Veteran fashion designer and style legend Mai Atafo is suited on booted on the latest issue of Accelerate TV’s ‘The Cover’.
This issue is called ‘The Business of Fashion: the ups and downs, the story of how to run a successful fashion label in Nigeria’ and Mai speaks very candidly about his experiences trying to run a successful business in the country.
Introducing the readers to Mai Atafo and chronicling his illustrious career in fashion, The Cover writes:
Coming from a large family of nine children, Mai wanted to stand out from a very young age. Spending a lot of his youth in Lagos, Mai attended the University Staff School Benin and later, the Federal Government College, Ondo State. After discovering his infinite love for fashion, Mai went on to enrol at the illustrious Savile Row Fashion Academy, to further train as a bespoke tailor.
Since his return to Nigeria, Mai Atafo has created unforgettable pieces for the best of the best. So, as he continues to set the trend in fashion, strap in, because we’ve got so much in store for you, on an all-new edition of The Cover.
Introducing the video, Accelerate TV writes:
For the month of March, we bring you one of Nigeria’s prime fashion designers. Mai Atafo breaks down the fashion business into its most comprehensible pieces and leaves knowledge for the aspiring new generation designers
Read excerpts from the interview below:
On his fashion career: “I’ve been in the industry now, going on nine years, full-time. But there were a few years when I did it part-time, because I had a full-time job back then.”
On what it takes to be a designer and the challenges faced: Anyone can be a fashion designer in Nigeria, you don’t need any permission or a certification. You don’t even need a location to work from, you don’t need a tailor to be a fashion designer, and you’ll be accepted as that.
People do not actually take this as a business, and do it properly, where you have a proper business plan, and you have it laid out and get the things you need to do the business. So, that’s the one side that I think is wrong, in the way it (business of fashion) is perceived.
The other difficult thing is that, because the industry is not structured, you don’t get access to capital easily. Then you have the tough things like infrastructure- which is ridiculously expensive.
On the flip side, the running costs to do a business in Nigeria is ridiculous, because we all know what the power situation is- it’s really bad. So you have to be able to have enough capital to buy yourself alternative power sources, then you have to run that generator.
On turning your passion into profit: “If you’re aspiring and passionate about this thing called fashion in this country, then that’s only step one. Passion can only take you so far. You need to go and learn what it is to be an amazing fashion designer- I’m still learning.
Once you learn the craft, you need to think of how you are going to commercialise this thing- it is a business. I’m tired of people saying, ‘I love putting colours together, I want to be a fashion designer’, or ‘since I was small, I’ve been making dresses for my dolls, I want to be a fashion designer’.
Watch the full interview below: