Lagos-based fashion stylist Voodoo Republic says working with Bella Smurda has been “amazing”! The Triumphant singer has been loyally dressed by Voodoo for the past 2 years and the two work collaboratively to fuse Nigerian culture with modern fashion. It’s thanks to Voodoo that Bella coined his nickname ”Dangbana”, a Pidgin english word referring to someone with strong convictions to their roots and heritage, during their first shoot together where he made a bold style statement in a mens skirt. Now, Voodoo Republik chops it up with Fashion Bomb Daily to share the journey, challenges and beauties he’s experienced over the past few years venturing into fashion styling within the heart of Africa.
FBD: How did you get your start in the styling game?
Voodoo: As a kid I could always tell when someone is well dressed. Subconsciously, I would look at 5 different people and try to figure out who’s the most well dressed amongst them. So overtime it grew to be a thing for me. I could always tell what pant went with which shirt, what shoes go the best on what outfit; fashion has always been a part of me.
Yunno, fashion is just like mathematics to me; 1+1 would always equal 2. I just always knew once you place 2 beautiful pieces together it’ll always come out perfect.
FBD: What’s your approach when you first start styling someone? Do you ask questions, go through their closet? Do you edit their existing wardrobe or build them a new one?
Voodoo: So basically, what I try to do most times is that I try to understand the client’s past history first, the kind of outfits he/she likes.
I go through his/her past history, previous pictures and try to see what the person has worn in the past just to understand the persons style. I look for things that’ll look the best on them. I also have back to back meetings with the client. I show them samples and they select. I do this because most times you might think this is what will look good on a person and they’ll have a completely different thing on their mind.
Sometimes you’ll get the perfect outfit for them but they won’t feel comfortable in it. Trust me, comfort is one of the most important things about fashion. When you wear the perfect outfit you’ll know you look beautiful without looking at a mirror; and this is the philosophy I try to imbibe in my craft.
FBD: The people you style are often in edgy street wear, would you call that a personal signature of yours?
Voodoo: Yes for sure, all my works gotta have that ‘Voodoo’s touch’. At the end of the day, the only way to survive in these streets is by being different; you gotta have your own spice, there are a lot of people out there that do what I do, that’s why I gotta stand out. Also, street wear fashion is taking over the world right now, when you look at the likes of Kanye West, Burna Boy; they’re pioneers of street wear and I’m really inspired by them.
FBD: Who are some of your go-to brands and designers for styling now?
Voodoo: I have some bad ass boys here in Nigeria and also got a couple of other more in the rest of the world. From Nigeria, the likes of David Blackmoore, Manacquired Knowledge, Uxl, and Daltimore, then overseas Boohoo Man, House of Sunnyman, Topman, Bruce Glen, Akingsy and a lotta other more that always come through for me whenever I need ‘em.
FBD: Who are those which you aspire to work with later in the future?
Voodoo: Yunno, it’s really crazy that I’ve worked with half of the people I used to aspire to work with; but there’s still a long list of people I’d love to work with. The likes of Wizkid, Davido, Burna. Sometimes, I actually pray to God to make it happen and I know it will.
FBD: What would you say to young wardrobe stylists out there who love and respect your craft and wish to be like you someday?
Voodoo: It took me a while to realize that there are a lot of young wadrobe stylists out there that admire what I do and aspire to be like me; I get a lot of emails from them most times and it blows my mind.
The first thing I’m gonna say to them is: you gotta have a team because you can’t do it all alone. Big shout out to my creative assistant Victor Ijaduola and my personal assistant Tunmise Ogunbore. Also to my girlfriend and mum as they all are a big source of support to my craft.
Secondly, you have to stay focused. It’s gonna get really stormy along the way but you always got to put your head in the game and overcome all the obstacles. The only way to survive in this game is to be unique, no matter how good others are; you have to be different. Everything about you has to stand out. Yunno sometimes you have just one chance to prove yourself. Also, don’t let your mistakes get the best of you – move on and learn from them. Trust me, you’ll take over the game.
What do you think?
Main Image: Courtesy of Voodoo Republik