StyleEYE on stylist Onyinye Fafi Obi

by Yemi Olowu

Our StyleEYE is back! He talks to budding stylist, Onyinye Fafi Obi, the bubbly lady who stands out as a grounded young woman who knows her industry and is prepared to put in the required work to excel as a stylist. “Hard work pays! Don’t focus on the money. Focus on the technique you are building. Fashion styling is not a glamorous job! Research and soak up as much knowledge as you can,” Onyinye emphatically says in this revealing interview. Read on…

What made you choose to become a stylist?
I have always loved fashion, and I was amazed at fashion styling and its artistic and creative value. At the age of 17, I admired Nigerian stylists Omoyemi Akerele and Bola Balogun, I remember being home after graduation from high school, researching and plotting to become a makeup artist, and bam! – I stumbled upon fashion styling and that was it.

How did you start off?
Practically, I started off assisting stylists at shoots; soaking up knowledge. I actively started styling 6 months ago and it has been great so far. It’s hectic though.

What inspires you?
Anything. Plenty of research, films, people, places, and also random fashion editorials shot  by Patrick Demarchelier. He is my favourite fashion photographer, followed by Ellen Von Unwerth and the fabulous duo, Mert and Marcus.

If you could choose any celebrity to make-over who would it be and why?
Wow! I think I’d choose Essence. I love her skin tone and  I believe with my help, she’d be more stylish than ever. I love her voice, by the way!

Who have you worked for – both personalities and publications?
None for now because I am still in school, and it can be hectic combining the two, but I believe that soon, I will!

What do you love about being a stylist?
The creative freedom and ability to take risks with clothes. The amazing people you meet and work with and also the fabulous designers too!

What is the biggest challenge when it comes to styling?
The risks involved in putting outfits together and the delivery of the pieces back to the designer!

In your opinion which local or international celebrity has flawless style?
Internationally, I’d pick Emmanuelle Alt. I love androgynous looks and she is always on point with her fierce blazers, leather skinnies and shoes! Locally, I can’t pick, because our celebrities, especially the ladies, have amazing style.

What are your favourite trends this season?
Clogs, leopard prints and my favourite of all, turbans. I’ll also add bell bottoms. What can I say, I’m a 70’s girl at heart!!

What are the building blocks of a complete wardrobe?
The essentials, actually. A good pair of jeans that fit like a glove, perfect shoes that don’t hurt, a dress, a classic white shirt, a cocktail ring, etc. Perfect underwear too. I kid you… not! The right bra can make a big difference when it comes to enhancing your figure and can mar your outfit if you aren’t wearing the right type or size.

Name 5 items no woman should have in her wardrobe?
-Mini skirts. Leave it in the 60’s, Mary Quant would appreciate that.
-Overwhelming print outfits. They make one look garish.
-Unflattering blouses
-Crop tops
-Mom jeans

Whose closet are you most likely to raid?
Jennifer Obayuwana. She is a true fashionista. I admire her a lot.

Name your 3 favourite on the budget shopping outlets?
They are too many – I have no favourite.

What’s been your biggest fashion faux-pas?
I’m sure I have one, but I can’t remember any now!

Any future projects you want to share with us?
For now, Look books and a little dabbling in Fashion Marketing/PR. That’s all I can say!

What advice do you have for aspiring stylist?
Based on my little knowledge, I’d say hard work pays! Also, do lots of test shoots, and don’t focus on the money. Focus on the technique you are building. I must say, fashion styling is not a glamorous job! Be in it for the passion and not for the money! Research and soak up as much knowledge as you can.

Give us a styling tip that you think would be useful to our readers.
Always apply the fashion rule of proportion. Fullness on top should be combined with slimness on the bottom, and vice versa. And for curvy women, avoid ruffles and pleats, as they make you look bulky.

Onyinye Fafi Obi

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