A World of Film and Fashion
Patience Egwurube is a costume and fashion designer, screenwriter, actress and producer. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from the University of Maiduguri and a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Jos. Egwurube also completed certificate courses in digital cinematography and animation at the National Film Institute (NFI) Jos. She is the costume designer of the period movie ’76 for which she won the 2017 Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards (AMVCA) for “Best Costume Designer”.
Congratulations on your AMVCA 2017 win!
Thank you! I was working on a film set when several friends who watched the nomination announcement live called to inform me. It felt great to be nominated and eventually win! I am overjoyed.
How did you meet Izu Ojukwu the director of ’76?
I met him at an audition for SITANDA, his first Amstel Malta Box Office (AMBO) film. After I won a role in the movie, I forgot a script I wrote in a location car. He read it and thought it was good. Since then I have worked with him on several projects like Nnenda, Cindy’s Notes and The Child as a writer, actress, lines director and costume designer.
With Bayray Macquizu and Izu Ojukwu on the set of AMBO movie Cindy’s Notes
How did you get the job for his period movie?
He is meticulous and quite creative. When he saw my passion, and zest for fashion, styling, as well as sewing abilities, he asked that I do the costumes for the movie.
Please enlighten us about sourcing the costumes and making them authentic for the 70s period.
In the preparatory months leading to the shoot, we researched the contemporary and traditional outfits worn during that era and I did a breakdown of the characters and outfits. There were Western trends which affected Nigerian fashion and I started sourcing for items several months before filming commenced. I continued through the shoot depending on instructions from the art director Pat Nebo, who gave me tips and also helped to source for some of the clothes. I collected clothes, shoes and accessories wherever I saw them. As the film was set in 1976 and shot in 2012, recreating the looks was tasking especially getting the prevalent textures, textiles and accessories.
Most people do not keep old clothes and there are no specialized costume and thrift shops like they have abroad. The art director even hired a shoemaker to make some of the clogs worn as they could not be found anywhere. We had style icons of the seventies like Memry Savanhu’s character—Eunice to dress. She is a Zimbabwean actress who works in Nollywood. She also helped to get clothes and accessories from London. Another actor even got a few clothes from his plumber who had kept some from that period.
The Nigerian army gave us uniforms worn at the time and we made some of the military caps and bought the shoes. We also made clothes and accessories we could not find or buy like shirts with big stiff collars, bell bottom trousers and belts. For one of the scenes that required the use of traditional costumes from different Nigerian ethnic groups, we were fortunate to get some used during that period. We worked together as a great team with everyone looking out for the good of the production.
Did you have any challenging scenes?
Yes there was the WASA scene, which featured the different ethnic groups of Nigeria in performance. Some spectators, who wanted to appear, hid among the selected crowd and actors. It was difficult warding them off. We did not want 2012 clothes and hairstyles ruining our 70s styling.
How did you get into costume design?
I got drawn to costume design by a void I noticed in the industry. Sometimes the script describes characters as rich, warriors or military men. The costume department fails to do justice to the script thereby reducing the quality of the project. Costume design needs precise artistic character interpretations, adequate funds and good styling. I hope to keep contributing to Nollywood.
You also own a fashion label. Please tell us about it.
I love fashion and like to wear beautiful, well tailored clothes. I co-own fashion label REVAMPED BY US with some family members. We created the label because we want to make stylish and comfortable clothes with a great fit for women. A tailor can acquire all the techniques of sewing but lack style. At the label, we are 3 designers armed with good dressmaking techniques, working and keeping abreast of fashion round the world. Our design aesthetic is ‘Making stylish clothes that celebrate every woman’s form.’ Within the span of two years, I hope the label and my film production company makes the best films, costumes and clothes.
Clothes by REVAMPED BY US
Do you have other creative people in your family?
Yes, I do. My sister is a gospel artiste. Another family member is an actress and plays Shalewa in the popular TV series Skinny Girl In Transit.
As a screenwriter, have your scripts made it to TV stations?
Yes, they have. Our Lives, a soap opera I wrote for GBN Productions has been aired on Africa Magic. I am presently producing a 52-episode series titled A Good Start. It deals with societal and medical issues like Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV. I plan to get my productions aired on good platforms. A well-articulated story is the first ingredient for a good film or TV series and a Masters degree in administration, as well as knowledge in cinematography helps in my choices.
Can you tell us some other movies and TV series you have acted in?
Films and TV series like Europe in My Heart,The Heir and HAMZA starring Omotola Jalade -Ekeinde and Olu Jacobs.
With Ireti Doyle and Azeezah on the set of the first AMBO movie Sitanda
What do you think about the present Nollywood?
I celebrate Nollywood because the industry is evolving positively. It is great that Nigerian filmmakers are fine-tuning their craft in the different aspects of movie production. We need more funding and distribution platforms.
Pat Egwurube with her AMVCA 2017 award trophy and sister
Image credit: Multichoice Nigeria
July 15, 2019