‘The most influential person in my life is me’
· ‘I’m an extremely adaptable person’
· Brand Journalism and Fashion Business are wired in my DNA
She is Creative, imaginative, Inquisitive, Adventurous and hyperactive. The brand Specialist and CEO of Brand world Media. Clara Okoro now oscillates between branding and fashion designing, an interviewer’s delight, she tells Adedayo Adejobi in this chat that the most influential person in her life is herself, amongst other issues she opened up on.
In one word, describe yourself.
Myself? Well, I would say extremely adaptable.
What were you like in high school?
I was very adventurous and inquisitive and had a very high octane, hormone- driven teenage years.
What is the most important lesson your mother taught?
To take responsibilities for my actions, and that life can be tough but you have to face it squarely.
How do you juggle brand journalism and fashion business?
Both are wired in my DNA and I have acquired trainings for both careers and still developing myself with new skills in both.
What skills are important for a successful career in fashion design?
An eye for colours, creativity, practical sewing and cutting skills, and the ability to live mainly with your imaginative faculties.
In what general area of design do you work?
I am trained in sewing and cutting of fabrics. I also design minimally and I am currently working on understanding fashion photography.
How do you stay up to date with fashion?
I virtually live online. I go to a lot of fashion sites, and I also read a lot of magazines. I sometimes watch fashion shows online and on TV.
Describe your creative process.
I have different ways of activating my creative process, but the pattern mostly comes in this form: Illumination, incubation, preparation and implementation.
How do you get unstuck creatively?
The whole process of beach, music and watching movies.
What is the essence of a woman?
A woman is actually a very complex being. I would say her essence is her ability to hold all that she is going through together without falling apart.
What constitutes true beauty?
I would say a combination of different factors: Grace, empathy, intelligence, tenacity, physical attributes and temperance.
What is your favourite body part?
Who do you think is the sexiest man alive today?
Tell me about the goals of the My Beautiful project and the thought process behind your solution.
MY BEAUTIFUL AFRICA is designed as a lifestyle brand for Africa, with a fusion of fashion, tourism, art and technology. The aim is to celebrate all the beauty reflective of the African continent.
Our strategy is to partner airlines, travel and tours companies, artists, culture enthusiasts, brands with a bias for the African cultural evolution and to use these platforms to bring us all together to celebrate all that is positive and beautiful about Africa. The singular most striking of our brands asset is the art behind each piece; it is the signature of the brand, like a piece of Africa and all the beauty it encapsulates. In today’s competitive market place, an emerging brand is not only challenged by the imperatives of the daily crises caused by customers and a competitive market place.This necessitates the strategy the brand wants to adopt in entering the market place and the niche it wants to carve for itself.
Tell me about a time when a client didn't like your work.
We are very particular about our clients’ satisfaction and therefore would go the extra mile to remedy any unsatisfactory situation. A certain time a client placed an order from Port Harcourt and the size we sent wasn’t the correct size, we had to resend the item twice at no cost of delivery to the client.
How do you stay organised when you are provided with multiple design assets, files, and ideas?
I maintain a very difficult but workable disciplined schedule. I compartmentalise my assignments and tackle them, then tick them off. Sometimes, this strategy is repetitive but it gets me results.
Tell me about a time when you had to balance multiple competing priorities
Unfortunately, that’s always been very tricky as at some point one suffers for the other. I normally delegate, even though sometimes you don’t get the results you so desire from that.
Tell me about a project you've completed that has made you the most proud
The ICEBERG Season 3 party. It was one I was very proud to complete.
In what ways do fashion shows help women?
Well the fashion industry is a huge sector and fashion shows are part of it. Women benefit from such shows by being aware of the trends in the world of fashion, updating their information about what’s in vogue and some are also in the picture as designers who exhibit on the runway in those shows.
Who is the most influential person in your life?
Who is that one influential person you want to meet and what do you want to learn from him/her?
Unfortunately, he is late. It’s the Persian poet, Khalil Gibran. I would have loved to learn from him his source of inspiration for the sublime works he created.
If you had to live life all over again, what part of life would you change?
My stubbornness. I am a Taurean, so I guess it comes with the territory.
If you were given the chance to change a thing from the past, what would it be?
To have been more trusting of people; it cost me quite a lot in life.
If you had a magic wand, what is the one thing you would ask for, and why?
To go back to my university years - those were the best years of my life.
If God would grant you one wish, what would it be?
To share eternal life with my maker after this journey on earth.
What is your philosophy or value that you hold dearest in life?
Just because you haven’t experienced it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
What is the funniest thing that has happened to you recently?
It was a rainy afternoon and I had fallen asleep on my bed while reading. When I woke up and looked out of the window it was daylight. I panicked as I thought I had slept throughout the night and wondered why my alarm didn’t ring. When I checked the time, it was 5pm. It was so funny!
What are you, really, outside work?
Just my normal introverted self.
What do you work toward in your free time?