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I almost quit the fashion design-Midi Africa

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Mudiaga Clement Enajemo, popular as Mudi Africa is one of the leading names in the fashion industry in Nigeria today. In this interview with OUR REPORTER, he takes us on a trip through his humble beginning and secrets.

 

How rough was the road to where you are presently?

I started fashion in September 1992 and it was a bit rough. However, the passion and the drive for the job kept me going. At the initially stage, it was not even easy for me to get a shop. It took me about four to five years to even get my shop in Anthony, Village Lagos. I started fashion design in my room somewhere in Ketu before getting my first shop in Anthony.

 

So how did you get the shop eventually?

Richard MofeDamijo (RMD) at a point came to my rescue because he came to me and asked me what I had and also added to it.

 

You seem to have an attachment for Anthony, why is this so?

The truth is that Anthony has been very nice to me. If God says this is where you would be you can’t be in any other place.

 

Your tentacles have also spread beyond Nigeria to Kenya, Ghana and Senegal, how did you manage this?

It is all about the drive. I tell people that anything you do first of all you must have the passion. Passion will keep you going when the money does not come initially. The drive will also take you to another level. The last, but not the least is discipline. Discipline is key, for instance I get to my office by 7 am every day and that is disciple. Some people have the passion and the drive, but they lack the discipline; some have the discipline and the drive, but don’t have the passion others have the discipline, but lack passion. In all of three, discipline is the most important.

 

And that you have?

Well, I am grateful to God because some say I have the drive others say I have the discipline and discipline for me is a way of life.

How do you shuttle between your outlets in Nigeria and those in other countries?

What I do is visit one of the outlets every month. I might decide to go to Abuja this month and the next month in Senegal. There are times when I go to Ghana twice a month. I could leave in the morning and back in the evening. It is just a 45 minutes flight.

 

Some people are of the opinion that success has gotten into your head, is this true?

How will it get into my head? If it has then you won’t see me working here. I have some contemporaries who are comfortable and the success they have achieved has gotten to their head, but the fact that I get here as early as 7 am shows that I am here and still attached to the job.

 

What is your passion for classic cars all about because you have a 1957 Mercedes Benz and a 1971 Peugeot?

It is all about the lifestyle. Those who I grew up with will tell you that I have always wanted to be different. It is my lifestyle, I like to leave my kind of life and I am not competing with anybody.

 

How did you get the cars?

The Mercedes came from Germany, while the Peugeot came from France. I brought them into the country because you can never get such clean and classic cars in Lagos, how can you?

 

How often do you drive them?

I use the Mercedes during the weekend, while the Peugeot is what I bring to the office occasionally. I bring the Peugeot to the office like four times in a month.image (1)

 

You have some very interesting cuts in some of your pants, what inspires them?

First of all, it is important that you remember that I am an artiste and I needed a platform to express myself. I could have decided to be anybody, but fashion is how I can express my creativity. So, anything you see around me is about expressing what I have inside me as a born artiste. The cars I drive too are also about expression too, it is my lifestyle even my office was designed by myself both the interior and exterior.

Besides fashion, what else are you into?

For now, fashion is all that I am into. For the past 22 years all I do is clothing.

 

Your knowledge of interior décor is not bad, are you thinking of that as a business too?

Well, my prayer is for God to direct me to where I am supposed to be because I know I have a lot to give out. I have a lot inside me to express myself with, but I do it as it comes. However, for now all I do is fashion. Anything can happen tomorrow, but for now it is all about fashion.

 

Is there a plan for Mudi school of fashion?

If I will go into that it will be a future plan, but for now I am not into it. In life, there are things you should first consolidate well before going into other brands. For instance, if I want to go into doing perfumes I must first make this Mudi brand strong before any other thing. It’s like swimming; you have to stabilise before you can rescue a drowning person.

 

You have been making quite some reference to spirituality, what is your relationship with God like?

I don’t like it when people wear the crown of I am a born again on their head. I think the lifestyle you lead will reflect who you are. I don’t need to tell you that I am a born again, judge me the way you access me. I am a Christian, but I don’t carry it on my head. If you are a born again your attitude will reflect it.

There are several big designers who have frizzled out due to lack of backup plan, what is yours?

Like I told you earlier, I take things as they come. For now, it is fashion. Giorgio Armani is almost 70 years old and he is still designing, he is still vibrant. I still want to do the job for as long as I can.

 

How do you socialise?

My work does not allow me to socialise that much. I am not a club person, but I don’t have anything against people who club. I relax by listening to live bands, have a bottle of drink and go back home.

 

Where are you taking this brand to?

Yesterday the sky was the limit, but today it is just the beginning. I intend to keep thinking, keep coming out with new ideas and keep working.

 

What has been your lowest point?

That was when I first paid for my shop and couldn’t renew it after the first two years expired. A friend even told me to forget the job because it won’t paying me. I almost quit the job, it was really a difficult time, but by the grace of God I was able to scale through.

 

How do you handle the ladies who are drawn to you?

Remember I told you discipline is key. I am not a saint. I have friends whom I hang out with. I don’t go to the club to sit till the early hours of the following day because I have to be at the office by 7am. You can’t get carried away because people admire you, there is a line and you must draw it.

 

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