to rob does not exonerate you. You are a partaker of the crime too.
Ife Grace: Any word for Aspiring Christian Fashion Designers?
Espoir Fashion: We need more Christians in the fashion Industry. We need people who will promote godly dresses. My slogan says, ‘it is okay to be fashionable and godly.’ With super innovative ideas we can rule, we can promote Godly wears. Together, we can.
Ife Grace: Thank you so much for your time.
Espoir Fashion: You are welcome. It’s a pleasure to be in this chat room. My God will honour you.
Ife Grace: Amen.
You heard it from Princess Espoir herself. It takes hard work and creativity to have a hold in the Fashion business. Diligence and Creativity will get you there.
We are also aware of what the world defines as fashionable. A little snap of the dress and some women’s breasts will come flying out.
While our measure of what is right or wrong may differ depending on our perception, we can agree that as believers, even in our dressing, the Holy Spirit wants to be involved and if we are sensitive enough, we will hear him giving us a word of caution. He cares about our outlook too.
You can reach Princess Espoir via her Facebook page: Espoir Concept.
Are you in the Fashion Industry? Or do you have plans of getting into the industry soon? How much progress have you made?