Sunday, 28 June 2009

From the wig to the beauty palour

I avoid foreign brands when it comes to make up products. When there is a fault in the Nigerian product, I complain to the manufacturer and such criticism will help them grow. The fact is that people do not complain, they just assume they know, forgetting that they have to improve in the work.

GBEMISOLA Adenuga is a lawyer with Hope of 9JA (HO9). Having participated in the maiden edition of Photographers Association of Nigeria’s media parley, she tells CHIEMEREM UMENNE the concept and inspiration behind HO9, its activities, artists’ world and her personality.

What is Hope of 9ja?
The business behind HO9 is to restore hope to the entertainment and infotainment industry. On closer look at the artists (photographers, make-up artistes, fashion designers etc) in the country, you’ll see they are not appreciated as much as their value worth unlike the bankers, lawyers, doctors and other white collar job seekers. It is not because they are not important, but people do not see it. The idea is to show the public the huge potentials of this set of workers; so as to see the future hope in Nigeria’s artists. The concept is to also make a shift from the oil and see real business in other sectors.
Besides, one major necessity in life, which is clothing has so much business to its credit. In clothing, you have dresses and beauty. In beauty, you have make-up artists; and you have the people that bring work of make-up artistes to your face. That is, the photographers. It is high time we began to see these figures as being very important. Another truth is that in all fashion shows, you also see these figures. Aside the designers or the event’s organisers, do we really give credit to the make-up artistes or the photographers?
With all these in right right position, it will not be difficult to see a parent discouraging their child from doing things out of his or her talent or saying — be a lawyer instead of an artist.
Everybody wants to wear designs such as Gucci because it has sustained its brand over the years. This is exactly the idea we are importing here. We want to ensure that the Nigerian brands can compete favourably with international ones. An average British will first choose British brands in a dress or make-up. The truth is, it is high time Nigerians engaged in this sort of patriotism.
But where are the brands? This is why we want to give credit to its practitioners, bring out the upcoming ones and also sustain them.
The birth of Hope of 9JA
Actually, we have been operating for some years now, but we came into formal into existence a year ago. Our first outing conference with the press was in September, 2008; where we had Modella, Bayo, Camara Studio, Kelechi Amadi-Obi and a host of other artists in attendance. There, we shared what we conceptualised. This is why the Photographers Association of Nigeria (PAN) has just called on us for collaboration as well as support so as to build and sustain their association; hence, reposition the general industry.
Collaborators in the business
We work basically with the designers, In April, we organised a workshop for them. Prince Oyepuji, Modella-Afric and others were present, though it was facilitated by Modella-Afric. The purpose of collaboration is to explore professionalism and its common errors. We have participated in events, exhibitions and shows like Tara Open School. I am currently in discussions with make-up icons to see to the formation of their forum aimed at projecting their identity just like PAN.
Challenges so far
As a person, I barely have one because my hubby is also in the creative industry as a professional photographer. The industry’s challenges are always on common errors... people, sometimes do not cut clothes according to pattern. Obviously, because they did not learn from the appropriate institute or channel. In such case, they cannot get a perfect cut fit for their clients. The perception of the public is another bane. The economic instability is a greater one also.
Stepping up the creative industry
We have to be patriotic. This is the only way we can make up. Yes, we have our problems. Since we have identified that, let us embrace the solutions. This is exactly the reason for Hope of 9JA — to convey those solutions through creativity. Personally, I avoid foreign brands when it comes to make up products. When there is a fault in the Nigerian product, I complain to the manufacturer and such criticism will help them grow. The fact is that people do not complain, they just assume they know, forgetting that they have to improve in the work. In dresses, I sew them because I have a unique shape and can rarely have a comfortable fit from the ready-made market. And now, we see beautiful collection of Nigerian designs in various fabrics. This is patriotism, but we need to do more. We are talking about re-branding Nigeria, we can equally bring our home artists in on the project. A photographer’s work at the various embassies can be well portrayed either
on a canvass drawing, stencil or even other forms, as part of what Nigeria’s got to offer. So many inherent and emerging trends to be done through photographing are not yet unveiled and until we lay hold on this, we may not discover them.
What’s ahead of the project
We look forward to building various products, where we can project through partnering with some national magazines, hence, showcasing that there are home talents who can be patronised without regrets. Another thing is that in dress making, for instance, the African figure is different from European figure in terms of uniqueness and such information will have to be projected in partnered magazine outfits.
As a lawyer in the creative circle
I take on advisories in business and its legal frameworks. I also try to see their competence in business and other events, which they are in, and advise on how to forge ahead. Because the creative job is practical and tasking, I encourage them on personal projects so they build and upgrade their skills and we, in turn, project them in our legally established website.

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