Makioba Susan Bob-Manuel Olugbile, established her self-named brand in 2013.
She continues to make her mark with her brand signature of exquisite couture and ready-to- wear creations, exclusively designed with the curvy woman in mind.
With a desire to explore her creative influences and produce designs that would make every woman feel stylish no matter her size, the designer launched a luxurious evening and ready-to-wear line during the Lagos Fashion and Design Week 2016. It was part of the AboutThatCurvyLife Collective, introducing extraordinary designs to the plus size fashion world.
The self- inspired Plus Size designer, spent her formative years in Port Harcourt, where she got a first degree in Economics from University of Port Harcourt.
Makioba, who turned 40 recently, also worked in oil servicing companies in Rivers State, and a logistics company in Lagos for some time before chasing her dream of being a fashion entrepreneur.
At what point in life did you discover your creative flair in life and why did you decide it had to be Fashion?
I went into fashion because I wanted to be a business person. I also wanted a business I would go into and do very well. I was not, and still not a good marketer, but, I felt that I could reach and convince my target market through creativity. I have always been a fashionable person so it all came together that way.
You are known as a plus size brand, why did you decide it has to be plus size?
Well, I am plus-size myself so it made sense. I really was just designing and creating and I felt that what I was creating wasn’t being well-represented on traditional mannequins. So I began using myself as the muse and with time, began attracting a following within the plus-sized community. I then discovered that there was a gap in the market for plus size women that needed to be filled.
Are you self -taught or did you study fashion design?
I actually quit my day job at the time to go to fashion school at House of Henri Fashion and Arts Academy for seven months in 2009. By four months, I was done. I returned to a day job and worked on my fashion for about three years before I went full-time in 2013.
How has your work evolved since you began your own line?
Everything I design is based on what I like and what I am feeling. I’m not one to follow trends and so my work has evolved according to my mood.
With the number of plus size designers currently making waves in the industry, what would you say stands you out from the others and why?
You can say I define the curvy woman’s waistline and make her discover her poise. My designs are very bold and are designed to draw attention. I understand the plus- size woman’s body as I am plus size myself. My pieces are like nothing else in the market for the curvy girls.
Who is the Makioba woman?
A Makioba Woman is that lady who is confident in her beauty, and in who she is. She is elegant, classic, timeless and bold.
What are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work?
When I see my designs on the Makioba woman. It makes me want to do more.
What is the biggest lesson that you have learnt as an entrepreneur?
I have learnt to be true to myself and to my customers.
What advice would you give to young designers?
I’ll say, stay focused and believe in yourself; don’t let all the social media hype of others get to you, nothing is gotten so easily. Do not be in a hurry, take your time, calculate your expenses and income, make sure your production cost is very low with good quality products and finishing. This will take you far and beyond your dreams in the fashion industry.
You clocked 40 recently, how does it feel being 40?
It feels like not a day over 30 and fabulous.
What influences your designs?
My designs are influenced by what I am feeling at the moment.
How does being a fashion designer influence your style?
My designs are all things that I love and would wear. So you could say my work and personal style are intertwined.
If you have to advice the government on ways to move the fashion industry forward, what would you say?
Grants would certainly help as production costs can be quite high. A major challenge we often face is power needed for production and if that could be solved, it would be great help.