“Ladybrille’s 15 Questions with . . .” is a feature that salutes some of the most important names in the fashion and entertainment industries around the globe, with a particular emphasis on Africa. We hope you are as inspired as we are with the brilliant men and women in these industries that make the world go round.
Today, we profile Abimbola Halima Seriki. Seriki has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Lagos, Nigeria Class of 2007. She also has a certificate diploma in fashion from the prestigious Nikky Africana Institute of Textile and Fashion design in Lagos. She is the exclusive official designer for the Nigerian contestant at the Miss International Beauty Pageant to take place in China, on November 6th, 2011. Enjoy.
Ladybrillemag.com: Describe your career. What exactly do you do?
Abimbola Halima Seriki: I am a fashion designer, couturier, fashion consultant and a business woman. I design and manufacture fashionable clothes ranging from wedding dresses, red carpet outfits/ evening dresses, office wear, casuals and beach wear. I also give fashion advice to people by helping them choose outfits for events, I advise them on how to accessorize, and generally assist them on how to look their best. I groom interested people in the area of etiquette and how to improve on their mannerisms during interviews, red carpet appearances and everyday activities. I also import trendy and fashionable products ranging from shoes, clothes and bags from Europe and America.
Ladybrillemag.com: How did you end up in your chosen field?
Abimbola Halima Seriki: Fashion for me, is a calling. It’s not something am doing because I’m bored or because I cannot (secure) a bank job. When I was a child, I remember vividly how I would take my time to dress up, help my mother dress up, and reprimand my friends if they didn’t combine their clothes well. I would pay so much attention to my appearance and everything that had to do with clothes.
Ultimately, it was just the right thing to do after I graduated from college. Also, I worked part-time at a finance house whilst still in college and I knew I wasn’t cut out for that kind of work. I felt trapped and I desperately needed a way out. I wasn’t getting the fulfillment I craved. Fashion is a part of me and it just felt right and appropriate when I decided to pursue it as a full time career.
Ladybrillemag.com: What has been the most difficult challenge you have faced in getting to where you are?
Abimbola Halima Seriki: The problem of societal acceptance. People expected that I would end up as a lawyer, banker or a medical practitioner. The truth is that most fashion designers in Nigeria don’t go far and they end up “tailoring.” It was hard explaining to people that I didn’t plan to be a tailor. I had bigger dreams. I saw myself going international. I didn’t want to be a local champion. Having to explain my dream and vision to people was quite challenging because when you tell them you want to be a designer, the next thing they say is “Oh! Tailor.”
Ladybrillemag.com: How do you define success?
Abimbola Halima Seriki: To me, success revolves around happiness. Financial happiness, career happiness. . . here has to be an element of personal fulfillment before I consider anyone or any motive successful. In recent times (in Nigeria), success has been degraded to mere show off, the shallow parade of wealth and the abuse of affluence. Success goes way beyond that for me. In my book, anyone who is successful is someone who can turn adversity into happiness and at the same time, achieve personal fulfillment in one’s pursuits.
Ladybrillemag.com: What do you love most about your work?
Abimbola Halima Seriki: When I’m designing or doing anything in my line of work, I feel a certain rush and a burst of happiness; a feeling I like to refer to as a “fashiongasm.” Because I know that at the end of the day, whatever I’m working on is not only going to serve its intended purpose, it is also going to stand out amongst others. What gives me a “fashiongasm,” is seeing the happy looks on the faces of my clients and knowing that I contributed to making them happy. All in all, the positive feedback I always receive; is what I love most about my work.
Ladybrillemag.com: Share with us your memory of the happiest moment in your life.
Abimbola Halima Seriki: I designed and made a carnival outfit made out of plastic bottles, drinking straws and plastic bottle cover. I showcased it during my graduation from fashion school and I got a standing ovation from the proprietress of that school, a woman who is herself a trail blazer in the fashion industry in Nigeria, and who is internationally recognized. At that moment, the realization that I was extremely gifted with the ability to create anything fashionable and glamorous out of nothing dawned on me. That moment was indeed very memorable for me because I knew that after the success of that outfit, I could do anything just by putting my mind to it.
Ladybrillemag.com: What keeps you awake at night?
Abimbola Halima Seriki: The worrisome thought that the world is yet to see what I have to offer keeps me awake at night. I know my talent and capabilities and the truth is, sometimes, I feel like I need to be doing more than I am doing. At times, I still feel trapped because I want the whole world to see how much talent the Almighty has bestowed in me, and how it’s going to reflect positively in the
world. It also worries me to see raw, undiluted potential go to waste because in this environment (Nigeria), people go to college with the mindset of graduating and working for someone or with a company. They end up “slaving” away and wasting the most viral time of their lives, which is their youth.
Ladybrillemag.com: What drives you?
Abimbola Halima Seriki: The passion I have for what I do is more than enough drive. I was born to do this and the surge and flow that comes with the whole package, drives me. The thought of contributing my own quota to the world in a positive and beautiful manner, drives me.
Ladybrillemag.com: What makes you get up everyday to do what you do all over again?
Abimbola Halima Seriki: The feeling that I haven’t done enough, that I haven’t even started to show the world at large my awesome talent and capabilities.
Ladybrillemag.com: What are the daily principles you live by?
Abimbola Halima Seriki: The fear of God, truth, discipline, hard work and beauty.
Ladybrillemag.com: When all is said and done, what is the legacy you want to leave in the fashion field?
Abimbola Halima Seriki: I want to leave a legacy of possibilities and immense achievement in the fashion field. I want designers to believe and know that anything is possible. I want to be remembered as that designer who crossed all barriers and did the unimaginable, the unthinkable.
Ladybrillemag.com: What African artiste are you currently playing in your ipod/blast on your radio?
Abimbola Halima Seriki: P SQUARE!!
Ladybrillemag.com: Who is your favourite African designer?
Abimbola Halima Seriki: Jewel by Lisa.
Ladybrillemag.com: What’s your favourite food to eat?
Abimbola Halima Seriki: Amala and Ogbonna soup.
Ladybrillemag.com: What’s one quirky thing most people don’t know about you?
Abimbola Halima Seriki: I love to eat from the cooking pot.
Founded in 2007, Ladybrille® Magazine is a California based pioneer digital publication demystifying the image of Africans in the west through contemporary African fashion and celebrating the brilliant woman in business and leadership, with an emphasis on the African woman in the diaspora. Our coverage includes stories on capital, access to markets, expertise, hiring and retention, sales, marketing, and promotions.