Emmy Collins Finally Calls Home and Breaks His Silence on BN!

Posted on Wednesday, June 30th, 2010 at 11:48 AM

By Ijeoma Ndekwu

When avant-garde Nigerian designer Emmy Collins shutdown his flagship store on Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, he said goodbye to Nigerian Media and the Fashion Industry. And for the first time, since his decision to live in London full-time, soaking up the inspiration from the stylish cosmopolitan city ….he speaks exclusively to Bella Naija.com

As he reflects on his stay in Nigeria, Emmy talks and he leaves no room for inhibited territories. He openly discusses the Fashion Industry, what it should be and what the Nigerian Fashion Industry actually is; questioning the credibility of the industry’s current professionals and laying out the structures that should be implemented if we intend to attain globally recognised standards.

Looking onto the future, there is a lot of exciting stuff in store for Emmy Collins. He is out with his current Spring/Summer 2011 menswear collection which we featured on BN, he recently made his second appearance at the prestigious Pitti Uomo Fashion trade show in Florence, Italy and then, there’s the new London store getting prepped up for its debut!

It’s all this and more with Emmy Collins! Scroll down for the full scoop:

Ijeoma Ndekwu: Why did you think there was a need to shutdown your Lagos store?

Emmy Collins: One thing I have learnt through experience is how to cut my losses and move on. I shutdown my store because I wasn’t deriving any inspiration from keeping it open. I realised that I was getting stale in my ideas at some point and the longer I stayed in Nigeria the worse it became. Basically inspirations were not forthcoming from any quarter. In the UK, I could get inspired simply by walking down a street in the East End of London where there are numerous artistic individuals dressed in their skinny tattered denims and spiky hair or strolling into RD Franks at Titchfield Street or watching the fashion students in their quirky outfits. The noise pollution in Lagos and Nigeria in general just sucks out any inspiration you already acquired prior to getting into the country; it just wasn’t the right environment for a creative mind such as mine to thrive. Shutting down was probably one of the hardest decisions I have had to deal with because I spent so much money and energy to launch the store. Secondly, it was supposedly an opportunity for me to rediscover my country after so many years of living abroad.

Now, I could be bitter but I am not, everything happens for reason and I believe that in this instance there is a positive reason. It has taken me a couple of years to be back on my feet again. I am a very determined and stubborn individual.

It was hard, excruciatingly hard at the time but I am glad I took the decision because my career seems to be back on track once more. To operate successfully in Nigeria, you need to be based full-time in Nigeria and sacrifice certain beliefs which I wasn’t ready to do and will never do. I kept hearing phrases like “Na Naija Now” every time something negative happened and at some point I swore I was about to go berserk if I heard it one more time. To think that we equate that phrase with mediocrity worries me and I didn’t want to be part of it anymore. I feel lucky that I have certain options.

IJ: For the while you were in Nigeria, what do you think of the Fashion Industry?

EC: Wow, what do I think about the Nigerian Fashion Industry?

I could give you the usual cliched answers by saying things are all rosy in the industry, we just need to improve a little but then, I won’t be expressing my opinion correctly so I’m going to go out in a limb and tell you the truth as I see it. I know some egos might be bruised by what I am about to say and I might generate some hostility from those who prefer to sweep things under the rug. This might hurt but then it might be what we need to propel the industry back to the right track.

The industry is being run by individuals who know less than nothing about fashion. I mean individuals whose names should never be used in relation to fashion and they know how limited their knowledge of fashion is hence they get a bit edgy and antagonistic when they suspect you are about to call them out. Models would walk into my store on Awolowo Road without any knowledge of their statistics, which is the least any model should know. I have come across fashion journalists who couldn’t speak proper English attempting to interview me. Actually, I am happy that I am doing this interview with you guys because you are one of the positives coming out of the industry. I read your website and I must say I’m quite impressed with it hence, I am spilling  out my guts to you now. Since I left Nigeria I have never given an interview and I have been approached several times. When I left I was like, that is it, I am done with this and I’m moving on but then suddenly you realise that just by expressing your opinion you might actually help to make a positive change.

