A Chat With Some Of The Nigerian Fashion Industry's Brightest New Faces

Words: Richard Akuson
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We asked models Samiko Odunukwe, Daniel Udoye, Toluwalope Adeboyeku and Jude Meju four of Nigeria’s most promising new faces working in fashion right now to comment on some issues dear to our hearts. Speaking on issues ranging from politics to feminism, they shared their thoughts as we photographed them on the rooftop of a six-storey building in the sprawling heart of Victoria Island, Lagos.

For this story, the models were shot by Zamani Istifanus, and styled by Lotachukwu Ayogu-Eze in select Orange Culture Spring ’17 pieces.

On Politics

Samiko: Nigeria has always been a nation with amazing prospects for greatness. Unfortunately, different types of people with different interests have come into power and have caused the affairs of polity to deteriorate greatly. Things have become so bad that the people themselves have little or no faith in the possibility of the nation ever being corruption free or great at all. The leaders that the people put in power only care for their selfish desires. The few that care for the state of the nation have had their voices are drowned out by the sheer mass of self-serving leaders.
Tolu: I am indifferent about politics in Nigeria but then I can say it is a very dirty game that one doesn’t want to find themselves in because once you are in, it’s not easy backing out.
Daniel: Politics in Nigeria is not where it ought to be right now. I can say this because the primary aim of politics should be to impact positively on the state of the country which, right now, is nothing to write home about.
Jude: Our political landscape is for ccorrupt as observed in the recent cases of fund mismanagement and budget padding.

On Unemployment

Samiko: I don’t fear finishing school and not having a job at all. You can make a job out of anything if you want to. I can drop out of school now and still get a job. Also, the state of unemployment is not the best but, like I said before, you can make a job out of anything.
Tolu: The rate of unemployment is really high and this encourages students to back out of school as their future after is uncertain. Therefore, there’s been a rise in the crime rate. Personally, I fear finishing school and not getting a job but what keeps me going is my parents’ hope and backing. Also, I believe with God, all will be well.
Daniel: It’s really bad. According to research only a tenth of graduates after service (a compulsory National Youth Service scheme designed for Nigerian College graduates) tend to have jobs. I don’t fear not having a job after school because I intend to make something of myself before finishing school.
Jude: The unemployment rate is high and is worsened by the large number of entrants in the labour market. I don’t fear not having a job because of my entrepreneurial spirit and business orientation.

On Feminism

Samiko: I’m all for female empowerment and that we can do anything we want no matter what. Now, we have women telling the amazing stories of their struggles and how they have survived. I’m happy about that. We’re good. I don’t know the lengths people are still going through for that but I feel we’re good. Women are the ones doing a lot of things now. We fought and we won.
Tolu: Feminism is necessary because no gender is above the other. I can say I am a strong supporter of feminism. So I am a feminist.
Daniel: Firstly, I’m not a feminist. Secondly I don’t believe it’s necessary although I believe every man or woman should have equal rights.
Jude: Yes I think it is relevant. I’m just indifferent.

On Gender Roles

Samiko: I would say gender roles are existent and sometimes important but not overriding. Meaning, there are differences between what men and women can do and that will come to play when things need to get done in different settings. However, that doesn’t mean that because of these few differences everything should be discriminated based on gender.
Tolu: Well clearly each gender has separate roles to play in every setting (family and work) but then the search to pay the bills makes it hard to separate the roles. So the necessity of gender roles depends on the area of life being examined.
Daniel: As the popular saying goes, “what a man can do a woman can do better,” but in my own case, I believe its vice-versa. That being said, there are some specific roles only men can play and also some specific roles only women can play.
Jude: I think the term “gender roles” has been somehow over emphasized because nowadays we have people who take these roles as one and not specific to one gender. I’m quite indifferent to be honest.

On Education

Samiko: I’m not sure there’s anything such as the best education. But one thing I’m sure of is that books don’t cut it, especially not in this age where people pay not just for head knowledge but for initiative and exceptionalities. So the cost of receiving anything close to the best education should be you as an individual taking it upon yourself to expand your horizon and learn beyond what you’re being taught in school.
Tolu: I won’t say I am receiving the best but then it is not bad. However, some lecturers tend to frustrate the idea of receiving good education. I can say I am receiving a decent percentage of good education and a little cost is on my parents and most is on the government (as I attend a public school) when it comes to school fees, but for upkeep, the cost is on my parents.
Jude: I won’t say I’m receiving the best education because of the poor education standard, red tapism and curriculum lag.

On Sex for Favours

Samiko:  I believe sex for favors is an avenue which people see as an easy way to get money without having to work hard. Although, there are cases where the perpetrators use this as a stepping stone to actually make something out for themselves. Religion aside, I don’t condemn those who do this, I just believe they are being misled and they do not know the powerful things they are capable of doing.
Tolu: My take on sex for jobs or favor is that it makes the person seeking that lose their self-respect and, as a result, they don’t have any value for themselves. I am totally against using sex as a bargaining chip.
Daniel: I’m not in support of sex for money or favors but if they are doing it for the pleasure I have nothing against it because everyone has a right to make their choices.
Jude: Sex for favors is driven by several factors, the main being a fast source of income. It is not a good practice and should be curbed.

Team Credits

Richard Akuson

  • Editorial Director

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A Nasty Boy
Otherness in Fashion, People and Culture.
Richard Akuson
Editorial Director