Funke Fabeku is a popular fashion designer in Lagos. She is the CEO of Shoge Exquisite Fashion House. She coined the name from a Yoruba word Se Oge, which defines a fashionista. Call her one of the hottest fashion designers and you won’t be wrong. She has been in the business for more than 13 years and she designs mainly for women. No wonder, she is one of the most sought-after designers and stylists patronised by Lagos celebrities. She does Bespoke and ready-to-wear clothes. And she has Nollywood stars like Funke Etti, Funke Adesiyan, Kemi Afolabi Adesipe to mention a few on her list of patrons.
In this interview with City People’s Society Reporter, TITILOPE OGUNLEYE, she reveals her journey into fashion designing and what has made her relevant. She also spoke about how her mother groomed her before she died and how she has been able to train her siblings.
Shoge Fashion House is right now one of the fashion houses in vogue.
How long have you been designing?
I have been designing for about 13 years.
How did you start the journey into designing clothes?
My mum was a designer. So, after I left the university and I was busying awaiting my result to come out, I decided to keep myself busy and that was when I started sewing. Though passion has always been there but I started fully after school and I moved to Lagos to improve on my skills and here I am.
Aside from the fact that your mum was in fashion designing, has there always been a passion, in it for you?
At first, I was not interested in fashion designing, but later I developed a passion for it. After my university education, there was no job, so I decided to follow up on fashion and after a while, I found out that it was something I really wanted to do and as we speak ,I don’t think I want to do any other thing. I just want to improve on my skill and get better every day on it.
Can you list a few celebrities that you have styled?
I have styled Funke Etti, Funke Adesiyan, Emmanuella Rolapo.e.t.c.
How expensive is your brand?
Our designs are very affordable.
We are sure that there must have been challenges in 13 years of establishment. What are those challenges you faced while starting up the brand?
Staffing is one major challenge. Getting good people who will work with you when there is pressure because certainly, I can’t do everything by myself. The power supply is our major challenge because we just have to run the generator when there is no electricity supply. Getting space is also challenging. You know accommodation is very expensive in Lagos, I actually started in a shop, then I got another shop before I moved to my apartment, so it has been a gradual process.
Lagos is a big city and we have a whole lot of fashion designers. Who was that person you styled that gave you a breakthrough, many referrals, or brought you to the limelight?
Smiles. I have styled a lot of people and they have always brought new clients to me, but I will mention Emmanuella. She has brought a lot of clients to me. Anytime I sew for her, she brings a new client for me.
Are you married?
What has kept you relevant in the fashion world?
I would say our originality, passion and creativity.
What are those challenges young designers face out there?
It is mainly staffing. Getting good people who will stay with you. Mostly, we get people who will demand so much money, but give them an assignment, and you will find out that they can’t meet up with the standard and value of the money they are demanding. Mostly they can’t even handle simple work when you are not there. So, you have to be there to always monitor them else you would be so disappointed.
Let us talk a little about your background.
I am the first of 8 and my parents are late. I studied at Ambrose Alli University before coming to Lagos.
Fashion business is big business, would you say that you have any regret going into fashion designing?
No, I have not regretted doing it for once. It has even helped me a whole lot especially when I lost my parents and I had so many responsibilities being the first child and having to train some of my siblings in school. I even taught some of them who showed interest in fashion designing. About four of us are sewing and they learned from me and now they are also independent.
In your organisation, do you just style people or you also train those who want to be fashion designers?
We do both.
Who are your mentors in fashion designing?
I love Deola Segoe because her designs are unique and they give you something to look forward to. I also love Maya Tafo. I met Uncle Mike once at an event, but his designs inspired me a whole lot.