When it comes to getting ahead in any industry, the average Nigerian automatically thinks ‘school’. But the state of our country right now has made us question the need for a degree. The usual idea is that you have to know someone somewhere that can help you get ahead. There is a possibility that uni may not be for you and even when you have the degree, you want to stir your ship to a creative island (like fashion).
The choice to make a start in the creative fashion industry is a big decision. You may have come across people that studied physics and are producers, or mathematicians who are fashion designers (like our very own Tokyo!). That is not uncommon in western countries. If you are ready to take that risk, we can advise you on how to get there. It could be anything (starting a fashion label, designing, fashion styling) and this can be applied to various other fields. Here is what to keep in mind:
-Research cannot be over emphasized. With the internet age, we are exposed to a lot of information at a quick rate. Even in school, this advice is re-occurring. You cannot achieve the most with just what you learnt in class, you have to go the extra mile. The same applies to the creative industry. There is no school that teaches the specifics of being creative. What you need to do is have an open mind and you will learn a lot.
Also, there are life experiences that can help shape your creative mind. A perfect example will be travelling. Before you dive into the world of the business of fashion, you should want to get the right mindset and exposure. This will involve seeing how things are designed differently and how people work in different parts of the world. Life experiences can be as influential and inspiring as a degree. Most of these experiences may have happened during your university days, which is a place where you get to meet diverse personalities and maybe nationalities. If you skipped that time, you have to take time off to gain that back. Your degree holding friends will have nothing on you.
Another important variable in the mix is mentorship. Some people get discouraged because they think that the successful creatives will be reluctant to take them under their wings. You may never know until you try. There are African designers and stylists that have made it in the business. It is important to contact these creatives for help, advice or even work experience. Mentorship programmes are helpful for both the degree holders and the creatives. Whatever area you want to go into, there are people that have achieved the most there. It definitely won’t be a bad idea to learn from their experiences and challenges. This will give you a chance to have first-hand experience in the success of the industry.
The world and Africa are beginning to warm up to the idea of being a creative. The youths of this time have to find a way to survive the hardships and constant changes in the world today. The creative industry may not be a calling for every one (after all we also need financial investors). Nonetheless, if you feel the creative fire burning, take a chance and follow these steps. You might be surprised where it may take you.
Written by Nkem Ikeh