Lexy Mojo-Eyes And His Vision For African Fashion
In the fashion scene, Lexy Mojo-Eyes is not new. The fashion expert has been the vanguard and catalyst in the Nigerian and African fashion Industry. He introduced the first major fashion event in Nigeria- Nigerian Fashion Show in 1997. Today unlike years back, every Nigerian designer uses mainly locally assembled materials. He has taken African designers to the fashion capitals of Paris, Milan, New York, London and Tokyo. He has organised shows in Stockholm, Tel Aviv, Johannesburg, Karachi, Shanghai, Dubai, Cape Town and other cities. He trained and practiced as a journalist, and worked as a presenter/announcer with the then Bendel Broadcasting Service, Bendel Television and later Edo Broadcasting Service. He used to have one of the most popular music programmes on radio, Soul Time. Lexy was known on Radio then as ‘Mr Soul’. In this chat with Geraldine Akutu he talks about his work, new project and the fashion industry.
Can you share your experience growing up?
I have fun memories of my growing up days. We were just two from my mum (my late elder sister and I). She brought us up. We were an average family, with just enough to get by. I took part in lots of activities. Boys scout, sports generally and football in particular, social activities – partying etc. I was very fashionable while growing up. My mum actually inspired me.
What’s the motive behind Legendary Gold Limited?
It was a company set up to inspire the past, present and future generation of fashion designers from this part of the world. We came up with the brand new idea of reorienting the Nigerian and African fashion industry to look inward to all locally made fabrics and accessories. Our belief is that if we must beneficially connect with the global fashion industry, we must look inward for inspiration. To this end, we came up with legendary services as valuable as gold.
Why your interest in fashion?
Fashion to me is second nature right from my youth. Like I always say, fashion is life. Clothing is the most important thing to man, apart from food and shelter. We have never come across any hungry or homeless person going around naked. So, that authenticates my claim.
What’s the secret of your success?
Work and more work. All I do is work, and pushing up the boundaries to advance our goals.
What does it take to be a fashion expert?
It’s just to understand the business and all the various chains such as, designing, make-up, clothes and hair styling, modeling, production, marketing, retailing and so on.
Nigerian Fashion Show is your brainchild and has grown, how do you feel about that?
I am happy. But we have not reached 10 percent of our objectives. We still have a lot to accomplish. Apart from Nigeria Fashion Show, we are also the organisers of Nigeria Fashion Week, Nigeria Fashion Awards and Nigeria Model Awards.
How lucrative is the fashion business in Nigeria?
The fashion business all over the world is very lucrative. We all wear clothes. It is even more lucrative right now in Nigeria, because we have over the years been able to re-orient the whole of the country in looking inwards. That means designers making clothes from local fabrics and accessories and encouraging Nigerians to patronise our local designers.
What aspect of this job do you like the most?
I like all parts of the job, because it is my passion first before it became business for me. It will remain my passion as long as I am still in this business.
What’s the most challenging part of your job?
Funding has been the most difficult part of this business. Passion is the only thing that has brought us this far.
Your role models?
Unfortunately, I really do not have a role model in this business. I am a forerunner — I sort of created fashion promotion in Nigeria at this level. So there was no one to look up to. We learnt from our mistakes as we went along.
What’s your take on the Nigerian fashion industry?
Nigerian fashion industry has really grown. But there is so much more to do.
Your style of dressing?
I define my style of dressing. I don’t follow trend. My style has been dynamic over the years and at every point it is timeless. Right now I leave it very simple and classy.
Describe yourself in few words?
With me, what you see is what you get. I am simple and straight-forward. Most importantly, I am a very factual and detailed person.
Are you working on any new project?
Our new project in the last three years has been the Africa Fashion Reception with the African Union. The Africa Fashion Reception is a Pan African initiative. This year, it will bring together fashion designers; fashion icons, First ladies, ambassadors, ministers and media from over 30 African countries in a celebration of cultural diversity expressed through the artistic fashion discipline with the proud theme ‘Africa is the new inspiration for global fashion’. Sixteen countries participated in the inaugural edition in 2013. Last year, designers from 24 countries participated.
Your philosophy of life?
I do not believe in luck or chance. Or that anything happens by mistake. Success can only be orchestrated by self. Whether it successfully works out or not is God’s decision. But you must put in your 100 percent, first.