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Who’s HauTe?: Interview with Bubu Ogisi of iamISIGO

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Established in 2009 and starting off as a small independent company based in Ghana and Nigeria, the iamISIGO clothing label seeks to create a striking awareness of how African culture can be fused with western designs around the world. Many of its concepts are based on the designer, Bubu Ogisi’s eccentric sense of style and her unique ability to mix various trends. The first collection “Cold summer” was released in summer 2009, the second collection “proFASHIONAL”, was inspired by high shoulders and vintage outfits and the third collection “Hot winter” was released in October 2010. Since then it’s been the rise and rise of the fashion designer/stylist. Bubu most recently designed and styled Miss Lagos at the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria (MBGN) beauty pageant. It’s only right we learn more about the brains behind iamISIGO, Bubu Ogisi.

HFA: Who is Bubu Ogisi and what inspired you to create your own fashion label?

BUBU: Bubu Ogisi is a young entrepreneur with an eye for fashion. Bubu Ogisi is stylist/designer who takes life as it comes one day at a time. Fashion has always been a part of my life; I can confidently say it is an obsession of mine. As a young child I loved watching my mother get dressed wondering when I would be old enough to dress up and wear heels but what got me into fashion was the logic behind the construction, the fabric texture and the fit behind each outfit. But I truly decided to become a fashion designer when I was 19 when I realized that it would always be a part of me. I was inspired by the fact that fashion isn’t just an art it is a way of life-a lifestyle.

HFA: You have already released three collections and a fourth one, the spring/summer 2011 collection “Le Poseur” launched in February, tell us a little about each collection and how you’ve grown as a designer.

BUBU: The collection “Cold Summer” was my first collection. It was inspired by the fact that it’s so hot in Africa we still take up dressing like its winter hence the name. The second collection was called “proFASHIONAL” this was me growing as a designer I was becoming a “pro” so to say so this collection had a lot of stripes and box work going on with the fabric. The third collection was called “Hot Winter” that was me again taking the irony any just playing with it, this collection had a lot of jackets and coats because it was for the A/W 2010 collection. Finally my current collection is called Le Poseur which in English means someone or something that is trying to adapt to a culture or clan through its dressing, mannerisms etc. This collection was inspired by the fact that I just moved back to Nigeria from Ghana and I absolutely had no idea how ruthless the Nigerian fashion scene was so basically I had to adapt. This collection was a new me, a transformation so to say, it consists mostly of jersey fabric which is the only fabric that I work with now.

HFA: What does your ‘mood board’ for “Le poseur” collection look like and where did you draw inspiration from?

BUBU: Well, the Le Poseur collection has a sub-collection called “The news” basically the whole collection is soft and easy to wear, with bold colours easy jersey fabric.

HFA: What do you aim for your designs to reflect?

BUBU: I want my designs to reflect who I am, my eccentric and playful but yet elegant self and apparently it does so I’ve heard. I want them to be timeless and fashion is time forget what you’ve heard. It is always changing but I aim for my designs to be worn over and over again; Chanel said to be irreplaceable one has to be different.

HFA: ‘Charlatans’ by iamISIGO is your t-shirt and polo line that features very interesting characters. Who’s your favourite character and why?

BUBU: It’s a funny story because one of the characters is actually me, Sandy; all the characters are people in my life. Sandy is definitely my favourite character because she’s me, aggressive and could careless about what anyone says or does.

HFA: Have you ever worked with any other designers and who will you be interested in working with?

BUBU: Yes, ofcourse as a stylist I have worked with a lot of stylists, designers and celebrities. As a stylist and a designer I have had the privilege of working with so many talented people. For the Arise Fall/Winter Fashion week 2011, I was the assistant stylist for Tiffany Amber, Samantha Cole, Laquan Smith to name a few. I styled Mo’Cheddar’s “Franchise Celebrity” album, I have worked with Canoe Magazine, Made Magazine, Fab Magazine, Elan (234next magazine), Meena, GREY, Ejiro Amos Tafiri, stylist Ola Shobowale, stylists Terence Sambo and Bolaji Animashaun and my very close friend and co-founder of BUBAAI (my styling company) Adebayo Oke-Lawal(designer, Orange Culture) to name a few.

HFA: What demographic would you say your label caters to and why?

BUBU: The iamISIGO line is targeted at females and males between the ages of 18 and 38: For people who want to play with fashion, for people who don’t take life to serious that who the line is for.

HFA: You’ve told us that a majority of the clothing is handcrafted. What goes into the designing of your pieces and how long does it typically take you to complete one of your handcrafted pieces?

BUBU: Well, for and outfit or a collection, we at iamISIGO have phases so to say which we take in order to complete a project. First is the Plan/Design meaning time frame for outfit(s), the logistics behind the outfit, the type of fabric to be used all of this is important to us at iamISIGO. After this has been achieved then we can now implement/execute the project. All in all this should take about a week or so.

HFA: Besides designing, what else do you enjoy doing? Or are you a full time fashion designer?

BUBU: Besides designing, I am also a stylist and an image consultant, co founder of the styling company called BUBAAI. But still I am not a full time stylist or designer believe it or not I go to work, lol! But I still find a way to balance everything out and I am glad that I have the strength to keep up with all of them.

HFA: Describe you style in one sentence.

BUBU: My style is eccentric, playful and a little bit bizarre so to say.

HFA: What do you love about being a part of the African fashion industry?

BUBU: I love the fact that I get to meet so many talented people who want to the best at what they do and that energy just pushes you to be the best at what you do too.

HFA: What can we look forward to seeing in the future of iamISIGO?

BUBU: The iamISIGO strategy is to aggressively develop and market a full range collection to consumers. The company intends to market its line as an alternative to existing clothing lines and differentiate itself through its marketing strategies, exclusiveness, and brand awareness. iamISIGO intends to build on its core portfolio of products and overcome any obstacles by using the company’s expertise in the fashion industry.

The company’s goal in the next year is to make an overwhelming impact on the fashion industry and create a large consumer demand for the product. The company’s goal in the next 2-5 years is to venture into accessories. It plans to also license a line of furniture and small leather goods.

HFA: Who are the stockists of your label and/or where are your designs available for purchase?

BUBU: At the moment we have no stockists. Designs are available by appointment only +2348034087789 +233246553835 and at the showroom: 2 Our Saviours street, Lekki Beach, Lagos.

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