ARIETA MUJAY – Fashionista Rising

Posted on Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008 at 4:54 AM

By Ijeoma Ndekwu

Its always so inspiring to see African women relentlessly pursuing their passions and despite obstacles attaining success. We aim to put the spotlight on them, not just to celebrate their achievements but to encourage others. We kicked off our in-depth interview series with Folake Kuye of WeWe Clothing, now we are shifting the spotlight to Arieta. Enjoy!

By Ijeoma Ndekwu – Bella Naija Style Editor.

FACTFILE:

Full name:

Arieta Mujay aka Arietafashionista!

Age: 29

Occupation: PR Manager, Stylist.

Height:

5 ft 5 inches, but way taller in my sky high platforms!!

Relationship status:

Single and ready to mingle!!!

State of origin: Delta State, Nigeria.

Place of birth: Lewisham London UK

Hobbies: Watching documentaries, people watching and flipping through magazines in cafes.

Favourite designers: Vivienne Westwood, Marc Jacobs, Commes De Garons, Giles and Deola Sagoe.

If I ever doubted that friendships or even serious relationships could develop from regular mail messaging, then I have to re-think my stand. I couldn’t get to interview Arieta Mujay in person, and this will probably be the same with some other interviews, but did that take anything away from it? Absolutely not!

A good interview is made up of two distinct elements; a good conversationalist for an interviewer, and the other all important element, an interviewee who is so warm, he/she immediately calms your nerves and puts you at ease!

Arieta definitely made this 21st century ‘only an e-mail away’ interview worthwhile, and while I can’t say much about my interview skills, she was phenomenal. A formal over-edited email to her, was replied with the beginning ‘hey chic’! And gosh! Did I have fun reading her replies!

I got a feel of her happy-go-lucky, eccentric, bold and ‘the quirk’ of her fashion fabulous personality! Her sweat… determination, drive and the occasional beams of the joys of her accomplishments!

This 29 year old Nigerian, stylist to the stars, PR manager of River Island retailers ltd, and a great fan of Madonna and Amy Winehouse is truly an inspiration!

And although Arieta and I aren’t going to be walking down the aisle anytime soon, after our constant emails, I have to admit, I fell in love. She is every bit the quintessential role model; one who speaks of the bountiful reaps of hard work and considers her family as the every beat of her heart.

Bella Naija features an outstanding African woman who is doing her very best, to make her mark in the fast-paced Fashion Industry.

IJEOMA: How would you describe your personal style?

ARIETA: Tomboy Chic- I’m doing it for the sexy tomboys, you’ll never see me wear tight fitting clothes.

I: What’s your educational background: degrees, courses, schools attended?

A: I attended the Nigerian Navy Secondary school Ojo for my O levels, Woolwich College for my A levels, the London Metropolitan University for my 1st Degree in business and marketing and Brighton University for my degree in Business Law.

I: How much work experience have you had, prior to being the superb stylist that you currently are?

A: I’ve worked everywhere. From MacDonald’s, to behind the bar at a nightclub, to jobs in market research, and in stores. While I was at university, I got to work in Gap as a window dresser, it was so much fun, I loved it! I kind of talked my way into it and got to learn so much. In the last 7 years, I have however had constant work in the UK high street fashion industry. I had an internship at Smash Hits Magazine, there I met the designer Henry Holland, we were both on work experience at the same time. I have worked as an intern for a few other weekly magazines in the UKlike; Sneak, Just 17 and New Woman. Being an intern or “workie” at these magazines continued to spur my interest in fashion. Then Didi Danso who is the Fashion Editor of The Daily Mirror in the UK took me on as her assistant, the rest they say, is history.

Arieta with designer, Henry Holland.


I: That’s a whole lot for working experience, have you always been extremely driven?

A: Yes I have, I believe that sleep is the cousin of death, and therefore there is no time to lazy about. Hardwork has its own rewards, even God said that.

I: What would you describe as your point of view you express as a stylist?

A: Fashionistas are BORN not MADE

I: So I guess you will agree with me that not everyone can be fashionable, but everyone can be stylish.

A: Yes indeed!

I: So where did it all begin, who was the first person you styled?

A: A friend at university who was on a fashion course allowed me style her final year show, it was brilliant!

I: And the first celebrity?

A: Lily Allen, it was for the launch of her clothing line at New Look.

I: How did you find the experience?

A: Surreal, I had to pinch myself over and over!

I: You’ve come a long way since then considering you’ve gone on to style a host of celebrities, who have been the lucky campers? , the people you’ve worked with?

A: Apart from Lily, I’ve worked with Deola Sagoe, Oluchi, Ojy, Chalya Shagaya, Agyness Denn, Henry Holland, Kelly Rowland, Solange, Alek Wek, Liya Kebede and Tyson Beckford.

Arieta with supermodel Agyness Denn and designer, Henry Holland.


Backstage with Alek Wek at the 2008 Thisday Music and fashion festival. London.

Backstage with Liya Kebede at the 2008 Thisday Music and fashion festival. London.

I: That’s impressive; who’s been the most fun to work with?

A: I love Lily! She’s simply amazing and awfully funny; I keep telling her she has got to come to Lagos.

Arieta and musician Lily Allen.

I: You got to work with Tyson Beckford? Is he well deserving of the craze about him? , is he truly as gorgeous in person?

A: And then some….he is a little short though.

I: What was the first big break?

A: Styling a UK boy band called TRIPLE 8 for Smash Hits. Ruby Warrington the Fashion Editor of the mag at the time believed in my talent and let me go for it. I was absolutely blown away when I saw the shoot in the mag.

