Funmi St Matthew Daniel is a Fashion Editor, stylist and writer. This trendy lady has spent quite a few years in the world of fashion. Now running her own business and working independently, she seems to be ready to take her fashion skills to a whole new level. She talks to 360NoBS about Fashion and lifestyle.
360NoBS: Let’s meet Funmi.
Funmi St Matthew Daniel: I’m Funmi St. Matthew Daniel and I have a company called FSMD Consulting. It’s a one stop shop for fashion, entertainment and lifestyle. I’m also a fashion editor. I’m also involved in sourcing services and anything related to fashion.
360NoBS: What do you do?
Funmi: I’m the fashion editor for Exquisite magazine. I joined them 3 months ago, to help increase the fashion ability of the magazine. I also work with Silverbird Television doing weekly features and style segments; kind of like a “fashion police” programme, I also style independently and provide fashion sourcing and planning services.
360NoBS: How and when did you start?
Funmi: I moved back from the UK late 2009, I worked with a magazine called “What’s New” along with contributing on some style feature segments for Silverbird Television (this stopped for a while but I’ve started contributing again). Then I started working with Mango clothing, I was the selector for Nigeria; liasing directly with the Barcelona office. During the course of that, I began working with Sleek Weekly as the stylist for fashion editorials. I couldn’t really juggle both at the same time, so I left and continued with Mango clothing. Late 2010, I joined Tiffany Amber as the Brand Manager. Whilst there, I co-planned and styled the Arise Magazine Fashion Week in 2010, Wimbiz Conferences (also a fashion show), Fashion Business Angola which was a fashion show and exhibition, I atually represented the brand at the latter. I left Tiffany Amber in August 2011 and now I’m running my own company.
360NoBS: How did you join Exquisite Magazine?
Funmi: I heard they were looking for a fashion editor and I felt it will be quite interesting to do it. I hadn’t had alot of editoring experience, so I was a bit unsure. But with my wide experience in fashion, both here and in the UK, I met with them and I thought “Ok! Let’s go!”
360NoBS: What were you doing in the UK?
Funmi: I was working as a fashion planner and buyer. I worked for a clothing store called Warehouse. I worked there straight out of university for about 6 years. I worked my way up until I was managing departments. Then, I moved to Tesco clothing where I managed some departments and over saw others.
360NoBS: What did you study?
Funmi: Business Marketing.
360NoBS: So why fashion?
Funmi: The thought of sitting in an office, working in that office environment wasn’t appealing to me. Towards the end of my university, I came accross one of these bulletins that have various courses, and I was like “Oh wow, this is soo me, why don’t I do this!” In the fashion world, there’s an office and all, but there are fashion shows, events and sometimes it can really be fun. No one day is the same and that’s what I really enjoy.
360NoBS: What do you miss most about the UK?
Funmi: The convenience of things and electricity.
360NoBS: Why did you move back?
Funmi: I got to a point where I was beginning to get bored of routine and at work, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do what my managers did, I never aspired to be where they were, so I thought, what’s the point. Also, not growing up in Nigeria or since I left the country when I was much younger, I didn’t know my roots. I’d been to Nigeria a few times on holiday and thought to myself that I’d like to spend some time here. I didn’t have any commitments then, so it was easy to walk away. So, I decided to come for 6months, this was in July ’09 – LOL.
360NoBS: Why fashion?
Funmi: Like I said earlier, I’ve always worked in fashion, so that’s what I know. I’m not necessarily Vivenne Westwood when it comes to dressing, but I defintiely have my own sense of style and I know what looks good on people and what brings out their best features. I enjoy everything about fashion; reading fashion magazines, watching fashion programmes, seeing how a garment is constructed, everything!. When I was younger and playing with my dolls, I had an imaginary store called “Daniel’s Designs” Lol! I like dressing up and I like dressing people up too.
360NoBS: What would you say your style is?
Funmi: I like to look put together, whether I’m dressing up or wearing jeans. I like to look polished. I can dress down, but not scruffy! I like to have my nails and eyebrows done, I like to look groomed. I can be a bit eclectic, a bit formal or sometimes laid back, but always put together!.
360NoBS: How are you finding your job and running your own business?
Funmi: I’m enjoying it. It’s a bit frustrating at times, but what’s life without the frustrations. I’m incorporating all the things I want to do; I enjoy writing, I enjoy styling, I enjoy the planning aspect of fashion too, so I’m lucky that I’m getting to do what I want and actually this is one of the reasons I left the UK.
360NoBS: What do you think about the fashion industry in Nigeria?
Funmi: I think it’s got so much potential. In the short time I’ve been here, it has grown so much which is very encouaging. Nigeria has the biggest fashion industry in Africa and a lot of what is going on at the moment will make it bigger. There’s a huge market here.
360NoBS: The industry seems to be saturated at the moment, what’s your take on this?
Funmi: It’s a trend to be in fashion now. I guess when things are in fashion, everyone wants to jump on it, and that’s especially the case in Nigeria. So, I think the people who really know what they are doing; those with true skills, are going to be the one’s still around in a couple of years. And, time will tell.
360NoBS: How does the fashion industry in Nigeria differ from its international counterpart?
Funmi: It’s not that different I would say. Fashion in Nigeria is relatively new compared to those overseas. There’s no reason why it shouldn’t be as good as those overseas in the next 5-10 years. We have some limitations though like infrastructure for example, but with the right things in place, there shouldn’t be any difference.
360NoBS: What is your favourite fashion accessory?
Funmi: I don’t know actually, can’t answer that but I always accessorize. Let’s just say, I never leave home without earrings and always with a pair of sunglasses.
360NoBS: Are you bothered about magazine sales in this part of the country?
Funmi: Well, there are no proper channels for distribution. In the UK, there are chains of stores and bodies to handle that; where you can print, distribute and be sure of getting your money. In Nigeria, no such structures exisit and we depend on street hawkers which don’t guarantee money back. So yes, I am bothered. Also, there are about 150 million people in Nigeria and we can’t even efectivey reach 1% of that population; this is not just Exquisite Magazine either, others face the same issues. You produce work that’s really interesting but not many people are going to be able to read it. It’s a bit frustrating.
360NoBS: How do you develop the fashion content?
Funmi: I read alot of magazines and I enjoy them. I also check out alot of fashion magazines and evern gossip sites as they’re fanatastic for seeing who’s hot and who’s not for example! For the April edition, I got my content from my last trip to the UK. There were a lot of pastel colours flying around. Also, I think and watch out for trends; what’s in, what I’m interested in and also what I’d like to see. However, it’s not just about putting stuff in, but also about putting stuff that can be bought and worn here inNigeria and not just in the UK alone.
360NoBS: What should we expect to see from you in the near future?
Funmi: I’m still going to be continuing with my role as fashion editor for Exquisite Magazine. Alongside this, I’m going to be doing some TV styling; I styled one of the presenters for a new lifestyle show called “The Amazons” which start airing in June this year. You’ll also see regular TV segments from me on a programme called “Page 3” on Silverbird television where I’ll be giving fashion tips and style critiques. There are few other things going on in the background, but they’ll stay a secret for now!
360NoBS: Thank you for your time Funmi, we wish you all the best in your endeavours.
Funmi: Thank you.
Interview by Isoken Uwaifo