Aize, a photographer and stylist who is based in Lagos recently took a break off the internet to read books, work out six times a week, start cardio classes, write books, and align his spiritual, mental, and physical wellbeing.
Aize Muhammed Paul started working in the fashion industry in Lagos as a couture assistant at Arise Fashion week in April 2011, he worked there for 5 years and grew to become an assistant creative director years before he started styling independently under the brand name Zillism.
“…….my interest in fashion has always been there, I have always loved fashion, and I think i was exposed to it from a very early age by my mum who I lost at age 9, sometimes I sort of feel I had to carry on her legacy.”
We spoke to Paul on what he believes the future of fashion would be in the Nigerian space post-COVID.
What do you believe is the future of fashion in Nigeria?
The fashion industry in Nigeria is in a thriving stage, it has always been thriving and it is still thriving. Nevertheless, I would say the creatives in our industry are boundless, that is the only word that can suit to describe the efforts of the people in this industry. The industry is not funded, hardly has private investors, it is pretty rare except you are from a wealthy family. It is really hard to get a good income from it or even make a profit but at the same time they are not holding back and creating with their hearts and so much passion and I believe all that energy would pay off one day, the industry would get its merits someday, hopefully.
How do you foresee Nigerians reaction would be to fashion post-COVID as regards style and trends.
I think Nigerians are special people particularly we absorb everything, and anything. Particularly when it comes in fashion and trends, I think post-COVID we are going to move on with this. I was walking down the street and saw an old man who was probably in his 60’s. He wore a shield mask and looked really cool. Some other old people may say that it is childish and wear the regular face mask, but you know Nigerians are used to moving on with trends, they go with anything and feel comfortable wearing anything. I remember when skinny jeans became a thing and I mean everyone in Nigeria wanted to wear the ‘ Lady Gaga’s shoes’, the ‘Rihanna take a bow hairstyle’ they both became trends and everyone wanted to rock it. I feel Nigerians are very much into trends so I am not scared to see what people experiment with moving forward and as for events, we do not know what would happen post-corona the limitations to it. I think we would adjust to the new norms, we are Nigerians we would adjust.
“I was highly influenced by Micheal Jackson growing up. I always wanted to be a designer but gradually I have grown and discovered that I have more to offer in the industry. I started photography full time in 2019, now, I work with other stylists, celebrities and fashion brands.”
What is your advice to fashion brands and how they can stay relevant even after the economic downturn?
We cannot overemphasize the importance of benefit and usage of new global technology. It is the new phase of mankind. It is something everyone has to jump in at this time, not only fashion brands but photographers, stylists and basically everyone who works in the industry. We should all be relating to the global village, which is technology. I think you are on the loss if you are not as we would all move to the virtual side of life. In communications, sales, and advertisement, which is a big thing in the market. Every brand should add focus to the virtual side of things at this point.
Own a stake, put your business online, promote your brands, get your market there, bring your clients on board and hold on to something, because we are moving to the stage of life where we would deal with things online.
It is obvious that without being told to break a mortar forever, be premium and would still hold water but at the same thing do not let go of what the future says now, which is the internet and I think every brand needs to deal with that and own a stake there.
Thank you so much for taking the time out to sit with me and discuss with you.
Thank you for having me. It is always a pleasure and cheers to a successful industry that we all look forward to.