Yetty D: A Touch of Afro, Urban and Western Flavor

Posted on September 21, 2009

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Interview by,’Seun Johnson(The Wild Black Child).Photos by YettyD.

Despite piles of work and activities to attend to, including meeting deadlines, consulting with clients, keeping abreast of current trends, looking through fashion magazines, co-ordinating stylists, choosing models, organizing fashion shows, photography, sketching new ideas, and showcasing new designs for press, buyers and clients, Yetunde Ogunnubi, who prefers to be called Yetty Ogunnubi, took some time out to chat with Jamati Entourage’s, ‘Seun Johnson, about how her passion for arts and fashion inspired the creation of Yetty D . She is a UK-based Nigerian fashion designer, artist, CEO, creativedirector and DSPA Ambassador. Not to mention the uniqueness of her one-off piece designs, and her plans to open up her brand’s outlet back in her home country, Nigeria.
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WBC: Can we meet you? Tell us about your family and educational background.

I’m Yetty and I come from a family of six–my parents and 3 brothers. We’re art lovers in my family. My parents and my brothers are artists. I grew up in Lagos, and then went to boarding school in Ogun State, studied Business Administration, and now I’m a fashion designer/artist

WBC: What inspired the conception of the Yetty D brand?

The concept behind it all relates to me merging my talents in art to my passion for fashion.

WBC: Why did you decide to fuse Afro, urban and western flavors together in the delivery of your works?

All relates to my every day lifestyle, from my African roots, to my urban lifestyle and way of thinking, to a modern culture.
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WBC: You paint or do your artwork directly on fabrics or clothes, shoes, and other items by hand. What makes this method unique as compared to technological ones?

Yes, I paint directly on fabrics, shoes, accessories and all. What I want to give to my customers is a uniqueness, and add their personalities, and my ideas, to the product I design for them. The method is different from technology… As I provide my clientele with what actually relates to them, and they have their input in the design, as well as giving them the option of also personalizing it, all at an affordable price tag.

WBC: What’s the designing process like and how do you ensure longevity of your pieces?

Designing process–meet up with my customer and [get to] know what their personalities are and what they want to achieve. I then get to pitch some ideas to them, merging my ideas with theirs. Then I create. Longevity wise, I use top quality products. Rest assured each item will last a lifetime.

WBC: Your brother is also into artwork. Can we say it’s a family thing?

You mean my brothers and my parents; it’s certainly a family thingy.

WBC: Can we have a rundown of your past and recent works or activities?

The list is very long but I’ll just name a few:
Molten Art festival London ‘07
Hip-hop Weekender London ‘08
Best of Nigeria London ‘08
Yetty D fashion show’ O8
DSPA ball ‘ 08
Speechless talent show ‘08
Fat Talent London ‘09
Yetty D Fashion Show ‘09
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WBC: You recently held a fashion show on the 15th of August, 2009. How was it?

Yup, I recently organized my annual fashion show and showcased my collection. I got to feature some other cool designers and performers that night. It was a huge success and we had a great turn out as well.

WBC: How many sales outlets do you have presently and where are they located?

Right now I only sell via my website and some other online shops; peeps can visit my website to see my designs.

WBC: You are an Ambassador of the Do Sumthing Positive for Africa (DSPA) project.

Yes I am.

WBC: What do you think were the things responsible for your being worthy of the status?

I won’t go as far as to say worthy.. I’ve been brought up to know that it is good to give to the needy, and give back to the society. I have always had the intention of making sure Yetty D gives back to the society and it wasn’t that hard to accept the role when Dumebi, the Director of the charity, approached me to be an ambassador.

WBC: What exactly are you meant to do as a DSPA Ambassador and what have you been able to do so far?

Well part of my job is to create awareness and represent [the organization], as well as raise money for the charity in order to help young Africans. From the Yetty D Show that was a held a couple of weeks ago we were able to raise £85 and some stuff that will be auctioned off later this year for the charity. To donate or for more info please log on to their (website)

WBC: Can you also tell us about print-and-wear?

It is the children’s version of Yetty D. We organize fun parties as well as workshops for schools. I act as the Creative Director, while the Managing Director is Mrs Ngozi Molowku. For more information, visit the website.

WBC: Why are you primarily focused on customizing and personalizing one-off pieces?

‘Cos that’s what I do best. I like unique items. I really don’t want to go out and see someone else wearing the same thing I am. I want my customers to stand out and be the center of attention.

WBC: Yeah, one-off piece! What does that really mean?

It means, what I create for a particular client won’t be found on somebody else.

WBC: What were the challenges you faced during the budding phase of YettyD ?

I won’t use past tense as it’s still all a process. One of the challenges will definitely be getting into the mainstream, as well as working in an industry mainly dominated by men.

WBC: By merely looking at your products (shoes, T-shirts, etc) it is obvious that you like playing with bright colors. Any special reason for this?

No special reason. People often ask me what my favorite color is. I love all colors. As I work with different clients and they all have different personalities, I have to work with different colors all the time.
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WBC: How often do you visit your home country?

I haven’t been back home in ages, but the plan is go back next year, as I have some projects I am working on, especially opening an outlet shop for my clients in Nigeria, so they can have easy access to the Yetty D label and apparel.

WBC: Where is Yetunde Ogunnubi going to be in the next 5 years?

By the grace of God, I’ll be married with children, and Yetty D will be well established internationally by then.

WBC: How affordable are your pieces to every potential buyer out there?

All my pieces are affordable, in respect to the exclusivity and workmanship of each piece.

WBC: What keeps your head up amidst lots of challenges?

God and the fact that I’m determined to be a success.

WBC: Any special project or event we’re to look forward to?

Yup, I have some shows I’m doing later this year in London.

”The Future of Fashion” in September and the ‘‘I LOVE RUNWAY Fashion Showcase” in October. I will also be working on the DSPA Charity Exhibition and Fashion Show TBC… I’ll be exhibiting some of my artwork and 3 will be auctioned off for the charity.

WBC: What else do you do besides Yetty D?

I do Yetty D and Print-And-Wear full time.
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WBC: All your pieces are hand-made, unique and one-off. How do you cope with orders from clients, especially with having to make each piece distinct from another?

So far God has been my strength, and having good support (my family) and a great team helps a lot. My manager, Mr. Mesembe Glover, and Miss Lola Aworanti ,my Public Relations person, make everything easier.

WBC: What is your advice to young people who also want to tread your path?

Follow your dreams, believe in yourself, and trust in God.

WBC: What’s your source of inspiration?

God, and everything around me.

WBC: What distinguishes Yetunde Ogunnubi from another young lady out there. What makes you tick?

My personality and creativity….My desire to succeed makes me tick.

WBC: Your favorite quote?

“The world changes when people have the imagination to dream, and the strength to act.”

“My dream is of a world without poverty. To make it come true, we need to share not just what we have, but what we know”.
– Both by the late Martin Luther King.

WBC: Who are your Role models?

My mum and Oprah Winfrey.

WBC: Your favorite meal?

Plantain and Spicy grilled Chicken.

WBC: Your dream destination?

Miami and Lala land (LA).

WBC: What is your most cherished possession?

My talent– without it I wouldn’t be doing what I am.

WBC: What are your Hobbies?

Going to the movies with friends, and listening to music.

WBC: Any current book you’re reading.

The Holy Bible.

WBC: Marital status

Single.

Thank you for taking your time to answer our questions. We at Jamati Online wish you success and all the best in your endeavors.

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