Running a fashion label might seem glam from afar, but like every other business, it most definitely has its challenges; maintaining a certain image, fixing the perfect price, getting enough clients to keep the brand afloat especially during this pandemic, etc.
We thought to get a little insight into how exactly this is playing out for the fashion brands in Nigeria, and the first stop was the eponymous brand, TI Nathan.
The name TI Nathan is certainly not new to the fashion scene. Started out in 2013 by Creative Director, Temitayo Nathan, the brand has grown to be a formidable one in Nigeria, having been worn by names such as Wizkid, Patoranking, Timini, Adekunle Gold, Orezi, RMD, and many more.
We spoke to Temitayo Nathan about running his label so far, and how he’s keeping his head above water, especially amidst the pandemic. We started from the beginning…
Temphas: How did you develop an interest in fashion?
Temitayo Nathan: I’d say my interest in fashion developed from the need to create particular pieces I couldn’t have access to and further redefining or altering them to fit into my idea of an ideal piece.
Temphas: Who are your role models locally and internationally?
Temitayo Nathan: My list of role models locally is quite long. Lol. Also, new ideas and creatives spring up every day with different beautiful aesthetics so naming a few would be quite tough. Internationally, I love Kim Jones, Peter Do, RAF Simons, Alexander McQueen for their modern tailoring, Brioni for their impeccable tailoring. The list is endless as well.
Temphas: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Temitayo Nathan: I draw my inspiration from personal life experiences. All my collections are inspired by events at different points in my life.
Temphas: What would you say differentiates you from other fashion designers?
Temitayo Nathan: We all have different stories to tell with our works. I believe my work is what differentiates my work from others.
Temphas: Pricing has been an issue with bespoke clothing. What determines your selling price, your cost price, or the customer?
Temitayo Nathan: My selling price is mostly determined by the cost of making a piece. I like to give my clients a good value for their money.
Temphas: What’s the biggest issue with running your own label?
Temitayo Nathan: Hmmn. Honestly, running a label is very tasking. It’s almost impossible to pick the biggest issue. Production as a whole is very tasking.
Temphas: What would you do differently 3 years ago, if you knew what you know now?
Temitayo Nathan: What I’d do differently would be to run a more sustainable model.
Temphas: What would you tell someone just going into the business of fashion designing?
Temitayo Nathan: Same thing I tell everyone in any field. “Go hard or go home!” Disregard the glamour; the fashion business is cutthroat.
Temphas: How do you stay afloat in spite of the current pandemic?
Temitayo Nathan: We’re just striving really. The fashion industry got hit hard by the pandemic. I’m personally currently trying to focus on producing more of what’s needed than wanted.