2023 Abuja Fashion Festival: Celebrating African Culture and Creativity

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Mr. Johnson Ojukwu.

Abuja – August 01 – (Mediaage NG News)

As the world is evolving and adjusting to the new normal, so are fashion festivals held to display new designs. The Abuja Fashion Festival slated for November 2023 is a celebration of creativity, craftsmanship, entrepreneurs, not just in the fashion industry but, other creative sectors. It’s a show that exposes upcoming and established fashion designers to the fashion market, enhancing awareness. Johnson Ojukwu, the Creative Director of Saint Rayzenah Luxury Apparels and CEO/Director of FESTAFRQ Nigeria Limited said the show is celebrating African culture, creativity and craftsmanship. Excerpts:

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Can we meet you?

My name is Ojukwu Johnson. I’m a Fashion Designer, Stylist and an Entrepreneur. I’m from Abia State but, based in Abuja. I studied Computer Engineering at the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO).

Read Computer Engineering, what led you to Fashion Designing?

I came from a fashion family, beginning with my grandfather who was very good and popular then. My dad too is into fashion line, in the form of mass production. Back then, there was little or no civilisation in Nigeria when ladies don’t wear foreign bras but, home-made. My dad was one of the few that had companies that produce locally made bras. Coming from a fashion family, I grew up seeing machines everywhere, seeing how clothes and other things are produced. All that guided me through the university were from this. At the university, I was already making and selling clothes with my fashion brand. Throughout the university, it has all been fashion. I already had it in mind that I will build a career in the fashion industry.

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How has it been leaving university as a Computer Engineering graduate, but building a career in the fashion industry?

It has been a rollercoaster in the sense that, it’s fun when you are at the height of it and scream when you are hitting low. Despite this, it has been worth it because, whether I’m making clothes or organising any fashion event or anything related to fashion, it’s something that gives me joy.

Give us an overview of the Abuja Fashion Festival.

As the word festival implies, it’s a call for celebration. It’s a fashion festival where we aim at celebrating creativity, craftsmanship, entrepreneurs, not just in the fashion industry but, other creative sectors. We also want to patronise our cultural heritage. While we celebrate creativity, we patronise our African or traditional, cultural pride, as well as entertain our guests.

What do you intend to achieve from the festival?

First and foremost, like I said, it’s a celebration. What me and my team tend to achieve is to expose upcoming and established fashion designers to the fashion market, enhancing awareness and rewarding their hard work in the best way we can. Not only that, it’s a huge profitable platform for them to connect, network, sell and market their brands.

Is this a maiden edition?

When it comes to Abuja Fashion Festival, this is the maiden edition.

What other editions have you had and where?

We’ve had the Aba Ankara festival to celebrate the African print that began from 2018. In as much as we are doing this to promote brands, creativity and designers, it’s a business and it requires a lot of money and support. When the support is not really as much as it should, we strive to re-strategise and do more.

Any factor that effected the shift from the East to Abuja?

Abuja is a place we feel we can cultivate new things. We see it as a more fertile ground and being the Federal Capital Territory, it offers more opportunities. Also, from research, Abuja is known for more of adminstrative operations and we observed that not much of festivals have been organized here, as compared to Lagos and outside the county, even music wise. It’s not a bad idea if we start bringing them up here.

Any mentor in your life?

I don’t have a particular mentor, you can even be my mentor. I take mentorship from anyone, as long as there’s something for me to learn or discover to enable me achieve a target. However, in general, God is my mentor. When I feel drained or indecisive, I put myself together and consult God.

Definitely, He makes a headway by showing me the solutions. When it comes to physical things that motivate me, I get mentorship from reading books, watching movies and going out. In fact, I’m inspired by positive things around me.

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