Legendary fashion designer and CEO, Gold Limited, Lexy Mojo-Eyes, has contributed immensely to the growth of the fashion industry. He owns and organises; The Nigeria Fashion Show, The Nigeria Fashion Week, The Nigeria Fashion Award and so on.
Lexy is a speaker on fashion related issues and has been invited to speak at several high-profile fashion events across the globe. He took 10 Nigerian top designers to the first international edition of the Nigeria Fashion Show in Paris. In December 2003, Lexy signed a franchise contract in Paris with global television channel, Fashion TV.
In this interview with YINKA LAWAL, he narrates how his sojourn in the fashion world was berthed and his future plans, among other sundry issues:
As the pioneer of fashion events in Nigeria, what challenges did you face at the beginning?
The major challenge was meeting a populace that was not really ready for it. So, this made the whole process very difficult for us. We had to begin by re-orienting both the designers, other industry practitioners, government and Nigerians in general of the economic values inherent in the clothing and textile industry.
You created a platform for the younger generations in Nigeria. Looking back now, how does that make you feel?
I am very happy about it but I won’t say I am fulfilled, because, we have not achieved 100 percent of our goals.
As an individual who has contributed greatly to the growth of the fashion industry, what are your expectations from the younger generations?
The younger generation must look inward both for inspiration and patronage of the Nigerian clothing industry. That is the only way we can grow the contribution of the clothing industry to Nigeria’s GDP.
How did your journey into the fashion world start?
It started right from when I was growing up. I always wanted to look different in my dress sense right from my youth and I succeeded in doing that.
How was the Nigeria Fashion show idea born?
I wanted to create a national platform that will encourage designers and Nigerians to start looking inward at all local fabrics, accessories and designs. The idea was to create a platform that will empower women and youths in the various fashion vocations thereby creating jobs.
What challenges did you faced at the beginning?
Our major challenge was funding and sponsorship. This was more also because, prior to that time, people didn’t take fashion shows as serious business. So, we had to change that mentality
How has the journey been so far?
It’s been interesting and exciting, but also with its ups and down
How were you able to surmount the challenges you faced?
Determination, passion and by always looking at the big picture
What are your professional plans?
We have moved from just impacting Nigeria in the fashion and textile industry. In partnership with the African Union, we are taking on the whole of the African continent. Our new project is the Africa Fashion Reception.
The Africa Fashion Reception(AFR) is a Pan African initiative. It brings together fashion designers, fashion icons, First Ladies, ambassadors, ministers and the media from over 30 African countries for a celebration of cultural diversity expressed through the artistic fashion discipline with the proud theme, ‘Africa is the new inspiration for global fashion’
Its goals and objectives include: To build bridges by creating free trade and partnerships among fashion practitioners throughout the African continent .To attract global attention to Africa’s very rich and diversified dress culture which can be explored as a catalyst for the socio- economic growth of the continent’s garment/textile industry.
Others include objectives are; expanding the potential power of fashion as a tool of fighting poverty in Africa by creating wealth through the empowerment of women and youths in the various fashion vocations through training, capacity-building schemes, workshops and setting up of medium/small scale businesses thereby supporting the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and the African Union Agenda 2063.
Based on the AFR, the African Union invited me to address the 4th Pan African Cultural Congress in Johannesburg 27th April, 2015.
How would you rate the fashion industry from yester-years and now?
It has grown tremendously. We still have a lot to do.
What is your thought on the industry?
It’s moving towards the right direction.
Rating Nigeria and her counterpart in other countries, how do you think we can measure up?
Nigeria is ahead of other African countries when it comes to the quality of work by our designers. Also, our designers can measure up to designers from the developed world if given a level-playing ground.
What advice do you have for the younger generation?
They should tap into the opportunities inherent in the clothing industry because it is very viable.
As a fashion icon, what is your definition of style
Simple, unique and classy
What other things you are passionate about?
For me, fashion is life.
How do you relax considering the number of things you do?
I hardly find time to relax because of my tight schedules. But I find time in-between my trips and work.
What do you think about the dominance of female fashion designers in Nigeria?
It is normal. Fashion is women.
Educational back ground?
Diploma in Journalism
How rewarding is the industry ?
For me it is not about numeration in terms of money but fulfilment and the joy of impacting people positively.