I met Deji within the first few hours of NYSC camp (you guys have no idea how much treasure i found on those camp grounds- no idea). We were on this ridiculous registration queue from noon until 9pm standing in the sun and then the moon! At about 8.55pm, it began to rain, most people ran for shelter and deserted the ridiculous queue. I looked to my right, saw a plastic chair and lifted it above my head as my make-shift umbrella; to my left was this guy who had grabbed a chair too. We were not kidding here, we were going to be registered no matter what- rain, volcano, avalanche. We stood there and instantly, i knew we'd be friends. He struck me as irrationally resilient and brilliantly resourceful; the perfect fuses for being an entrepreneur! Deji Eniola Osinulu, is the Creative Director of the Nigerian-based Men's bespoke fashion label- Deji Eniola. His brand is frequently sighted on the red carpet, and featured in the 2015 Lagos Fashion and Design Week last October. He has styled some of our favorite celebrities such as TuFace Idibia, M.I Abaga, Christopher Attoh, Dj Spinall, Gideon Okeke.
Here he is; the man behind DE:
Deji, what do you love the most about what you do?
The ability to birth forms and the grace to make something out of nothing
How did you know it had to be fashion?
It was the only thing that didn’t seem it would leave me if every other thing that could leave left. It felt like my ‘Ruth’. It was that thing that puts me in my zone. It was my element. Imagine Kanye telling you “Don’t let me get into my zone” …because there will be no respite for any lyricist challenger against him. *LoL*
How did you learn to design and sew?
Designing is innate for me. It is the only thing I didn’t learn, I definitely had to hone the skill though. However, you know when they say a writer needs to write all the bad stuff out of her system first before getting to the good part? Yeah, I had to design all the ‘rubbish’ out of me first. *Laughs* Then it got to the good part.
With sewing, I took tailoring classes twice actually, once, during my last year in college and also during my NYSC service year on weekends. I started with female outfits. Surprise!
What's your most creative period of the day?
Mornings mostly, probably because i'm still calm enough to be in tune with my mind and spirit. I get ideas and themes at other times of the day too but I find that mornings are most frequent
What's the most unusual inspiration you've ever had?
Colour block! Before the craze started, those words literally floated into my mind. I didn’t understand it to the extent of implementing it. Months later, “colour blocking” swarmed the catwalks and filled the magazine pages.
What’s your creative space like?
I guess by that, you'd be referring to my flat. My studio is quite comfy, and well laid out. I have tried to avoid clutter to give the illusion of more space than it actually has. My bedroom seems to have me more when it comes to designing.
If you could, what would you change about the world of fashion?
Vanity- but on second thought, I'd rather leave it alone, because it forms the basic foundation of the existence and advancement of fashion, although, the indistinct borderline between ‘necessary’ vanity and ‘absurd’ vanity seems to have faded, the inability to define this borderline, is the ample reason why it should just be left alone. There is a saying “Kill all my demons and my Angels might die too”
The most stressful thing about getting a bespoke service is the wait time! How long does it take you to complete a suit?
It takes an average of 21 working days for our half canvassed suits and much longer for the fully canvassed ones. Waiting is an inherent feature of bespoke. You honestly can't rush the process.
Who are your most admired local (and foreign) designers?
I like the Okunoren twins, I like their story and that they have journied on roads that we now tread. I like Paul Smith for starting his business with just 600GBP and also Ozwald Boateng, for being the first designer (to the best of my knowledge) to lend an African identity to a British heritage.
Your most important work equipment?
My eyes! *Laughs*
After all has been done, from design concept to design execution, what determines if it will make the shelves or hit the runway is its appeal! Beauty doesn’t need a second opinion to know if it’s pleasing or not. I stand back and look at it and immediately I know if it will make it or not.
The most challenging part of designing?
Designing for another! To design for someone else, you have to become him, you have to think like him, you have to know what he likes to do, his preferences and tastes. All that factors into the creative process.
What do you love the most about Lagos?
The beauty in its chaos!
What app do you use the most on your phone?
What's your favorite game?
Grand Theft Auto, Baby!
Your first thought in the morning?
God. And then more God!
The most alarming incident you've seen on Ikorodu road?
I saw a Toyota Highlander burning right there on the express with no one trying to quench the fire. It just got charred and everyone continued their day!
Lagos Traffic survival kit?
If I'm driving; a chilled bottle of coke, (partly iced), music, air conditioning and interesting company. If I'm not driving-a book.
Can you cook?
Yes, I can. I find pleasure in cooking.
Alright then, what's your most exquisite Deji Eniola-made dish?
Haha, see trap! Well, remove the word “exquisite". That word might be a little tricky! *Laughs* It'll have to be noodles!
Four things i learnt!
1. "Beauty doesn't need a second opinion..."
2. Understand your industry and what makes it tick!
3. "Write out all the rubbish" and then GOLD!
4. Deji came up with Colour block! What?! If he told me then, we would be gazzilionaires right now! Thanks alot, man.
Thank you, Deji for being PGI's February feature! Below are photos from the Deji Eniola Spring collection as seen at the Lagos Fashion and Design Week! Enjoy!