Our resident fashionista gets a chat with Mr Tosin Facude who owns the store Facuade Clothiers – makers of custom made shirts, branded shirts and polos, branded shoes and accessories. The Facuade brand has been around for a little while slowly growing. An official store opened about a year ago in the heart of Surulere. Read and find out how it all started and where its all going.
Mayreejay(M): Who is Tosin Facuade?
Tosin Facuade(TF): I am the last in a family of five children born to The Very Revd. and Mrs Olukuade (formerly Fakuade). A political science graduate of University of Lagos, turned fashion and style entrepreneur. I am the curator of the FACUADE brand.
M: Define your style?
TF: Style being very personal, I’ll say mine is simple yet classic. In all, the element of comfort and fit play a prominent role. You have to be comfortable in your style in whatever form, otherwise it’s no longer style.
M: How did it all start?
TF: Thank God my brother got married that year! I said that in acknowledgment of the fact that it all started with being one of the grooms men for his wedding. Something in me was just averse to wearing the regular shirt every other grooms man wanted, so I thought something different for shirt and did a mix of plains and checks. And Wow! It scored good points. Different compliments gushed at this creation and months down the line, what was meant as just a piece for me gave birth to the brand you know today as FACUADE. Though it wasn’t all smooth sail, but with consistency and good quality products over the years, the brand has gradually crept into the consciousness of fashion buffs in different quarters and we keep up the ante of the game with what we do best.
M: What inspires you?
TF: I’d say my inspiration springs from different clients that made demand on my creativity and encouraged the growth of the brand; the likes of Dr Tony Rapu , Ali baba, Frank Edoho, just to mention a few. They saw the potential of the brand and fanned its flames and that is why we have kept at going stronger with each passing day.
M: What comes first for you?
TF: Shoes or clothes? Clothes, funny enough because am sure you would have thought shoes. For shoes it’s a given and just the right color or genre would seal the deal. But with clothes the right mix matters a lot to me in that it helps to bring out the best expression of your style.
M: Difficult clients you have worked with? What is the best way to handle such clients?
TF: I must say that every client is unique and has unique needs. We respect that and we try to satisfy the several shades of needs. However, I would say the negligibly few “difficult” client/brand situations we had encountered had been resolved through superior communication skills. Most of these things occur when there are gaps in communication. And that is one thing we keep on mastering as we keep expanding our operations. By and large, our relationship with our clientele has been fantastic.
M: What are the high and low points of your career?
TF: One of my high points would be back in 2009, a unit in Exxon Mobil made a demand on us to deliver 35 branded shirts under 24hrs; we are not talking about just branding off the rack shirts, rather freshly sewn and branded shirts . From sampling of fabrics to choice and final production, all of that took place under 22 hours and the General manager who happened to be a white guy could not believe we pulled it through in Nigeria(I even didn’t believe we would pull it through ), but we did and we got a good handshake for a job well done. And for one unforgettable low point, we outsourced a branding job to a third party and everything described in detail was missed out, it was a major loss and a very low point for me. We learnt a good lesson all the same.
M: You were into the art of dance and choreography, why did you give it up to go into fashion?
TF: Hmmm, by that I take it that you are referring to the Spirit Of David. I really did not give up dancing for fashion; it went hand in hand at first in my university days. Moreover I was more involved in the coordination and organization of the club which saw me as the pioneer coordinator of the Lagos state branch and Head of Shows and Events for the national body. While at the helm of affairs in Lagos, I organized and coordinated many shows within and outside of Lagos. However, after my undergraduate programme and youth service, I picked up a job with one of the telecoms company till I resigned to go into the fashion world full-time. Nonetheless I am still certain of some few good steps should the occasion arise.
M: Fashion blunders you’ve had?
TF: Not that many though. I’m a stickler for matching belts with shoes, but one fateful day, I changed my shoes and forgot to change the belt. Well, I was still able to cover up by flying(pulling out) my shirts by the time I discovered. Another one was wearing two different socks in a hurry, I had to go back home to change.
M: How do you spot a stylish person?
TF: Style has got a language and if you understand that language, you will know when someone is communicating the language of style.
M: How can we know a Facuade piece? Any prominent detail(s) to look out for?
TF: At the inception it was the extra long tail that singled out the Facuade shirt; now you’ve got the purple details and the double stitch. Moreover it is mostly slim fit. And the experience? The triple elements of style, comfort and fit in every Facuade piece is inescapable.
M: Why the love for shirts?
TF: The shirt, for me, I believe gives room for varied expressions, so many details can be woven into a shirt design that communicate personal style. My love for shirts is just interesting to me, to the extent that I make a lot of fuss about their maintenance. I love my shirts looking very crisp.
M: What distinguishes your pieces from other designers?
TF: Well every designer out there strives for perfection, and we are no less big on that. As a matter of fact we do not compromise with quality and we make use of the finest of fabrics. What you can call the miracle of the Facuade shirt is its longevity. As I speak, I have shirts almost a decade in my wardrobe and the same goes for some of our clients.
M: If you were not into fashion what would you be doing?
TF: Well, back then at the university I had a short stint at the printing business. It gave me some extra income as a student. So, maybe I could have set up a press, but that does not come natural to me like fashion does.
M: Fashion item(s) you are crazy about?
TF: I love suits and blazers. I’m crazy about shirts though and I love good shoes.
M: Three things you cannot do without everyday.
TF: Three things……hmmm that would be my communion with God, my blackberry and my wristwatch.
M: When was the last time you splurge? What was it on?
TF: Honestly can’t remember any in the nearest past.
M: Who would u play closet raider with?
TF: Hmmmm ! I guess I would with Alibaba and Sean Diddy Combs.
M: Whose style you admire and why?
TF: Eyimofe Atake is one guy I admire his debonair style a lot. He’s got an impeccable and distinct style for a man of his age. He dresses to the occasion even in his fifties and will give men who are in their 20’s and 30’s a run for their style. I had the privilege of telling him this, the day he visited my church (this Present House) and I sat next to him.
M: Who is(are) your role model(s)?
TF: Talking about role models Dr Tony Rapu would be one of them and Segun Adelaja the bespoke Tailor in the UK. Tony Rapu is excellence personified and that he drives through everyone that comes in contact with him. Segun Adelaja broke through the ranks of shirt makers in the UK since the 90s and today he is a very renowned brand to reckon with.
M: What is your priced possession?
TF: Hmmmm, funny! That’s a tricky question though and wondering if I really do have one yet. lol
M: Where do you see yourself 5years from now?
TF: By the special grace of God, I see us as one of the leading fashion brands in West Africa and beyond. In that time, you wouldn’t have spoken about fashion from Nigeria on the international scene without making significant mention of the Facuade brand.
M: How would you rate the Nigerian fashion scene presently?
TF: The fashion scene is on all time high at the moment with new entrants into the scene bringing their own creativity to spice up things. It has over the years become attractive to a lot of younger people and this has changed the dynamics of the business. It is really a good thing.
M: What would you want to change about the fashion scene?
TF: Would love to contribute to seeing a more structured fashion industry in Nigeria that gives room for more cooperation and synergy amongst the older designers and the upcoming ones.
M: What should we expect from your brand in the coming future?
TF: Some new products will definitely be coming out of the Facuade stables. Just keep an eye on the brand as it unfolds and explodes.
M: How do we contact you?
TF: Facuade Clothiers is at 33 Bank Olemoh Crescent, off Akerele Street, Surulere. Contact numbers would be 08023074060 & 07052506906.