Nigerians Love Blings, Sequins And Precious Stones
Yeside Laguda, the Creative Director of MyQ Lifestyle, a popular fashion label in Lagos, recently launched
her luxury bridal line. The lovely daughter of Information and Culture Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, talks
about her newly-introduced line to Nike Shotade
LET’S get to know you, please
I am Yeside Laguda. I studied Environmental Chemistry at the University of Reading and I also have an MBA in Strategic Management from the University of Wales. I am in my early 30’s. I am married to Ajibola Laguda and we both have two sons.
Why did you introduce a bridal line to MyQ?
MyQ ready-to-wear focuses on indigenous dresses, Ankaras, silks, prints and Kaftans, which suit our climate and women in their various sizes. So I currently have two companies under the MyQ lifestyle brand. My new luxury bridal line caters for the confident and classy bride who longs to dress and feel like royalty on her special day. I stock luxury bridal lines such as Vera Wang, St Patrick among other designers. I also have franchise licenses from established brands especially from designers in the Middle East. This is because they produce a lot of blings, which Nigerian women totally adore.
Did you study fashion designing?
No, but I just love to create things. I would describe myself as a builder and designer because I simply love to sketch and draw things with my hands.
Do you know how to sew?
I don’t know how to sew and neither do I sew, but I know how to cut and design. I don’t sew because I think there’s a lot more to be done behind the scene. And of course I do have an idea about what sewing entails.
Did you ever work in paid employment?
I started doing business when I was 18. Even though I was schooling in England at that time, I supplied clothes, footwear and accessories to boutiques in Nigeria. Because I had nothing to lose, I would buy the goods with my pocket money and whenever my parents come visiting, they would help deliver them to my clients and then send my money back to me. I would then go back and stock up all over again and deliver to my customers back home. I did that for many years until I returned to Nigeria.
Any strong inputs in your designs?
Yes, I have an input in my designs. I produce MyQ here in Nigeria while my luxury line, Blush, is produced abroad.
When did you decide to establish your own fashion line?
I returned to Nigeria in October 2004 and I took up fashion as a hobby, but everyone around me suggested that I take it up as a full-time job. I really wanted to work, but I guessed that the Almighty had his plans.
How have you coped with business challenges?
Whenever my business became very challenging, I always remind myself about the fact that I’m not a quitter. In the past, the festive season in December was always very hard and I would even get to a breaking point where I would want to quit. Whenever this happens, I would psyche myself by asking myself if I really wanted to quit, having come this far and achieving so much. After some introspective thinking, I immediately get back to business.
What popular trends are your clients currently demanding?
Nigerians love blings, sequins and precious stones. Simply put, most of them want a statement design that simply speaks for itself. Right now most brides have an increased awareness for full princess dresses, which is very surprising.
As a Muslim, does your bridal line cater to both faiths?
Yes it does and my team and I believe that modesty cuts across both faiths because both religions preach it. Our watchword is modesty and, as such, whatever bridal outfit and bridesmaids dresses your priest or imam permits is what we provide.
Who is the MyQ woman?
The MyQ woman knows herself; she follows trends but not blindly. She is also trendy and classy.
Has your pedigree influenced your patronage?
Being Lai Mohammed’s daughter has only made me to work harder to achieve my goals. My dad taught my siblings and I to be hardworking. If you know him very well, you would realize that he is very dedicated to his craft and it has rubbed off positively on me. Anytime I fall into hard times I always run to my parents, especially my dad. I once showed him my books and then asked him to loan me N1million with a promise to pay back in two months. He did, and a lot of times when we had to rebrand, he helped out because he believes in my ability and business.
Kindly describe your style
I am a Muslim and of a certain age, so I don’t sew just anything. I believe in modesty and respecting oneself. My style is a bit classic and mature.