Allure Interview with Valerie Ngo Martins
By Linda Orajekwe
Valerie Ngo Martins is the Creative Director and founder of V’Macdel, a fashion designing outfit based in Lagos.
A trained pharmacologist and lawyer, 25 year old Valerie is fast creating a niche for herself in the highly competitive fashion industry with her unique evening dresses and wedding gowns.
Here she talks about the business of fashion and her up-coming fashion show.
You studied pharmacology and went back to school to study law but ended up a fashion designer, why did you study so hard if you knew all along you wanted to be a designer?
Well, I can’t categorically say that I’ve always wanted to be a designer; what I can say is I’ve always wanted to make and be a solution to problems. Also, I’ve always wanted to be a business tycoon. Hence, from an early age, I grew to understand and appreciate the importance of knowledge, that’s why after I had my first degree in pharmacology at 19, I decided there was still time to learn some more, to discover my strengths and develop my skills. I enrolled for my LL.B, I also enrolled for a diploma in Business Management and Entrepreneurial Studies. While on it, I took fashion classes during summer break. I basically wanted to build myself in all spheres of knowledge as I possibly could, to help me be of great impact in my society.
What drew you to fashion designing and where did you train to be one?
For me fashion started as a joke. I can remember making a whole dress with just pins to hold it together and then wear it and avoid hugging people so they don’t get pierced! (Laughs). From then, it graduated to making dresses with just needle and thread. My passion for making my own clothes grew more intense because, it was always as though my tailors just couldn’t get what I wanted. I then saved up and got my first sewing machine even before learning how to use it. It was after that, that I went to K&G fashion School where I learnt Fashion Designing & Styling, and the rest is history. But so far, I can say it has been a beautiful experience.
What kind of dresses do you make and why did you pick that niche?
Our design concept incorporates casuals, ready-to-wear outfits, corporate wears and African traditional attires. However, there’s a major focus on dresses; evening dresses and bridal dresses. I mean the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen is a woman in a gorgeous dress. A dress has a way of showcasing the queen in every woman to the world, and there’s nothing as satisfying as being the brain behind that dress.
What class of women does your brand cater to?
The design aesthetic of the V’macdel brand is delicate and feminine, stylishly embracing and enhancing the feminine curves and body. V’macdel speaks the creativity, style and class language. Hence, every woman who believes in creating a fashion statement is a potential V’macdel client.
What is V’Macdel doing differently in the fashion industry?
In a society where everyone is trying to fit in and everyone is trying to be like or look like someone else, at V’macdel, we help our clients express their individual personality in terms of visual expression. We make sure our clients are comfortable in their own skin, because, the most important aspect of a dress is the woman wearing it! We don’t just style you to fit in, we style you to standout. We create our outfits with intricate details, each detail enhancing the beauty of the natural woman and this makes every outfit from our repertoire distinctively stand out. We do not compromise quality for quantity. We use the best of fabrics which has always given us an edge in the fashion market, our manipulation of fabrics, gem stones and embellishments give a dazzling touch to each garment. V’macdel has the most flexible price system and this makes it very possible to style our clients just within their budget!
If there is one celebrity you will love to style, who would that be and why?
That would definitely be the gorgeous Adesua Etomi. She speaks the style and class language which is the V’macdel Language.
Are there plans of any major fashion show soon?
Yes there are plans for a fashion show and it’s pretty soon, but before then, we would be unveiling our ‘LadySteel’ Collection on the 14th of October, so watch out for that.
Do you plan on taking V’Macdel global?
Yes we do. We are working towards that already because we presently have clients outside Nigeria and it is proper, both for our clients and for us to take our brand closer to them.