Tuesday, 17 March 2009

‘The cutting... is my love’

THERE’s a sheath gown on the mannequin at the right side of the shop. The drape is narrow and fitting. It hugs the silhouette and its most flattering for tall, slender figures. Also, an A-line gown that has a fitted bodice, which extends to a full skirt at the natural waistline is displayed in the showcase outside. The A-line cut creates an illusion of height for the petit figure.
Puegeren Tubore Victoria, the proprietor of Trends Viva, located in Ikorodu, Lagos, looks at the clothes in the show glass and heaves a sigh of relief. She’s just completed sewing a prom gown. An addition to the number of clothes she has prepared for her coming show. She walks to where her apprentices are to cut some fabrics, using the paper draft-out, and says, “I’m really excited that this gown has been completed. Hopefully, we will complete the others tomorrow.”
You could tell by her giggle and the apparent delight of freeing a memory from a normally guarded vault that she’s going to have a great show. She says, “dresses are fun to make and very rewarding, whether it’s a simple sundress or a gown. Making your own dress is a big accomplishment.”
She points out that she is very comfortable with light weight 100 per cent, cotton, denim, corduroy, light weight wool, wool blends, silk, rayon, velvet and knit.
Victoria says, “I’m very comfortable with every fabric. Everyone has its texture and manner of manipulating them to bring out their own creative look.”

THE 2002 graduate of Fisheries and Aquatic Biology from the Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo, says she took to dressmaking in 2003 because when she graduated, she didn’t want to work for anybody at all and was also not interested in owning a fish pond or working in one.
Though from childhood, she had been very good in creative things, she was not comfortable enough to venture into the fashion world. Friends advised her to go into it since she had the flair and was good at making dresses.
She actually took up fashion and dressmaking, when she came in contact with a designer in South Africa called Sam Pierre, whom she trained under for two years before coming back home to Nigeria.
So what’s the difference between dressmaking and styling?
Victoria answers cheerfully, “dressmaking is the art of draft-out and bringing a fabric alive on paper, while styling is the art of shaping out the desire of the customer on the fabric.” She adds, “dressmaking is calculated measurement of a person on a brown paper before transferring to the material.”
She says, “in making a dress, it is important to understand everything about it: putting together the shape, the line, the feel of the fabric, and more to enhance the wearer’s figure.”

HOW did she come about a fashion school?
She says, “because of the need to train more people in the art of fashion design and dressmaking. When a lot of people trust what you can do with the fabrics, you don’t have any choice but to train others in that art.”
Since November 2007, till date, she has been teaching workers in the art of dressmaking through pattern drafting (draft out). Since then, most students have been workers and housewives, who do so on part-time basis.
Her Inspiration? “It’s God. My mum too. She’s a hardworking woman, who is dedicated to what she is doing. People I meet everyday and things around me also influence me.”
Initially, it was challenging because I was a novice — my clothes encouraged people to come; from then, the number of clients grew. The joy made me to start teaching people. Really, since 2008, it has been financially rewarding.”
Victoria says to succeed in life, “you have to be close to God as a person. You also have to be focused and working towards your goal, no matter the trial, you’ll get there. Be diligent and natural and you’ll see how life will treat you; also, be friendly, simple, cautious and careful and, take life as it comes.”
Her message for young ladies, who are trying their hands on the art of dressmaking, “they should try to be focussed, good things in life don’t come free. They have to work towards it. They just have to be dedicated.”

THE lady, who has spent all her life in Lagos, had her primary education at Kosofe Prrimary School and later went to Kosofe College, Ketu.

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