Veronica Odeka has been a fave of mine since I first came across her in 2017.
Born and raised in Houston Texas, U.S.A., Ronnie has a strong background in runway modeling, she is the CEO of Vanestyles (a style consulting firm that boasts a plethora of stellar clients) and the creator of Vane Beauty (her nail polish range).
This meeting was coincidental but bumping into her was beyond a fan girl moment…
I walked into the Odio Mimonet studio determined to quickly pull the outfits I would use to style our Cover girl, Chigul.
(Odio Mimonet (OM) is one of the only brands I could look to on short notice to pull plus size outfits and they are also one of the stellar clients under VANESTYLES)
As soon as I entered the studio, I walked right into a very busy Veronica; pacing through the studio space with an elegant gait, delegating tasks to her assistants whilst expertly answering phone calls and making mental notes.
As I sat with Veronica, she was in the middle of preliminary planning for the first ever African Haute Couture Collection hosted by OM.
I could only steal 5 minutes of her time without any distractions so best believe I made those minutes count.
Read through to see how she’s changing the narrative and redefining African Fashion (one brand at a time).
Why did you move to Nigeria and how long have you worked in West Africa as a whole?
I’ve worked here for ten years , striving to give the right talents tools and exposure.
Veronica’s passion shone through as we discussed her dilemma with knowing her worth in a job vs. her passion to help those who actually need it (and who may not be able to afford her services.)
Due to being so thorough your costly services may act as a barrier to those who truly need and wish to be a part of it.
I’ve once taken up a client pro bono, knowing fully well the person could not afford my services but based solely on encouraging and unlocking the the raw talent and potential in the person.
The fashion business is worth about $23 billion but we aren’t even scratching 0.15% of this figure at this end of the world.
What is the biggest challenge preventing West African brands from playing in the international leagues?
The internationals couldn’t take us seriously when it came to production and finishing.
Once they order 500 pieces can we meet the numbers?
And even if we meet the numbers, when they get the 500 pieces, our finishing is off.
How is this problem affecting the national leagues?
Even Nigerian consumers cannot support their indigenous brands. Clients hire me to style them but I’d end up buying the product elsewhere
What can be done to change things?
Some Nigerian designers have stepped up their game but they can’t continue to ignore;
Their Technique, Production, Finishing and Developing.
Designers must really get to know (and in so doing satisfy) their customers, every step of the way.
They must stay within the aesthetic of the brand, watch documentaries to develop themselves and create a story behind the brand from creation to consumption.
Which designers are already off to a good start?
Deola Sagoe and Tiffany Amber.
As far as understanding consumers, style, brand aesthetic and more, Tiffany Amber for the win!
Word of advice to West African Designers?
Why is it a fail when international acts come to Nigeria, ‘to teach us something we don’t know?’
They are so detached and even end up tapping your talent.
Do the work yourselves!
Research, Study, Consume documentaries
Learn the techniques
Learn the fabrics
Adhere to details
In that order! We wish the best of luck to Veronica in all her endeavours.
By: Joan K. Vincent-Otiono