Unfortunately those that actually possess the talent and passion don’t have the capital to set up a business and there is no scheme to offer them support as we have here in the UK.I must say I have been a beneficiary of such support schemes and it is always encouraging to know that someone somewhere wants you to be the best you can be.

The mindset at this moment has to be altered. The meaningless fashion shows and fashion awards have to stop and in its place, we should have a proper fashion week as I don’t rate what is presently regarded to as a Fashion week. Watching images from these shows and Fashion weeks is always an excruciating experience for me because I know we are not harnessing the talents that abound in Nigeria. We are definitely better than that. I don’t mean to offend the organisers of the present Nigerian Fashion Week or Lagos Fashion Week but I am entitled to my opinion. When the authentic Nigeria or Lagos Fashion week happens, even if it is not initially top quality but has potentials and with professionals running it, I will come down and show out of patriotism but, there is no way in the world I will go through aggravations for a show that is going nowhere, whose organisers in my opinion are not big dreamers and possess no passion. Organisers who are in it just for the money and no thought is spared for the designers and models whose talents are putting food on their (organisers) tables.

This is the time we need to sit back and ask why we don’t have a Fashion Council in Nigeria to oversee the needs of the designers, models, photographers’ et al. This council should be lobbying for financial support from the government if it will be used for the right purposes because fashion provides employment and is very global. It is an effective means to launder Nigeria’s tarnished image abroad.

Let us sit back and ask ourselves why our models are all over South Africa modelling? In my opinion I believe it is an indictment on the Nigerian Fashion Industry that these models are abandoning their education to model in South Africa. The difference between the industry in SA,UK et al is that there are individuals who posses enough passion to fight for the industry as opposed to just looking out for themselves and until we have such individuals running the Nigerian Fashion industry progress will be stagnated. I know progress is relative so I’m talking from my perceptive. The individuals and organisations who claim to be working towards the improvement of the industry are actually the bane of the industry. They are just hoodwinking people. These organisations and individuals are simply there for what they can get.

I do apologise if this is not what people want to hear. I know there are some who would deem my answer to be unpatriotic or harsh. I may be wrong but this is how I see it.

IJ: What improvements need to be made to take the Nigerian Fashion Industry to the next level?

EC: The first thing I will suggest is the setting up of a recognised umbrella organisation such as Nigerian Fashion Council or whatever name it may be called with the sole aim of catering for the welfare of the photographers, MUA’s, designers,models et al. This council should be tasked with the job of imparting accurate information into those who might be nursing the ambition to get into the industry. Another important task of this organisation will be to set a minimum standard which every designer, model, photographer must attain before getting any recognition. Knowing Nigerians as I do, once these standards have been set they will buckle up. Didn’t the banks find N250 or was it N25 billion when asked to do so in order to recapitalise? We thought it was impossible but it happened. We need a Simon Cowell, the real bad guy who will look a model, designer or photographer in the face and say “sweetheart I do appreciate how much you want this but you are not good enough”. Sentiments shouldn’t have any place in the fashion industry. You are either good or you are not because this is one industry where mediocrity is easily visible.

There should be a proper channel for distributing information. The information out there at the moment is deeply flawed because most youngsters believe fashion offers easy access to fame, glamour and money but that is far from the truth. In fact the reverse is the case; unless you have a sponsor with a deep pocket and I mean DEEP literally, behind you, success comes at snail speed. It took top designers like Valentino, Roberto Cavalli, Dolce and Gabanna et al a minimum of 20yrs each to begin reaping the fruit of their labour. It is rough out there in the industry but it could be very beautiful and could also offer immense wealth and fame in the long run.

Secondly, we need to teach designers how important it is to pay more attention to detail and finishing. The first time I submitted a garment to be vetted, they spent like a second on the exterior and then flipped it inside out and then spent what seemed like ages before giving their approval. Also, we need to realise when less is more; having said that I must stress that I am not a minimalist by any chance. I don’t possess all the answers but we need to start somewhere and fast.

IJ: You’re launching a new store in London, what should clients expect from the store?

