Tobenna of Harvella Styles is an editorial, commercial and celebrity stylist.
From putting outfits together for family members as a child, to becoming a full-fledged celebrity stylist, Tobenna is ensuring that her brand Harvella Styles becomes a name to be reckoned with in the fashion industry in Nigeria.
In a sit-down with Accelerate TV, the graduate of International Fashion Marketing from Manchester University, United Kingdom talks about styling music’s biggest names, how she grew her brand reputation from the ground up and her creative process.
1. How did your interest in fashion start?
I realized at a young age that dressing is a way to represent yourself without speaking. I feel in love with fashion more in my teens and decided to peruse a BSc Degree in Fashion.
2. Having studied International Fashion Marketing BSc., When did you decide to pursue styling as a career?
Whilst I was a teen I began putting together outfits for friends and family when they had special occasions. I later decided to go down the business aspect of fashion, gaining educational knowledge which lead to me becoming a Fashion stylist and Fashion retailer.
3. How did you grow your brand’s reputation and clientele? And how did this lead to styling Toke Makinwa?
After studying in the United Kingdom I moved back to Lagos, Nigeria to pursue my career. I feel networking and freelancing with established magazines is a way to build up your portfolio. Harvella Styles has now become a name to be reckoned with in the fashion industry, Styling Nigerian A-listers.
4. Who has been your most interesting client so far and what was styling them like?
I love all my clients they have their own uniqueness about them. When styling them we make sure their look reflects the sophistication and work on taking simple and turning it into fabulous.
5. Who is one individual/celebrity you would really love to style and why?
I would love to style Beyoncé from her gorgeous red carpet gowns to oh-so-cool street styles. Beyoncé has amazing confidence and some seriously amazing hairstyles. Beyoncé rules the fashion stakes we know her as Queen Bey for a reason.
6. Where do you get inspiration for your styling?
The world of fashion is always evolving, trends change on a seasonal basis and often reflect the overall sentiment of culture at any given time. My inspirations come from travelling the world, seeing different street styles. Also fashion Magazines to keep up to date on the latest trends. Business of Fashion blog is also Key to research up and coming style predictions.
7. Your instructional styling videos are very educational, why did you stop?
Thank you, that is something that we are working on providing new content and styling tips, that are easy for people to learn and follow. We will be giving you new videos soon, we have not stopped.
8. What are some of the rewards that come with being a professional stylist?
If you follow your dream it’s the best reward, fashion styling allows you to travel the world and also gives you sneak peeks into collections before it’s released to the public.
9. What steps do you think the fashion industry in Nigeria needs to take, in order to make its designs and style global?
In Nigeria, we are quiet Fashion-forward and our yearly fashion shows with Gtbank, Arise allows designers the opportunities to showcase their pieces. However, we as a country need to export our goods so our brands can become more global, although that can prove difficult sometimes due to manufacturing facilities we have here in Nigeria.
10. What do you envision for the future of Harvella Styles?
We intended to move the brand globally styling more international celebrities, also creating amazing content with our retail looks from our website www.harvella.comwhich gives the average women steps on how to style looks.
One thing Tobenna made clear through this interview is that style is very important. It dictates how you are received and it is unique to each individual.
With that said, to learn easy tricks to up your style, you can watch episodes of Fashion Fix here. Be sure to let us know if these looks worked for you, in the comments.
By: Joan K. Vincent-Otiono