Welcome to the fashion world of the brilliant, beautiful and public-spirited Mrs Remi Akinmade. A dedicated public servant and social service enthusiast, Mrs Akinmade holds a Master’s degree in Community Health from the University of Liverpool among other academic laurels and had retired as a Chief Nursing Officer from the Lagos State Local Government Service Commission after 22 meritorious years. Aside continuing consultancy deeds with top-notch global NGOs, the multi-award-winning Mrs Akinmade is currently the Founder/Executive/Project Director of Community Health Information Education Forum (CHIEF), an NGO established in 1998 for the promotion of health, socioeconomic empowerment and rights of the disadvantaged women, children and youths. She is also the Owner/CEO at ANKO Aso-Oke and Accessory Marketing. Here’s her bold take on style…
What dictates my style of dressing….
Right from childhood, I imbibed my late mother’s adage, “Bi a ti n’rin la n’ko ni”, meaning as you take a walk, you never know who you’ll
meet. Personally, from childhood I love to dress simple, smart and unique. I dress to no one’s satisfaction, but this is inherent. Occasions and events dictate what I wear. I heard some dress for competition or to impress others, I dress to my taste and if it happens you are impressed, I give God the glory because glory and beauty belong to God.
Work, meeting, outreach programs and events (such) as weddings, naming ceremonies and memorial dictate my mood and dressing but in it all I dress uniquely. I’ve always been a cultural person when it comes to dressing and I promote our culture through dressing.
My favourite colours and mix, fabrics etc.
I love pepper red; red colour brings out life in me – it boosts my mood and make me radiant. I sometimes tone red colour down with other colours as white, green or black. I really wear multiple colours or designs, or colours; I love one colour fabric or maximum of two on rare occasions. This makes my fashion sense age long. Some dresses over the years match today’s fashion trend and this benefits me. Although I give out a lot and retain the ones I dearly love to give room for occasional others. I buy with the sense of head-ties or shoe colours I already have, this saves costs. I don’t buy what I don’t need. (I have) also grown to buy quality (rather) than quantity, this may be few but I will enjoy the durability. I don’t buy fabrics based on trends and what others are wearing,
Spousal influence on my choice of dresses?
In a way, he (husband) is from Ondo city where cultural fashion is at its best. Most of my cultural dressings emanated from Ondo and Yoruba culture, although I have on few occasions cross state borders to dress like Delta indigenes. He calls me Iya Oge (Mother of Fashion). Also, you know some men are not into fashion. He is a simple dresser. Sometimes, he asks if what he’s wearing befits an occasion and I give my candid opinion. For instance, he brings different caps to (get a second opinion) on which (one) matches his outfit. We complement each other.
On the reactions of foreigners to the national dresses of Africans, specifically Nigerians…
I think they love Nigerian dresses and now you can even see Nigerian dresses such as African wax made into nice dresses, beach wears, handbags, jackets, book cover and files in foreign stores or open markets and international fashion shows and exhibitions.
If I were to describe the Nigerian national dressing in three words!
Ecstatic, Fabulous and Elegant (EFE)
My projection of the African/Nigerian fashion in 10 years…
Even before now Nigerian Fashion has been projected since independence. You can see our political leaders and politicians dress in (national attires). These although modernised, are taking centre stage in world fashion and in the next 10 years, it will break the fashion world. My concerns, however, are some of our children following foreign trends. This is righted now by schools and institutions having cultural dressing days.
Possibilities and potentialities for the African fashionistas? Any hope of a boom such as lately witnessed in the movie industry (i.e. Nigeria’s Nollywood or Ghana’s Ghallywood)?
Yes, our film industry has projected Nigerian fashion well and I think this will continue to have impact on people; our films are watched all over the world. I remember at a conference I attended in Thailand a man seated to me from Phoenician Island was commending Nigerian films and that the films are watched in their country. Have you ever seen most women in Bollywood dress foreign? Except dressing for English acted films.