EC: Everyone who is conversant with my label knows what to expect already. An Emmy Collins store is somewhere you walk in to pick pieces that will make you stand out in a crowd but not in negative way. The pieces are quirky, elegant and of course wearable. Mine will be a small East end store with character! This is not your run of the mill store; I couldn’t be mainstream even if I try so I just like to be me and keep it original.

Our womenswear range will be incorporated gradually into the range we offer at the store. Due to the fact that my fabric suppliers delivered my fabrics late, just few days back, I have decided to concentrate on decorating the store and deal with the womenswear at a later stage. We will also have a range of Emmy Collins London accessories such as bow ties, ties, cuff links, hats et al. I am considering offering bespoke suit services for men as well.

I know what it has taken me to be able to talk about having my own store so with that in mind I will be in the lookout for upcoming designers whose garments compliment mine to take up concession in my store. I know these upcoming designers need to display their designs somewhere and I will be willing to offer such opportunities.

The original idea is to make our clients feel special and unique when they dress in Emmy Collins garments. My slogan is “Never in vogue, never out of vogue”, what I am saying in essence is that if something is not in vogue, consequently it will never go out of vogue. I will not be offering designs that are all over the place and out there. The reason behind this is that no matter how beautifully designed a garment might seem, the moment it is everywhere the quality is devalued. In this day an age of credit crunch every piece you buy should be an investment. You should be able to put it on seasons after and still feel stylish. Often times I have received compliments on outfits I was wearing and inwardly I was thinking “Oh gosh, I am still getting compliment on this outfit 8yrs afterwards”. My three watchwords are ORIGINALITY, ORIGINALITY AND ORIGINALITY.

IJ: What’s the ambiance you’re looking to create in your new London store?

EC: The ambiance will be relaxed, lay back, warm and refreshing. I have finalised arrangement for a top Disc Jockey to come in during the weekends to play some good tunes. Expect to hear some happy house, old school soul, neo soul, and very little rap such as common. I love rap but never play them at a homely or working environment and I don’t know the reason for that. Perhaps it is because rap is so now and I am kind of old school. (laughs)

As I did in my store in Lagos there will be colours, colours and colours but if there is anything I have mastered it is how to use colours in an elegant manner. We’re hoping the launch party will be at Shoreditch House or somewhere equally fabulous.

IJ: You showcased your current collection in Italy, why not London?

EC: I showcased my current collection in Italy because Pitti Uomo,Florence is one of the major menswear shows in the globe today. It attracts major brands which in turn attracts the quality of buyers I need. However, next season I might check out another fashion trade show called Project in Vegas or Stitch which has been around in London for a few years now but is getting huge favourable reviews. Honestly, the stress of showcasing outside London is enormous so as soon as soon a menswear fashion trade that caters to need of my label comes up in London I will consider it. I love London and will definitely showcase in London. The fabric suppliers for my womenswear were very late this season hence I wasn’t able to submit garments to be vetted against the London Fashion Week. Hopefully next season I will be exhibiting at the London Fashion Week even if I don’t go on to the catwalk but catwalk is always the aim. I know I am good for the catwalk, In fact every Emmy Collins piece is ready made for the catwalk because they all strong pieces but hey sometimes we don’t always get what we deserve in life for some reason however we have to keep on striving till we get what we deserve. I believe I will get what I deserve what I have worked for and dreamt about constantly.

IJ: Your collection was showcased at the prestigious Pitti Uomo Fashion trade show in Florence, Italy. How did it feel to be a part of it?

EC: It felt great to be showing at a great show such as Pitti where brands like Hugo Boss, Nichole Farhi, Baldersirni, Hugo Boss, Cesare Pacioti, et al have showcased at some point and some are still showcasing there. Shows like this is why am in this industry. I remember my mentor pointing out during a Fashion Business Management lecture that every Fashion Designer with a menswear line must aspire to showcase at Pitti Uomo and ever since then it has been my dream to showcase at Pitti Uomo. This is my second time here though; first time was June 2005 when I showcased my Spring/Summer 2006 collection.

