Jane Michael is a house hold name in the fashion industry as an individual and a brand. Over the years she has been able to sustain herself by staying relevant with her creative mind adored by many. Just recently, she badged another title as a designer as she launched her clothing line. She shares insights on how she has been able to balance both responsibilities with ease in this interview with EM’S DAMILOLA SHOTE.
1. PLEASE TELL US MORE ABOUT YOU.
I am a truly energetic, positive, and never-ceasing individual. I love to smile, dance and count the stars. I know what you really want to know is about my job and business ventures so I may as well tell you. I am a stylist, head designer and creative director of the Jane Michael Collection Brand. I am also the Dean of the School of Styling Lagos, a new school targeted at raising creatives in the styling industry.
2. MANY PEOPLE KNOW YOU AS A CELEBRITY STYLIST AND CONSULTANT; WHAT PROMPTED THE DECISION TO BECOME A DESIGNER?
My decision to become a designer was a long time coming really, the real question was when I was going to fully begin. I have always had a passion for everything fashion and style, but I needed to gain my footing in the fashion/styling industry and create a name for myself because as you well know designing isn’t a game for toddlers. In retrospect, I realize I started as a stylist because there was a path God made for me, and that was the career path I travelled until it was time.
3. SINCE THE LAUNCH OF YOUR CLOTHING LINE, HOW HAS THE RESPONSE FROM CLIENTS (AND TARGET MARKET) BEEN?
It has had its ups and down, although more positive than not. It feels as though I am going into business for the first time, and it pretty much reminds me of when I started styling. Although, since I started business in a different sector from what I have been known for, I guess the feeling is appropriate.
4. WHAT DIFFERENCIATES YOUR BRAND MAKING IT UNIQUE FROM OTHERS?
I would say my attention to detail, I am very particular about it. My designs are all about fine lines and clean cuts. I am geared towards outfitting the Ladypreneurs; by this I mean the fashion forward achieving woman who identifies with my brand because it allows her deviate from set patterns, yet be fashionable, sophisticated, and still own her identity. When I design evening or cocktail dresses, I think Oscar-worthy and strive to make my brand of an international standard.
5. THE FASHION INDUSTRY HAS BEEN EVOLVING RAPIDLY; SHARE SOME OF YOUR SECRETS TO STAYING RELEVANT.
The secret to staying relevant is being consistent; even though times are generally hard all round and the industry is more cut-throat than it used to be. Anybody who wants to stay relevant has to channel consistency in the most positive ways possible.
6. DO YOU HAVE ANY PLANS TO RETIRE FROM STYLING SOON,WITH THE NEW ADDITION TO YOUR LINE OF BUSINESS?
Styling is a huge part of fashion, and the foundation of designing so I do not think I could retire from styling. It is my intention to always make a mark as a stylist; there are grounds to break, new aspects to explore. Even as I get busier as a designer, I intend to raise an army of fashion stylists and I think that would be a greater achievement for me.
7. WHAT’S BEEN YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT AS A FASHION STYLIST AND ENTREPENEUR?
I do not have a particular one to point out, but every moment has been a life lesson and a lesson business as well for which I am grateful. I am especially glad for every successful project, constructive criticism and rave reviews which has built my confidence and given me reason not to give up.
8. PLEASE SHARE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES FACED IN THE COURSE OF THIS JOURNEY (styling/designing)
The number one challenge I have faced as a stylist is availability of resources. In designing however, my major challenge has been getting the clients to value my work appropriately in terms of pricing; but I think this will get better with time.
9. HOW DO YOU BALANCE WORK WITH PLEASURE?
My work gives me pleasure in itself, but yes sometimes I need to step away and have some good fun; however, I cannot say that I have been able to do that, but I hope to strike that balance soon.
10. HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE YOUR STYLE?
My personal style is quirky, but when I have to style clients I love to keep it simple, classy, and stylish; preferably evergreen looks.
11.NAME 5 PEOPLE YOU LOOK FORWARD TO STYLING OR HAVE THEM WEAR YOUR DESIGNS SOON.
Kelly Rowland, Top government female officials, All A-list Nigerian artistes, Classy People and You reading this.
12. ADVICE TO YOUTHS WITH THE DESIRE TO START UP A BUSINESS IN YOUR RELATED FIELD….
First you need to do your research properly, then go for it. You do have to make sure you are passionate about it because the hard times will definitely come.