I: When styling a client, how are you able to express your point of view while keeping in mind the client’s personal style?

A: Definitely, style in majority is about comfort and the rest is the confidence with which you execute the outfit. I could wear a bin bag and it would be stylish, it’s about the swagger. I would never dress someone in something they are uncomfortable in, having said that, you need to be prepared to take risks!

I: I am still convincing my dad about my decision to work in fashion, was that the same with you or did your parents warm up to your profession from the get go?

A: My parents are both dead but I am lucky that my immediate family have been and are very supportive. I think my parents would have been happy as long as I was…I mean, things could be a lot worse, right?

I: Being a stylist, has it always been a life long dream of yours’?

A: No actually, I just LOVE fashion and everything that encompasses. I used to be a massive hip-hop head; I am actually a failed rapper.

I: Styling for a photo shoot or Styling an individual? Are you more passionate about one?

A: No, I happen to LOVE them both.

I: For the Thisday Style Music and fashion festival, you styled 36 Deola Sagoe models, how did you find that experience?

A: Exhausting and also very overwhelming.

I: You styled and directed the photo shoot for Deola Sagoe’s spring/summer 2007 online look book??

A: Yes I did. I love being around Deola, she is such an inspiration and we bounce ideas off each other.

I: What are the everyday challenges you face, with being a stylist?

A: As with everything you always question how good you are. You are only as good as your last work and it is a jungle out there. You have to keep up with the pace especially with everyone clamouring for the same job.

I: So, What do you consider the best thing about your job?

A: Meeting people, Travelling round the world, and just generally being around CREATIVE people.

I: What’s your best accomplishment yet?

A: Being a good Aunty to my nieces and nephews, and meeting Mary J Blige.

I: What are Arieta Mujay’s future plans?

A: Global domination, to spread fabulousity and definitely, work more in Africa.

I: What’s the fashion/style advise would you give every woman?

A: IT’S NOT WHAT YOU WEAR IT’S HOW YOU WEAR!!!!

Shopping with Solange:

Shopping with Kelly Rowland:

Backstage at Deola Sagoe:

Deola Sagoe Lookbook:

Be Sociable, Share!

Tags: , ,

  • Custom Search
  • 18 Comments on “ARIETA MUJAY – Fashionista Rising”

    Comments
    • jo December 23, 2008 at 5:52 AM

      lovely!

    • Folake Kuye Huntoon December 23, 2008 at 8:21 PM

      Heard great things about Arieta. She is definitely a fashionista. Effortlessly chic! She’s got a great spirit – I see why you fell in love :)

    • chiquita December 23, 2008 at 11:36 PM

      I like the phrases she uses:’tomboy chic and sexy tomboy’ i can relate to it. Seems like a good stylist.

    • dayo December 24, 2008 at 5:57 PM

      Arieta you are awesome at what you do, I think this article is prime for the ‘This Day’ style supplement. It would be the most forward feature yet!

    • Ladi December 25, 2008 at 4:44 AM

      More grease to her elbows. Fabulous job meeting celebs while following your dreams. Was gonna comment about Solange but I’ll hush.

      Merry Christmas Bellanaija!!!

    • Trendy December 26, 2008 at 4:11 AM

      Hey, what’s wrong with Solange, i am loving her right now, and if i dare say, i prefer her style to Beyonce.

    • Femi December 30, 2008 at 3:42 PM

      Arieta is simply amazing, as a person and as a stylist. I have the privilege of seeing her on the work front and knowing her personally. Versatility is this lady’s strong point in that in as much as her personal style differs from mine, she is always spot on with regard to knowing what I’d like. Having a drink with this chic chick is an experience and a half. The sky is the limit for this woman.

    • Elaine December 31, 2008 at 12:03 PM

      Than

    • Elaine December 31, 2008 at 12:04 PM

      Great article. Loved the email interview of course the shout -out. Love the fashion industry immensely. Keep up the Good Work.

    • ijawgirl January 3, 2009 at 11:39 AM

      wow!amazing feature.your the best bella.never heard of this girl,but boy is she fabulous.thanks bella xoxo

    • mimi January 11, 2009 at 11:30 PM

      what an inspiring lady! i’d never heard of her till today. thanks ijeoma. the piece is interesting and v well written. u r a good journalist with a very bright future!

    • me January 13, 2009 at 12:39 PM

      i know Arieta personally.she’s get at her Job and is such a sweet person.she’s very down to earth.

    • me January 13, 2009 at 12:39 PM

      i know ari personally. she’s great @ her job and is such a lovely person. she’s very down to earth.

    • Laila January 22, 2009 at 4:12 PM

      I love this girl! Her style is so unique, quirky and effortless…it all just works! I’m loving the grey dress and red boots combo…does anyone know who they’re by?
      Great feature!!!

    • fafi May 24, 2009 at 8:07 PM

      yeah,her resume is perfect,but her style is a lil too weird… im a stylish tomboy bt trust me,i’d neva wear those things… its lyk she was hurrying up nd threw on those piece…

    • GamGam May 25, 2009 at 12:52 PM

      She went to my school..hmm, i love seeing my alumni doing nice, but that pixie shoe na wa o

    • AMAKA June 16, 2009 at 12:00 AM

      this is great to see naija people in the spotlight for other things beside 419. this girl is great and i would like to get a hold of her clothes sometime so i can wear them.
      love it!
      naija 4 life!

    • Ene December 27, 2011 at 7:37 PM

      Knew Her back in School,She was actually very nice ans then became Social Prefect,Wish her well in her Styling Career.She is doing well.Cheers