by Yemi Olowu
Damien O’daniel is owner and creative director of O’daniel Clothing. He is an economics graduate of Covenant University, Ogun state, whose journey as a designer started officially, about two years ago.
What is the origin of your label?
O’daniel actually started off designing ties for an accessories company named ‘Knots and Cacks’. After doing that for a while, I started designing clothes for my own clothing line and shortly after that, O’daniel clothing was born.
What was the first piece of clothing you ever designed?
A neck tie! Actually I made the design for myself to have them customised but the tie company loved it and asked me to start designing for them!
What are the fabrics you like working with?
I like working with cotton, silk and linen a lot… also lately I’ve taken a liking for satin and african prints.
Which international designer would you like to work with?
I’d love to work with Tom Ford and Ralph Lauren. I think they are amazing designers!
What matters to you most as a designer?
Originality and creativity! If you always have to imitate other people’s design, I wouldn’t respect you as a designer. Also creativity is the very essence of being a designer; the ability to be able to always bring out a different dimension.
What are your accomplishments as a designer?
Well, within the one year of running the line, we’ve been featured on various blogs, had a runway show and clothed a number of celebrities as well as recorded impressive sales in Lagos, Abuja and even outside the country!
What inspires your designs?
A lot! Ranging from nature, to architecture, to cartoons, to fabrics and body types… I get inspiration from so many sources and most importantly, the one who gave me the talent, God almighty!
What are the problems you face as a designer in this part of the world?
Well, first off we have the power problem which affects every industry and increases the cost of production. Also, there is the market limitation with regards to availability of certain fabrics. And finally, there is a lot of ‘copy-cat’ work in the fashion industry today.
How would you rate the Nigerian fashion industry?
I’d say upcoming. There is a lot of raw talent here in Nigeria, gifted designers…a ll we need is proper refining of these talents and Lagos could be on its way to becoming a fashion capital like Milan and New York.
If you were not a designer what would you have been?
I’d have probably been an investment banker.
Who are your favourite designers locally?
I admire Deola Sagoe’s work and David Bowler.
Are you one of those who think government can support designers – and how?
Well, I believe if the problem of power is addressed that’s a good way to start! And also grants and loans to upcoming designers could be helpful as well as reducing the rate of clothing importation into the country so as to allow home made brands grow.
Where do you see your label in 10 years?
In the next 10 years by God’s grace, I see O’daniel as a clothing brand to be reckoned with not only in Africa but outside the shores. I see at least a piece of O’daniel clothing item in every other Nigerian home.
What do you say to aspiring designers?
Stay original, stay focused, put in a lot of work and always ask God for favour.