IJ: What makes this collection different from your previous collections?

EC: This collection is different from the previous collection but has a few signature pieces infused in it. Pieces like my pin tuck/bib shirts and wide lapel jackets. In this collection there are more accessories like ties, bow ties, scarves, and cuff links. I have more natural colours and black as well in this collection. As always a lot of the inspiration stems from Fela and other seminal artist like Al Green, Jimmy Hendrix etc. But my womenswear collection which I hope will be ready soon is inspired by a gorgeous lady I recently saw at a friend’s wedding in Lagos, Nigeria, of all places! (laughs). Earlier on in this interview I was complaining of never getting any inspiration from Nigeria so perhaps I ought to withdraw that statement.

IJ: The collection is dedicated to your late mum, Catherine. How much influence did she have in your idea of fashion and your personal style?

EC: As child growing up I always wanted to look good and my mum went out of her way to accommodate my taste from her meagre income. How I wish I could forward pictures taken when I was just in 2nd year in high school. She definitely had an immense influence in whatever I have achieved in fashion today as it all began from way back then. I feel so sad she isn’t around to see the garments as I lost her last June and honestly there have been times I just wanted to pack it up simply because, the one person I wanted so much to say well done son isn’t around anymore. Well that is life, you love them and then you lose them. I hope she is taking a well deserved rest now.

IJ: You have plans to visit schools in deprived neighbourhoods in Lagos to motivate kids, where does this passion stem from?

EC: This passion stems from my belief that with accurate information at their disposal and encouragement these kids will stand a better chance of pulling themselves out of poverty. As the saying goes “don’t give a man a fish, teach him how to fish”. Most of these kids are very smart but they need someone to motivate them, someone to believe in them, someone to tell them they can do whatever they put their mind to irrespective of the financial restraint. Finally someone to say to them “I wasn’t born rich either but I don’t sit around complaining, I am getting on with it” . They need to know that we can change whatever card life dealt us if we try hard enough. Sometimes all people need to push them forward is just positive words and not money.

IJ: What’s currently in store for Emmy Collins?

EC: I have always wanted my own store because I am in a niche market and need somewhere I offer whatever pieces I fancy without being dictated to by the industry or stores and that is about to become a reality. Next in store for Emmy Collins is to get them into stores like Harvey Nichols, Harrods, Barneys, Selfridges etc. We expect Harvey Nichols to view the collection this July and I am discussing with a sales agent with the aim of getting other stores to come over to the showroom/store as we launch it.

IJ: Where do you see Emmy Collins-The Fashion brand in 10 years?

EC: The long term plan is to get Emmy Collins into the big stores in all the fashion capitals of the world. In 10 I see a brand that every Nigerian will take pride in. I want a brand that will be motivational to the kids and aspiring designers. It feels amazing to be representing ones country in the international scene. In the process of inspiring others I inspire myself.

Basically I see Emmy Collins as a successful brand that will demonstrate that you can keep your designs edgy and still be successful just as Vivienne Westwood has demonstrated already.

An Emmy Collins in Sloane Street, London or the 55th in New York wouldn’t be a bad idea either. It’s all about the mindset. If you want it so badly deep in your heart and you strive towards it, it usually happens.

W: www.emmycollins.com
E: info@emmycollins.com

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  • 37 Comments on “Emmy Collins Finally Calls Home and Breaks His Silence on BN!”

    Comments
    • fokasibe June 30, 2010 at 12:00 PM

      More power….

    • pam June 30, 2010 at 1:06 PM

      fantastic interview. Emmy is always no holds barred and refreshingly analytical about his sector. Bella Naija is really excelling.
      ive reposted this on facebook.

    • tola lawson June 30, 2010 at 1:09 PM

      Haha! Look at this guy talkin about no inspiration in Lagos, so what about other designers like the Okunoren twins and Jewel by Lisa?? where does their inspiration come from?

