Style Temple Couture Viewing In Abuja
Abuja based designer, Ogugua Okonkwo, recently held a viewing of draped couture fabrics at her outfit; Style Temple showcasing unique intricate hand beaded wedding couture and evening wears.
It is still a world where parents prefer their children to study the major courses; medicine, surgery, engineering and others. Ogugua, known as Og to her friends, wanting to satisfy her parents, studied Medical Laboratory Science at the University of Nigeria Enugu Campus, despite her passion for fashion designing. She served her country, and started work at the State House Clinic in Abuja.
She soon quit to pursue her dream, which started when she used to cut up her mother’s old curtains, just to sew up her designs, and always had to alter her own outfits because she was skinny.
“A friend told me about this fashion house: Berry’s Couture that needed a designer. So I went for the interview. The woman who owned the outfit asked to see my portfolio. I had to go back home; quickly put one together, and I got the job. Seven months later, I left to start Style Temple” she said.
Style Temple, which now also has a fashion school, opened three years ago in Ogugua’s tiny apartment, held its first viewing of fashion installations at its Maitama store.
Style Temple’s specialties are the hand crafted couture bridal and evening wears, even though the outfit does regular office and casual wears for its clientele. The price of a design depends on the kind of detailing that goes into it; and the kinds of stones that are chosen for it.
She admits it’s not been easy being an entrepreneur in Nigeria due to the high cost of running a business particularly in an expensive city like Abuja. But where others are quick to blame the government bureaucracies and failures at providing enabling environment or start-ups, Ogugua heaps most of the blame on staff, particularly artisans, many of whom she described as unreliable.
“ It is not easy particularly working with artisans in this country. They are usually unreliable, so when you run a business that is based on other factors, it is really tough. Paying rent, other logistics, it’s all-quite tough, but we try to manage. Managing people is not easy, but over the years I am finding the balance: when to be hard, soft, persuasive, almost mean” she said.
For Ogugua, every outfit has to speak, as her clients are her billboards. In a competitive sector with new designers springing up everyday, she realises the need to stay fresh, and offer her clientele the best. That is just what she plans to do: expand into making jewelry to accessorize the outfits, and make customised shoes, purses and even shape wear for her clients.
Her biggest dream yet is to become an African brand.