Exquisite Magazine’s Designer Dossier takes you behind the scenes and life of your favourite designers. It’s a special treat on what it is like to be a Designer.
We had a Q&A with Henrietta Nwobi of MagnifiquebyHenrie and she let us into how her fashion design journey started, where she is right now, and where she sees herself in the future.
How did your journey begin?
I officially started my journey in March 2019 but Fashion has always been a part of my life. I grew up around very fashionable and successful women who would always create time to make their own outfits even though they were very busy. I always admired that.
I also grew up reading high-end fashion magazines and I’ve always known it was something I’d love to do sooner or later. I started sketching my own designs from 2016 when I met this really amazing tailor in Ibadan. Although she could see through my pictures and explanations, there were still some tiny details missing here and there so I decided to learn on my own and bring my sketches to life and here we are.
What is your Signature Style?
My signature style is chic, modern, elegant and retro.
What has been your best moment as a Designer?
My best moment is always seeing satisfactory smiles on the faces of my customers.
Also, I was part of a fashion competition last year, Design Fashion Africa and barely 6 months after Magnifique launched officially. I was one of the 5 contestants picked to intern under Iteun Basi. It meant a lot to me because she’s a legend in the industry and I absolutely love her.
What’s been your worst moment as a designer?
The day I went fabric shopping and I was harassed by random hoodlums. It was quite
traumatising. I have had experiences with some special (difficult) customers too though but nothing tops the fabric shopping experience.
Describe where you are right now as a Designer?
I’m at a place where I’m trying to infuse a more aesthetic feel to my Designs. Also trying to break into the male fashion space so it’s a lot of experimenting going on right now until I am very comfortable. I’m sure I will know when I get to that point.
On a scale of 1-10, what has been your response from customer satisfaction.
I will say an 8 and a half. Honestly, it has been overwhelmingly great especially since I started male clothes too. Their responses encouraged me to keep going and do more.
When did you first realise that you’ve made it?
Have I? I’m definitely not where I want to be yet but I’m grateful for the journey, progress and experience. I’ll say I had that realisation when random people, not friends now, refer to me as a fashion designer. It means they acknowledge my impact, regardless of how tiny I feel it is in the fashion industry.
What makes your brand different from others?
All the designs from Magnifique are tailored to our client’s specifications. From everyday
shirts to gowns to native wears, all outfits are made to fit the customer’s personality perfectly.
Our designs give a modern yet exclusive feel to the customers. Also, We aim to provide
premium, quality clothes at the lowest possible prices so that our customers, no matter their financial status, can rock quality clothes.
How have you stayed motivated with design and production during the pandemic?
– First and foremost, it was tough! It was a huge struggle but I pulled through. I stayed motivated by doing the tiniest yet most valuable things. Production was not a lot for the first 2-3 months during lockdown but it gradually started picking up again. I stayed motivated by sketching new designs, drawing abstract things (I enjoy drawing), listening to music & my daily affirmation. I also remind myself why I decided to go into fashion designing in the first place.
What inspires your creativity?
I draw my inspiration from anything and everything basically. It’s crazy but true. I could be at the beach, look at the sky & boom! an idea pops up. It’s really anything honestly but mostly nature. I try to recreate my imagination of nature sometimes.
Kindly share tips to stay successful in the industry.
– First and foremost, I’ll say believe in yourself. Whatever you win, you get. It is because you made it happen! Do not feel undeserving of anything.
– Stay hungry and be teachable. No one knows it all and we learn every day.
– Collaborate with other creatives, it helps a lot!
– Be consistent
– Have a good attitude towards everyone from the fabric seller, dispatch riders, to your customers & everyone in between.
– Do not limit yourself and be your greatest cheerleader.
– Stay grateful and believe in God.
What’s next for you?
– Like I said earlier, it’s a lot of experimenting going on right now & I am super confident &
excited of what the future holds. I am also looking to break into the global market and
collaborate with top international brands. Fingers crossed, wish me luck!
What advice will you give to startups who have a similar vision as you?
– Anything and everything is possible, if you believe it and put in work.
-Do not stop pushing and be consistent. It might be slow at first but it only gets better.
Share 5 fun facts about you.
– I was the best dancer in secondary school from JSS1 – SS3, undefeated
– I can dance for hours without stopping to take water or food
– I do not know how to swim but I love water
– I am a huge football fan, I played football for my department’s team at the university. I support the Arsenal club and I have cried over football in the past.
– One of my native names means “women are too much in the family”
You can catch up with Henrietta and shop her designs in her extended world of design, on @magnifiquebyhenrie on Instagram