    • Tomiwa Idowu June 30, 2010 at 1:12 PM

      I had no idea he was in the country let alone shutting down his store. I think his label is rather steve urkel-esque….I wonder how he hopes to succeed in London if he couldnt succeed in Lagos…Just saying…

    • jennifer June 30, 2010 at 1:36 PM

      OMG ! Emmy thank u so much for telling them, they needed to hear that whether they like it or not, its the truth. wow! thumps up

    • anon June 30, 2010 at 2:04 PM

      Enjoyed reading this!

      I’m not sure Lagos is fully ready for his aesthetic and he should perhaps consider selling through outlets like Temple Muse instead. His work is quite over-the-top and avant-garde and Lagos has a way of killing that brand of creativity.

      Also, he’s spot-on about many of the folks that populate Lagos’ fashion industry being mediocre and talentless. I hate to say it but it seems like pure opportunism on the parts of many of these individuals who call themselves designers, models, stylists, photographers, editors, etc. Their work is usually terribly substandard and they have no business being anywhere near fashion. Look at the style sections of many popular out-of-Nigeria magazines and you’ll see what I mean. Terribly flat, boring, uninspiring and barely worth taking a second look at.

      Thank you for being for honest, Emmy! While your aesthetic and mine are worlds apart, I respect you for dancing to the beat of your own drum and I have no doubt that you’ll go far.

    • DU June 30, 2010 at 2:28 PM

      Hopefully next season I will be exhibiting at the London Fashion Week even if I don’t go on to the catwalk but catwalk is always the aim. I know I am good for the catwalk, In fact every Emmy Collins piece is ready made for the catwalk because they all strong pieces but hey sometimes we don’t always get what we deserve in life for some reason however we have to keep on striving till we get what we deserve. I believe I will get what I deserve what I have worked for and dream about constantly.
      fantastic interview.Emmy, U say it the way it is.Keep the good work.the lord will lift u.

    • Dayna June 30, 2010 at 2:43 PM

      Tola Lawson,
      these designers you listed are based in Nigeria and are very much used to the way Nigeria operates. Not everyone has the patience for Nigeria. When you have other dreams to pursue I don’t think you want to focus on changing a nations mentality on fashion.
      I totally agree with Emmy Collins. Most of the people in the fashion industry are ignorant about fashion. The models have big tummies, wear lots of make up, can’t pose/ walk etc.
      Sometimes I want to puke when I see these red carpet pics BNaijA posts.. Some people look rough, have no sense of direction etc. We always want to look loud and we forget that sometimes less is more.

      I am very happy a Nigerian designer has spoken up! I give the other designers a 10 for putting up with the bullshit. I see Maki Oh going places but I’m sure it’s not going to be easy for her for a while because she is not the typical designer that sews fish skirts and off shoulder tops( our nAtional costume).

    • pam June 30, 2010 at 2:43 PM

      @anon. yes nigeria isnt the place for his aesthetic. very few women or men dare to have any provocative style. his clothes are also for a trendy and very physically fit man. the minute naija men get married, have a little cash… pot bellies. you cannot wear those pants with one. LOL

      @tomiwa “I wonder how he hopes to succeed in London
      if he couldnt succeed in Lagos…Just saying…” Your joking right?
      Nigeria is so toxic to business almost any other environment makes us leaders.
      Why did Asa do well abroad? Why has a Nigerian bought Gatwick? How come all the
      Nigerians winning International writing awards never make it publishing here?

      the mere fact he has secured the funding for his new london store in these cash crunch times and showed in a prestigious show is an indication he made the right decision.
      at least prior to his coming to Naija did see his shirt on E for the red carpet Grammy commentary. (only on Jay but hey not bad all the same.

    • Phillip cole June 30, 2010 at 2:59 PM

      @ Tola lawson,Please read the interview properly.Emmy was just talking about himself and not other designers.What inspires one designer doesn`t necesarily inspire another.Don`t get it twisted lol

    • seun June 30, 2010 at 3:55 PM

      very true…..cos everyone is a designer these days.

      less is always more.

