Opusunju Daniel is a bespoke designer who claims to have a different approach to men’s fashion. He speaks with SEGUN KASALI about his unique designs, among other issues.
Can you tell us about your background?
My name is Opusunju Daniel, a fashion designer and stylist. I am the founder and CEO of Jahda fashion, a fashion label that specialises in men’s haute couture outfits. These range from your regular kaftan and bespoke suits to creative bespoke designs. But what is always particular about our products is that they always standout – always a blend of class and style for us at Jahda. For five years that we have been in business, we have been able to translate that into all our designs. As a result of that, we have got many clients, including business executives and celebrities who rock our designs and can’t help coming for more.
How many collections do you have yet? Can you name them?
So far so good, we have unveiled six different collections, namely; Jagaban collection (Agbada with one sleeve), Newman collection, Flashlight collection, Anchor collection, Wakanda collection and Brigadier collection.
What makes your collections or designs different from others?
The brand Jahda stands for newness. I came into fashion at a point when everyone in the fashion industry was just revolving around old concepts like agbada, danshiki and the likes. So, I thought to myself that I needed to make a difference by bringing new designs that have never been made by anyone before, instead of just revolving around the old ones. So far, with my level of creativity and inspiration from God, we have been able to set some pace in the industry and our designs speak for themselves.
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What do you think are the challenges faced by the fashion industry in Nigeria?
There are several issues facing the industry. First of all, the government is not helping. The enabling environment is also lacking. In general, we don’t have a system that supports entrepreneurship. For example, there are no basic amenities like power not to talk of raw materials to produce with. Most of the materials we use are mostly imported into the country and all these make the cost of production very high as well as pose a great challenge for the industry. There is also need for more platforms that enable and drive sales. It will actually be a breath of fresh air to have something like a government-funded fashion exhibitions or grants for the industry. The fashion industry has evolved and just like every other industry, the government needs to start seeing the fashion industry as a determining factor for the country’s economy as well as a driving force. I also think there is need for a sort of regulation to control intellectual theft and all.
As a brand, what difference do you aim to make in the industry?
Like I said earlier, we are bringing newness on board and we will also be unveiling our fabric production project soon, just to mention a few.
How do you want to portray the culture and tradition of Africa/ Nigeria through your designs, despite the existence of different ethnic groups?
Art is known for storytelling and fashion happens to fall under the craft of art. Each of our designs has a touch of different cultures and traditions in one piece. Our message is togetherness. I want a Yoruba man to see a piece and love it, and the same should be experienced by a South African.
As far as you are concerned, do you think fashion can be separated from entertainment?
I’ll say it’s relative. Both industries can run on their own and at the same time we need entertainers to project our designs same with fashion influencers. In similar manner, they also need our master pieces to put a look on as well as project their brands.