YOUNG TALENTED DESIGNER STEPHANIE OKEKE OF SALLY ITIENGO
Stephanie Okeke started designing clothes at age six and at 16, she has a success story to tell. At a recent fashion show in Lagos, stephanie wowed the crowd with her spectacular designs. In this interview with Kehinde Falode, the talented brain behind Sally Intiego Couture spoke about her career and foray into the fashion world.
Tell us about you? I’M Stephanie Okeke, a 16- years-old fashion designer. Most importantly, I am a child of God. I attended Chrisland, Opebi for my primary education and Saint Mary’s Church of England Primary School and Clapton Girls Technology College. I will be going back to school in September to study fashion at the London College of Fashion Later this year, I will be going for the Africa Fashion Week London (AFWL), the DC Fashion Week 2012, South Africa fashion week and different places around the world for shows.
Your collections at the launched of Keto Couture fashion show were amazing. How did the journey begin? It all started when l was six and I tried to do little things and design stuffs for my dolls and for people around, like hair accessories and jewelleries. At first, my family wanted me to be a lawyer, but l told them this is what l always want to do and they encouraged me, and the rest is history. I started as a professional two years ago.
Starting at a very young age, how have you been able to overcome numerous challenges? I seek for my parents’ advice before making my decisions. I’m still young and there are certain things I just cannot do.
What was your parent’s reaction at the initial stage? They had wanted me to read law, but when they realized it is my passion and my dream, they allowed me and now, they are really proud of me.
What type or kind of fabric do you love experimenting with? Ankara because it tells where I am from; it tells that I’m an African, that I’ a Nigerian and I am a black and not white. I love working more with Ankara, but I still work with some other fabrics like chiffon and some normal fabrics.
What goes on in your mind when you are designing a cloth? I would be imagining how it will look like on me and how it would look like on the wearer (my client).
What is the best compliment you have gotten so far? Your clothes are amazing; you are just 16 and you are doing this! What message do you have for the young and talented designers out there? Never give up, belief in your dream, forge ahead and just believe in yourself. Don’t let people push you down; you have to believe in yourself for people to believe in you.
Your first time on stage, what was it like? It was nerve-wrecking! It happened in Abuja two years ago at the unveiling of Zohi Taglit couture.
What inspires you? I’m always inspired watching my mum work, because she is an entrepreneur. Also, I get inspired seeing young people my age who have done so much and excelling in their chosen field.
What makes a good outfit? Both the finishing and the colour combination make a good outfit.