    • Tomiwa Idowu June 30, 2010 at 4:27 PM

      @Pam, I’m kinda joking but lets be real. Emmy Collins’ designs look like pages ripped out of a fashion-students portfolio. Its a tad too creative, i respect his bravery though. The London fashion scene is even more saturated with designers, if your creativity couldn’t permeate Lagos i’m wondering how it would London. If I were Emmy, My approach would be to have stockists in London first before opening a store. (This is the known approach for ascending greats like Peter Pilotto, Christopher Raeburn and James Long) See if the market is ready for such and what not but I guess if you’re opening your store in the East End my advice won’t be of much use to him.

      Just my 2cents, not hating or anything. Good Luck to him. If you succeed your story will be told for years to come.

    • Ade June 30, 2010 at 4:37 PM

      As a Nigerian in the states, it is good he can tell the truth of the industry – but also
      the other side is I’ve found Nigerian tailors to be very sharp and able to sew pattern
      free. As for creativity, socioeconomic conditions can stifle creativity, as well as people
      being overly dependent on handouts. As each person becomes more able minded
      flourishing art will dominate and make the country sparkle. Maybe Naija is scared to
      be better.

    • bimpe June 30, 2010 at 4:41 PM

      Candid. It will hurt but what Emmy has said is mostly the truth.

    • the truth June 30, 2010 at 5:00 PM

      Nigerians have almost the widest opinions in the world.

      Why? Nigerians living in different places all over the world borrowing culture.

      Citizens of the countries we look up to are taking exporting their own culture by incorporating it in their designs.

      A fully bred Nigerian who has never traveled outside Nigeria will find it hard to create designs similar to Emmy’s because of their varied exposure.

      And don’t forget that as a country, we have our own culture, so don’t expect the miracle of doing everything British and everything American to dominate our own heritage. Only a small and privileged portion of Nigerians will want to be entirely British or American while in Nigeria.

      I don’t know Emmy’s background, but what i know is if he has lived in the U.K. for a long time, then he will feel the way he is feeling right now about the Nigerian Fashion industry. Perhaps, it is not yet time for anything to be structured with our current leaders.

      To Bella Naija readers, you guys have always hailed fashion designers whose products were showcased on this site, how come one persons interview is making you condemn the whole fashion designers in Lagos? Amazing innit!

      Maybe you guys aren’t aware that Hollywood is even wearing more ankara!

    • Phillip cole June 30, 2010 at 5:23 PM

      @ Tomiwa Idowu,
      Sure you are simply hating and you know it.Please tell me the difference between Emmy`s spring/summer collection and Tom ford.It amazes me that you can take something this gud good from a fellow Nigerian and try to trivialise it.What u trying to do is not working anyway cos 90% of d comments are are very positive.
      Emmy is pride of the nation.You can drop designers name all you want,anyone can get that off the internet.

    • Anne June 30, 2010 at 8:06 PM

      Thank goodness someone is speaking and telling the facts! He has clearly stated it is his opinion and he is entitled to it.
      Not everyone can operate with the ‘Nigerian’ mentality and why should you have to put up with it.
      I am very happy because he has been honest and does not want to succumb to what does not sit well with his schema.
      He clearly stated Nigeria stifled HIS creativity and he is entitled to it. It is true that London is a hub of creavitivity even more then NY- just going on the tube feeds the creative mind here. Everyone finds their place in mind and when it comes to business, sentiments need to be left aside. I am happy for him that it is falling back into place for him.

    • Ibo Omoge June 30, 2010 at 8:53 PM

      @ Phillip…don’t waste breath. Some people feel they must always reply a post…LOL @”Peter Pilotto, Christopher Raeburn and James Long”…She must really be feeling cool dropping all these designers names.

    • gggirl June 30, 2010 at 11:43 PM

      I truly understand the frustrations of living in Nigeria especially in the creative professions but I really don’ think running is the answer. I respect the fact that he is be very sincere here but he should have called out all these wanna be designers including the ones that steal their shit from Malaysia and the like. You all know yourselves but if Emmy Collins is not willing to expose you people then who are my. Nigeria is a cesspit of corrupt people in every profession but some of us have decided to stick around and fight it

    • Lb July 1, 2010 at 1:20 AM

      Nice Interview. In regards to his label, I love his boldness, creativity and decision to standing out as a uk/9ja designer. I Personally feel he didn’t do so well in Lagos because Nigerians/so called fashion icons and even we regulars are not open minded when it comes to fashion. We need to start thinking outside the box. I agree with what Dayna said about Nigerians and our “national constume”; same thing applies to the men.

