Fashion has always been a part of Nikki Khiran. She had always loved fashion, fabric making and the arts from an early age. Her passion for fashion led her to the London College of Fashion where she majored in Fashion Design Technology. The designer who owns the Nikki Khiran brand speaks with OLUWATOYIN AGUDA about her recent ventures and her plan for tomorrow
At what point and why did you delve into bags and accessories which are aspect of fashion and what market niche were you hoping to fill?
I wanted my brand not to just be about clothes. In a lot of instances, people walk in åand want accessories and bags to coordinate with their clothes, so we decided to incorporate accessories into the NK brand. I will say I don’t have a niche market, I just want people that appreciate my sense of fashion and want beautiful and well-made clothing.
You are also into interior design, when and why did you decide to do interiors, and what has been the response so far?
I look at the Nikki Khiran brand as more of a lifestyle brand than just fashion. I am about lifestyle, and I love comfort. I want clients to have beautiful homes as well as beautiful clothes, for me, the two come together to make a beautiful well rounded life!
I am fortunate that my clients appreciate and buy into my taste, so it has been very well received so far.
What do you like most about being a designer?
I like bringing out a woman’s best assets and showing beauty and diversity no matter her shape size or height. Also, seeing the joy on her face when her expectations are met makes all the hard work worthwhile. Having a client call and telling me how great they look puts so much smile on my face, it just makes my day.
If you are to access the Nigerian fashion industry now and what obtained when you started, what comparisons will you make?
In the past few years the Nigerian fashion industry has suddenly boomed. There are a lot of new and emerging talent so there is more variety, compared to when we started in Nigeria some 14 years ago, there was little to choose from in terms of variety. I will say I still feel like we still have a long way to go in terms of our finishing, infrastructure and raw materials, these still remain enormous challenges to the Nigerian fashion industry.
Should women change the way they dress as they get older?
Yes! There are certain outfits that are less appropriate the older one gets. It is sad when you see a woman at a certain age trying too hard to look young. I believe in aging gracefully with almost anything. We can’t all be a Tina Turner who can wear anything. Sometimes, being covered up can be very sexy.
You are passionate about training and mentoring the younger ones, what has been your experience?
Yes I believe that all the knowledge and experiences I have acquired should be passed on to the younger generation, I want to invest in the future of young Nigerians and build a skills acquisition center where young people can learn creative skills. I will also want to be involved in mentoring programs to promote discipline and entrepreneurial skills.
Being a fashion designer and a very stylish woman, how would you define style and elegance?
Style and elegance are both interwoven. Style is knowing what to wear, how to wear it and when to wear it. It is being confident enough to try different looks, and knowing what works for you. Elegance is the individuality, grace, and confidence that a woman exudes without trying too hard or having to break the bank.
If you have the opportunity to change anything in the fashion industry in Nigeria, what will that be?
I will improve on infrastructure, open a world class art and fashion design college, encourage people to create more and copy less and teach more on finishing of garments, since what is holding us back in this country is the quality of garments we are producing,
What three key points will you tell someone venturing into the fashion industry to consider?
Being creative is a gift, it can’t be forced it is either you have it or you don’t! Work under an experienced designer for a few years, understudy the person, find out what works and what doesn’t life is too short to make unnecessary mistakes! Be teachable and humble, exposure and experience is invaluable, you can never know enough! I will also add that you must be able to balance both your creative side with your entrepreneurial sides. However, this can be very difficult because most creative people are geared towards the creative process and unfortunately, they often forget or know very little about the commercial side of things. They forget that rent, electricity, staff, generator, apart from, fabric and trimming costs have to be factored into the cost of the garment. So a lot of creative people rarely break even. It is however a learning process, with time you learn, you know how to merge the two.
Who will you say has been your greatest influence?
My greatest influence in life was my mother, she taught me to be strong, disciplined, And to be a go getter, She taught me to never give up, to always pursue my dreams and to be the best that I can be at whatever I do. And of course God always upholds me and gives me strength.