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I Channeled My Love For Creativity Into Fashion – Anpe

Naanlop Hannah Anpe is the CEO NanAfric Designs, the talented fashion designer speaks with DEBORAH OCHENI on how she channeled her love for creativity into fashion, her fashion philosophy and more.

What is your personal style?

I like simple and classy look. For me less is more.

What is the gap your collection hopes to breach in fashion world?

The vision I had for NanAfric from the start is to make statement evening, classy and sophisticated dresses. Also to have a training/vocational Centre where people can come and learn different crafts skills ranging from fashion design, shoe making, leather works (bag making), jewelry making etc. basically crafts that fall under fashion. I also want to make an impact in my generation so that the next generation will look up to me as a role model.

Are you satisfied with your choice of business?

Yes, I am, I have always loved arts and creativity, so I channeled my love for creativity into fashion and I love it.

How do you source for your fabrics?

Are clients sensitive to this? I source for fabrics from the fabric shops in the market, so far my clients have been satisfied with the quality of fabrics I use for them.

Do you have any specific research pro- cess when you start new collections?

Not really, I get inspiration from my environment, for example, colours from birds, colours from flowers on the trees and plants. Nature inspires me most of the time. Also, I look at trending details on dresses and add a little bit of that on my outfits.

Was there anyone in your family who made you develop interest in fashion business?

Yes, my mother used to make dresses for I and my sister when we were little. My grandmother was also a tailor, so I picked interest in it.

Who inspires you the most in fashion industry?

An Arab designer for luxury evening dresses called “Yousef Al Jasmi”

Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

I see myself going global, working with international brands and designers. Showcasing the African culture in a unique way.

Are you a fan of Ankara prints?

Yes! I love Ankara prints a lot.

What is your take on African traditional wears?

African traditional wears are beautiful, I love how versatile they are and how they show the uniqueness of each of our tribes and culture.

Do you consider any fashion item indispensable?

I think Jeans will never go out of fashion.

How easily do you get your fashion items in Nigeria?

Very easy, you can get them in the market, online, by the road side, for example I see a lot of people put mannequins and canopies in Gwarimpa selling cloths.

While shopping, which fashion item catches your fancy?

I love shoes.

Which fashion accessory do you live for?

I love bold earrings that make a statement.

Do you conform to trends?

I don’t really fancy following the trends. I personally like vintage outfits.

How comfortable do you feel in jeans and T-shirt?

I am not a fan, funny enough I don’t wear jeans and T-shirts. I prefer dresses and jumpsuits

What makes a woman well dressed?

Anything that makes her feel comfort- able, decent and beautiful.

Whose celebrity style do you like most?

I like “Rita Dominics” style.

Fashion wise, do you have a role model?

No I don’t, I just admire anyone that looks beautiful and confident in what they wear.

Is there anything you are unlikely to be caught wearing?

Revealing cloths are not for me.

What is your ready to go outfits?

Jumpsuits are my ready to go outfits.

When it comes to fashion, would you say your physique works to your advantage?

No my physique doesn’t work to my advantage because I am a small person and it’s not every outfit that fits me, so I only wear what fits my body. Even if I see cloths I like that I know won’t fit me, I don’t wear them.

Which outfits take up most space in your wardrobe?

Dresses and Jumpsuits.

What is your costliest fashion possession?

I don’t buy expensive items yet, when the time comes I would love to have orig- inal designer bags and perfumes.

How do you love your shoes?

I love low heels that are comfortable, flat shoes and easy slip wears.

What determine what you wear?

The location I am going determines what I wear. I have separate outfits for church, work, hanging out with friends, dinner parties. Etc

What do you think of modern designers?

I am really impressed with the level of creative modern designers are coming up with, they have really redefined fashion.

Who is your best designer?

I am my best designer.

Do you have a signature perfume?

No I don’t, I love any perfume that smells feminine.

Do you have any fashion obsession?

I love to wear jumpsuits.

What inspired you into fashion designing?

From my childhood days, I’ve always had love for crafts and arts, I always looked forward to attending fine art classes or home economics class because I loved making things, little did I know that it would lead to this. So I decided to Chanel my love for art into fashion design, I started by making cloths with needle and thread and people would marvel at what I made and wouldn’t believe I made it by hand and I had no idea how a sewing machine worked then, a lot of people around me in school encouraged me to take it serious, So I made a decision to learn fashion design after my National youth service Corp.

How did you come up with your brand name and what is the message behind it?

My name is Naanlop which means God- sent. So I took the first letters of my name “Nan” which means “God” then Africa is pronounced Afrique in French language, and I put them together, which gave me NanAfric. The message or meaning behind it is “God or Master of African Designs”

Fashion designing market seems saturated, how do you intend to keep afloat?

Yes, it is definitely, however, it’s important to make your brand unique by discovering what makes you different from every other brand. Having a unique style of fashion or fabric that isn’t common to everyone. Try not to get lost in the crowd by doing what every other person is doing.

Would you say the business of fashion designing is lucrative enough?

Yes, fashion design is very lucrative. Clothing is one of the basic necessities of life. People must wear cloths, there is al- ways an occasion to attend. The market is very broad so I believe any aspect anyone chooses to venture into would yield profit.

Does your background influence who you are now?

Yes in a way, my parents have always been the supportive type. They would always encourage I and my siblings to do what we love. I did my undergraduate studies in the United Kingdom, that also broadened my view and perspective on life. So generally yes I would say my background has an influence in who I am now.

What is the major challenge young entrepreneur face in Nigeria?

Running a business in Nigeria is real- ly not easy to be honest, cost of running a business in Nigeria is quite high especially when you want to have a certain standard, looking at the cost of paying for a store, getting good and diligent staffs, bills and utility, we work majorly with electricity which is a major challenge in Nigeria. Having a nitch and trying to stick to it can be really challenging, having fixed prices too is quite difficult because clients know where to get cheaper options. However, these challenges are normal for a growing business. The Fashion design industry is fast rising in Nigeria, so I am confident with time, things will improve, it’s a gradual process. growth is a constant thing.

Would you say the government has done enough for creative people in Nigeria?

They have tried but they have not done enough, I believe they can still make opportunities available for creative minds to ex- press themselves more and showcase their talents. You will be shocked at how many talents are currently hidden due to lack of opportunities and financial assistance.

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