      I’m not here saying I would wear ALL of Emmy’s designs but quirky/unusual is nice every now & then. Keep doing you Emmy Collins & goodluck with the new store.

      Please if you are reading this, I sent you a couple of messages on fb regarding designing ties for a wedding train. Please get @ me. thanx lol

    • Peperempe July 1, 2010 at 1:06 PM

      This Tomiwa person is just writing off-point. What is she/he trying to say? Emmy Collins is over-designed? His clothes aren’t for every1, definitely not for most Nigerian men that can afford them, but to belittle his work by comparing it to that of a fashion student is just unfair and rude.

      Emmy has been on the scene for a very long time now and he deserves a lot more respect than he has received from the likes of you, I’m not going to call u a hater but I would suggest that you try to find some self-esteem of your own and stop trying to put other people down rashly. Emmy Collins, fashion student?? Chai!

    • Peperempe July 1, 2010 at 1:10 PM

      By the way does anyone know who Tomiwa Idowu is???….silence……deafening silence………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

      Me neither.

    • Ib July 1, 2010 at 7:18 PM

      Only those who have treaded upon such waters can understand what Emmy Collins is trying to say. I relocated to nigeria 2 yrs to set up my own business…its really frustrating operating in Nigeria’s business Climate. It takes a lot of ‘inspiration’ to buy diesel everyday, run a gen, find good staff that can represent your business well (and not steal your money), battle with incompetent staff, train them, run your car, pay your rent, find your way thru the chaotic traffic system, deal with non-paying customers, chase debts…gosh it is endless.

      Emmy Collins…it surely is better to learn to cut your losses and move on. Sometimes our failures make us failures.

    • Ib July 1, 2010 at 7:19 PM

      Our failures make us success….sorry bout that.

      Im back to uk for good by the way.

    • Omada July 1, 2010 at 11:37 PM

      ”Basically inspirations were not forthcoming from any quarter. In the UK, I could get inspired simply by walking down a street in the East End of London where there are numerous artistic individuals dressed in their skinny tattered denims and spiky hair or strolling into RD Franks at Titchfield Street or watching the fashion students in their quirky outfits”.

      of course you won’t get inspired here! everyone just copies each other!
      like a BN writer described lagos as, ‘zombie nation’ or something like that…
      even the so-called fashionistas on our red carpets all look the same… the same old weaves, bags etc…
      very few people dare to break off from the mold and dare to be different, but its not easy!

      as for the industry, i can’t really say anything bcos am not an insider or a keen observer, however, i do know that most of our models are not serious…. most of them don’t know their stats or even have portfolios!

      mediocrity is just synonymous with nigeria and we really need to make changes fast!

    • Phillip cole July 2, 2010 at 6:00 AM

      I can`t wait for Emmy store to be launched.I bought some pieces from his store on Awolowo Rd and everytime I wear I get compliments like crazy.I should be in London around September.I might not wear the yellow trousers nor the yellow ties as am not comfortable with colours but he wears them well himself.
      I will wear any other poiece in this collection.
      From majority of the comments here I can see that Nigeria loves you.
      Kudos Emmy

    • toyin July 3, 2010 at 2:05 AM

      @ peperempe,

      i think i agree with her, emmy collins designs are a bit over-creative…like trying too hard to prove somethin…
      gifted designers dont need to..i dont c any sane guy shopping at emmy collins, not even british ppl. cos its not co-ordinated properly. if u knew about the uk fashion industry, u would c where she is coming from…

    • Asa July 4, 2010 at 3:14 PM

      Hmmmmm hot stuff going on here but my question is why do people always have to portray fashion as a mean self obsessed bitchy world rather than try to change it i understand blowing your own trumpet is cool but some people just have their own head stuck far up their ass,wait till you become karl largerfield beforre you start slagging down the nigerian fashion industry.everyman with his own and not every man will like to dress like a clown in colors that style is getting boring yawn.

