Monday, 14 March 2016

Meet our Ify Brenda-Ndukwu, the multitalented who is fashion designer, jeweller, makeup artist and healthy life coach etc.

Ify the CEO of LILIFEYS, is one person who has done well in maximizing her gifts. Not one to pay lip service to talent, she actually left her job to go into the things that she is passionate about.

In addition, one of the things she is passionate about is clothing plus size women. I recall reading a write up from a designer who said he did not design clothes for plus size women because his expertise never comes out. This is coupled with the fact that Ify gives free tutorials on how fat women should dress or what they should watch out for in fashion in order to look slimmer.

This is her interview as she lets us into her world.

Your full name and nicknames?
My name is Ifeyinwa Brendan-Ndukwu (Nee Iwuanyanwu).

Tell us a little about your background and educational qualifications
I am from Abba in Nwangele Local Government of Imo State, Nigeria. I graduated from Imo State University Okigwe, now Abia State University with a B.A (Hons) in English Language/Literature.

What do you do?
I am a Fashion Designer and a Dress Maker, a Professional Makeup Artist, a Jeweller: Beads making and wire works and a Healthy Lifestyle consultant. I know somebody might be asking how does someone do all these? But the truth is that these are what I enjoy doing, and I love them and the satisfaction I derive from doing them.

How Did You Get Into The Business(es)?
Fashion designing and Dress making had been inherent in me. As a little girl, I used to sketch and sew clothes with needle and thread. I worked with Nigerdock Nigeria PLC. as a Housing Estate Administrator for many years and also worked with an NGO for women development as a Project Officer, but I did not have much fulfillment in paid employment, because fashion designing is my calling, so I decided to go into the business full time. 

What Was The Reaction of Your Parents And Your husband?
My late mother, Mrs. Dorathy Iwuanyanwu encouraged me a lot to pursue my dreams in fashion designs. While I was an undergraduate student, she bought a SINGER hand-sewing machine for me to ease my hard labour of sewing with needle and thread. 

My husband, Brendan was really excited when we first met in 1991, to learn that I could design and sew clothes. He used to help market my Adire and Tye and Dye fabrics which I used to sew 3/4 shorts and tops, and Bubu in the United States.

So my family had been very supportive of my fashion business

You talk a lot about sewing clothes that make plus sized women look slimmer, when you are slim. How did you develop interest in  endowed women?

I realized earlier that most plus sized women run into difficulty sometimes locating clothes that really fits. Some have developed low self-esteem over time. This prompted me to actually start thinking of ways to create an illusion of a slim silhouette on my plus sized clients so that they would be satisfied and feel more confident whenever they step out.

My breakthrough came in 1995, when I designed a wedding gown for one of my friends. The result was awesome, she was so thrilled that she still talks about it till date.

I said to myself, if looking slimmer in an outfit can make a woman very happy, then I am all for it.

So I went to develop concepts for plus sized women and today it has become a success story to the glory of God. 

I have read some of your tips on making clothes for plus sized women. Can you enlighten us here?

As the French Fashion Designer, Coco Chanel puts it, 'fashion is architecture, it is a matter of proportion'. Therefore if fashion designers must achieve this aim of making plus sized women appear slimmer, they must focus on analyzing the vertical and horizontal body shapes of the women in question, their heights, their body scale and their facial structures.

A good understanding of the body shapes of individual women makes this achievable. The key is knowing how to balance the upper and lower proportions of the body shapes while working on designs. 

When people say someone has fashion sense, what does it mean?

The ability for someone to put together clothing, makeup, hairstyles, accessories etc. to achieve a co-ordination in appearance is what makes someone to be said to have a fashion sense.

Tell me, what are your fashion put offs?
Breast exhibitions and exposure of those parts of the body that should be otherwise covered are definitely fashion put offs for me. 

What is your clientele base like?
I have an interesting range of clientele base : from young professionals, corporate organizations, individual women of various age groups, pregnant women who want to look stylish and trendy, postnatal mothers who are in a hurry to get back in shape, and fashion conscious women and even men. They all patronize our exclusive line of clothing.

How satisfied are your customers?
Our customers commend our neat finishing. They also appreciate the touch of uniqueness on our clothing and the individuality that make them feel special.

Last year in November a lady who patronized us via a referral called from Abuja to thank me specially for the clothes we designed for her that made her stood out in an event she attended.

Those kind of calls usually made me very happy. Our customer's satisfaction make me fulfilled. 

What plans do you have for your business?
I see LILIFEYS' expanding and developing a unique clothing line for plus sized women and others who crave for individuality and originality and fun in the ever evolving fashion industry. LILIFEYS' also plans to establish a TRAINING ACADEMY to empower the youths who might be interested in building a career in Fashion Designs and Dress making, Pro makeup, and Beads making and wire works. 

What advice do you have for young people looking for jobs?

My advice to young people looking for jobs is to follow their passion and develop their talents in various areas they are gifted. They should then come up with ideas and plan on how to turn those ideas into opportunities just like I have done. Finally they must remain focused, patient and have absolute trust in God to make their dreams come true.

I thank you very much for this interview and wish you success in all your endeavours.


Ify Brendan-Ndukwu said...

God in His wisdom has deposited great talents in every human being he created. It is vital for us to realize that it is through our talents that God will channel His blessings on us to prosper. Therefore pursue your passion, your gifts, talents, because at the end it(they) shall speak! GOD BLESS YOU MY SISTER CHINYERE FOR THE GOOD WORK YOU ARE SOWING. YOU WILL REAP BOUNTIFULLY IJNA?

chinyere Obi-Obasi said...

Thank you very much. By the way my husband said you have a good command of English!

Lilifeys' said...

Please thank your husband, Charles for me o, for commending my command of English. You remember how DR. UBA of English Department used to drill us.