Spicing up Outfits with Splashes of Africa
The late Mazi Mbonu Ojike caused the federal government to make it compulsory for public servants to wear Nigerian outfits to their offices on Fridays, and Dozie Obiwanne is contributing to this trend.
He makes everyday business and casual clothes bend towards the Afrocentric law through the pieces he creates with Dozzy Couture.
“We always try to put a touch of urban on African fabrics and try to make English fabrics come out Afrocentric”, said the creative director who officially launched his brand in 2015, though it started earlier as a hobby. Then, there was a sewing machine available and the opportunity to learn a new skill for free. It was this skill that would give him extra money in his pocket, while studying geology and mining at the university.
Dozie Obiwanne knew after the university that he wanted to make clothes, but how was he going to sell them in a place like Lagos – the commercial capital of Nigeria, with almost no idea of the terrain or the market (Obiwanne spent most of his growing up years in Owerri)? So he latched on a plan to gain marketing and customer service experience by joining a fast moving consumer goods company, and spent about 4 years learning the ropes of selling.
During this learning curve, he married his university sweetheart and had 3 beautiful children together. Armed with his new found knowledge, a supportive wife, children and a dream to booth, he launched Dozzy Couture. “Pressure was what drove me out of work, into the arms of my family and a new life in fashion. I thought of it and my wife felt that the best thing to do was to open a clothing line, and so we kicked off, got a name, and then registered the company”.
A certified fashion designer from the International Association of Professions Career College, Canada, Obiwanne Dozie is the current assistant national publicity secretary of the Fashion Designers’ Association of Nigeria (FADAN), and his creative designs inspired the establishment of the tailoring unit at the Arts and Craft Department, National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) Lagos Zonal Office, where he is also a visual artist/creative designer.
At Dozzy Couture, African styled patterns are the definitive of the fashion line. From native pieces like Senator Attire, Etibor-Niger Delta jumper and trousers, kaftans and casuals, to matching sets of buttoned down shirts and pants with matching caps, Dozzy Couture uses plain and pattern designs in vibrant colours, to show how men can stand out in colourful stylish pieces.
The label has been profiled on major Nigerian television channels and other offline and online media platforms, in recognition of Dozie Obiwanne’s talent and rise on the Nigerian fashion scene. Dozzy Couture has also appeared on local and international runways, with fashion that not only meets the needs of the upper, middle and lower classes, but also those of various pocket sizes, as a brand for all seasons. “We have a range of prices, from as low as N10, 000, depending on the fabric we are using. Talking about the English fabrics we use in doing our native attire, we have the ones that are as low as N20,000 and we have those above that. “Most times we have clients who bring their own fabrics, and they want us to sew for them; we do that also, and our prices are as low as N7,000 to N8,000”, he said.
The truth is Dozie Obiwanne’s desire to design staple pieces for men has been shaped by clothing top company executives, National Assembly members, entertainers and business owners for about 10 years – long before he turned professional.
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