    • Phillip cole July 4, 2010 at 7:46 PM

      @ Asa,

      Don`t shoot the messenger.He is not slagging off anything or anyone,he is merely saying what needed to be said.Am sure he is not happy saying them.People like you are the reason why things can`t change in Nigeria.
      Would honestly say he lied? I am part of the fashion industry in Nigeria but I don`t feel slighted cos I know he is saying the truth.I believe you are part of it as well but you can`t take the truth even when its staring you directly in the face.
      Why exactly did he lie? do you want me to post some of the write upd from supposedly fashion journalists in Nigeria even an editor?these are supposed to be good writers but there are very elementary errors in some of these write ups.i respect this dude a lot and thats why am defending his position.

      Make your point and say where he is wrong instead taking personal shots

    • THE AMAKA July 5, 2010 at 12:15 AM

      @ phillip,

      you must really feel like one fashion industry kind of guy…hiss…who knows you?? where do u belong in the industry??
      you must be a complete novice to compare emmy collins to tom ford…are u listenin to urself??
      i didnt even read his interview cos i really cant be bothered but just dont ever compare Tom Ford to this guy. Thanks, cos it just shows ur ignorance.

    • Phillip cole July 5, 2010 at 6:38 AM

      By the way Jay Manuel is the blond hair stylist/make up artist on the NEXT AMERICAN SUPER MODEL with Tyra Banks.He does the red carpet on Oscar nights

    • Asa July 5, 2010 at 12:28 PM

      @ Philip Cole (mr know all) thanks for telling me am taking a personal shot at emmy collins by taking a personal shot at me lol you know fashion so much but Jay manuel is not an hair stylist and make up artist and the show is america’s next top model not next american super model. am still going to say it again that emmy collins should face his own work i lost respect for him after reading this interview because he is definitely not the best nigerian designer and i don’t even want to start to mention the names of other great designers,lets appreciate what we have first before moaning about what we don’t have. fashion doesn’t have to be a mean self obsessed bitchy sad world thats why you hear of designers and models commiting suicide. One designer i would always respect is Alexander Mcqueen because eve though he created awesome clothes he was looked simple and not even care about it, he would say “its just clothes” and thats what it is, just clothes.

    • Asa July 5, 2010 at 12:33 PM

      He should have just come out plain to say his clothes didn’t sell in lagos not saying that there’s no inspiration in lagos blah blah blah not everyman wants to dress as a metrosexual or whatever.

    • Tunde July 9, 2010 at 12:40 PM

      @ Asa,I heard about this guys boldness in this interview and hav been meaning to read and now I have.

      A beg Asa go sit down,na bad belle,major bad belle be this.
      I dare you to mention any Nigerian designer whose menswear line as as faboulous as this.This is world class and I repeat world class.

      Once again lets have the name of any any Nigerian designer with a menswear line that is close to this in quality and design.

      By the way you don`t know nothing about Macqueen,u don`t.

    • Yeye July 29, 2010 at 9:53 AM

      Wow ……..its early in the morning and i am at the office and just stopped by to see current trend in Naija and found this.Emmy Collins what a mind !…..I only read ans 1 and 2 and will be back.
      I feel everything you are saying and it deserves a complete read.
      Meanwhile let me quickly say your honesty and individualistic outlook is refreshing
      Will be back

    • Fola February 24, 2011 at 3:48 PM

      I really thnk dis guy is an -. If he’s so damn gud, he can do the Nigerian fashion industry the honor of making an effort in redefining it rather than criticize people who are making an effort.

    • teflondon January 23, 2012 at 2:53 PM

      Emmy Collins outfits are very creative and bold..it takes a bold, stylish and highly talented individual to wear his clothes…but reloacting to UK, hmmmmmm..dont know what to say abt that but Nigeria is a fresh market for new,upcoming and already made designers..