So whilst you all are out there getting your FAB Magazine: The Music/Cool Issue and having fun at the expense of our hard work, (lol) we are yet again working on another noble project, one that will ensure that we birth the next generation of amazing mega-designers from across Western Africa and ensure that they lead and influence the world of fashion in a global manner!

For ten years now I have tailored some of the best suits Africa can boast of; had my garments worn by those some could only dream of and have featured in quite a number of runway shows at home and abroad, and I must say I have learnt the lessons of trading garments the hard way. I look at all the mistakes I have made in the past; the scars I still live with from the physical fights (two memorable ones, of which I will intimate you with one) I have had with tailors who worked for me in the past and such-like and I say to myself, it need not be this way for every aspiring designer!

The business of fashion is indeed a tough one where building a reputation is key. If you know me personally, you would know that I live for my name because as I told FAB Magazine Fashion editor recently: A GOOD NAME IS BETTER THAN RICHES! This might be cliché but I will have you know that A GOOD NAME WILL BRING YOU RICHES, EVENTUALLY! By the way, I’m blessed with such a fine name; FAMILUSI AKIN BABAJIDE (You may call me FAB! Lol!) I always strive to make my clients happy by giving them better than they hoped for whilst delivering products in a timely manner but unfortunately this is not always the case as you would find in the short but true story below!

A week to the Hip-Hop World Awards in March, 2007, I got a call from Mr. Obi Asika, Chairman of the Storm Group, a man I have a lot of respect for and who has made immense contributions to the entertainment industry not just in Nigeria but Africa! I was meeting with him shortly after about having about 14 different outfits made for all the directors, executives, artists and talents signed to Storm at the time. Of course I was excited but in my mind I was thinking, CAN I DELIVER?

I knew I had capacity to deliver 7 garments within the allotted time and thought to myself, if I can recruit tailors who had trained with me in the past to come into my factory on contract to execute this then I will be able to meet up with the set target. Fast-forward 2 hours, I had my cheque in hand, four measurements taken and was heading to my studio to figure out what would work for all 14 individuals. Fast-forward 24 hours later, I had communicated the designs et al to all concerned and already gone to work on the first four garments, putting all on hold as this was going to be a whole collection put on display at the awards ceremony! Fast-forward to Thursday, I am still chasing artists at STORM for measurements with barely 6 hours of sleep this whole time!

Saturday (event day) comes and it’s 12noon – I am almost at the point of dying of exhaustion and hunger but would not stop working. Eventually, the pangs of hunger drove me to a nearby restaurant to grab something for me and my staff. Upon my return, one hour later, I find that my head tailor/production manager had left. WHERE THE HELL IS HE?! WHERE COULD HE HAVE GONE?! No-one could say! Here I was, barely 6 garments done and one-man down! The feeling I felt at that time was an awful mix of anger, exhaustion, disappointment in self, depression, more anger and I am sure a lesser mortal would have committed suicide shortly after!

40 minutes later a fight broke out! Where?! Why?! With whom?! You may ask. It was yours truly, rolling on the floor with a tailor and punching away! Did he deserve to be beat-up? Of course not! I was so frustrated to find him two streets away doing what? WATCHING LIVERPOOL PLAY!!!

I am sure some of you are laughing and some may even say I lacked common sense taking on such a workload, but when it comes to a young and passionate person, nothing is usually impossible and believe me, I have achieved a lot with this belief that I CAN DO ALL THINGS! I remember delivering exactly 7 garments that day and recall Gideon Okeke, of the Big Brother fame (signed to STORM at the time) rushing down to my factory and getting dressed right there and then to go on stage as the compere for the event 30minutes later! I have since made garments for quite a number of celebrities, STORM celebs inclusive and as I write I have made almost 40,000 different garments in 10 years!! 

I believe it is time to source and find talent in the field of fashion designing from across West Africa and groom them to make less mistakes whilst taking them to heights hitherto unattained in the industry on a global scale in record time! How do we do this? Through WAND! West Africa’s Next Designer!

WAND is a unique event established to discover, develop, nurture and groom young Turks in fashion to their full potential. The event is deeply committed to unearthing the talents in these vibrant and dynamic minds. The vision and mission of the event are woven around the unique blend of creativity and fun while ensuring that the talents are discovered NOW. Time is of essence.

John 15:16 says “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and [that] your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.”  I believe I was chosen, I did not choose myself, to bring forth better fruit than myself and I am firmly committed to ensuring these fruit (amazing designers) “remain”.

Contestants will be selected based on the body of work submitted. Entry requirements: Designers between ages 18 and 30, a 200-word bio, a portfolio of your work with at least 10 photos and accompanying sketches, a valid birth certificate from whichever West African country the designer is from and a high school leaving certificate. Details must be sent to: [email protected] or 3, ABIOLA SEGUN AJAYI STREET, VICTORIA ISLAND, LAGOS, NIGERIA. Lagos. The deadline for all submissions is 29th July, 2011. Terms and Conditions apply.

WEST AFRICAS NEXT DESIGNER – where the Young Turks get a shot at the world stage!

It took decades for many to get there. It could take you only six weeks!


I look forward to welcoming you to the big league and I wish you the very best!


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