Monday, 5 March 2018


After following the Coz brand for a while, I decided to find out more about it's story and it is an inspiring tale that every Nigerian youth can tap into. At 20, some young people do not have an idea about where they are headed even when certain opportunities avail them but for Oreoluwa Osoba, he commenced the journey of adding style to travel bags, office bags, cross bags, suede back packs and more with the brand name Coz.The Coz journey started while Ore was at his final year studying Computer Science at the North American University, Cotonou, Republic of Benin with a 100,000 Naira he had saved. Ore was called several names by his father but he never gave up on that dream.

Ore Osoba is a first class graduate with a creative flair in the business of style and his love for fashion led him to creating jean bags before moving to leather bags but this was a vision his father never believed. He says ''I was labelled a bad child for believing in my dreams but that didn't stop me. I always tell people your parents don't know everything, only God does''. It is very obvious this creative brain behind Coz is a man after God's heart; And that God passion has driven his marketing strategy for his brand. Infact, Coz has the best customers and they never stop pleasing them. This brand is not just about fashion, It's about youth empowerment. Ore adds ''I want people to see Coz and believe they can do anything no matter how young they are''.

 It seemed like Ore was wasting a time of his life and youth but his sister, Busayo kept pushing and believing. She was also supportive financially and spiritually. All of that crazy journey has yielded so much for the brand. Coz can boast of two collections with a third on the way. There are customers across 16 countries which include United States, United Kingdom, Ghana, South Africa, France, China and so on. Coz has also grabbed Nigerian brand of the year award and named among the top 10 leather brands in Africa with a business show room at Lekki, Lagos. Ore says prayer and hardwork is the key and that can be observed in his daily work routine because It is from one meeting to another creating strategies on growing the brand from one level to another. He adds ''believe in yourself and believe you can do anything''.

Aside the brand, Ore has won awards; Entrepreneur of the year, he has been called the future of fashion in Nigeria and named one of the most influential youths in Nigeria. I had to ask what marketing steps are being taken to push the brand in today's competitive market and I wasn't surprised to hear about social media adverts, showcasing at fashion shows, advertising in fashion magazines and blogs, and most importantly, making the price affordable and that has kept growing customers. Coz is simply an ideal brand to compliment your swagger as an everyday worker who works hard but still very fashionable and even children are not left out of the train.

It's been three years Ore started Coz and they are set to reveal a new collection themed after the third year of existence; the collection will represent strength and growth, It has a bag for everyone from the cool children to the office guys. The collection will play with colors especially from the signature tan brown to more bright colors. Ore described this collection has the hardest so far to design because of some personal challenges he was going through while creating the collection. Pressure strolled in and he was unable to design for a while but with his faith in God and the support of friends and family, he was able to pull through and get back to Coz 3.

Ore is very optimistic about the new collection because it speaks for itself, from the leather to the design. he added ''I'm sure the Coz army would see how much work was put into it''. The sleepless nights creating such a great brand comes would need some relaxation and music is definitely one of the keys because he likes to envision and music takes him to that place with music stars like Asa, Rihanna and Adele. Being the easy going man, Ore loves a calm environment to also relax and ofcourse food. Ore says he will not stop engaging his customers and that is an ideal marketing strategy any day any time.

Sunday, 4 March 2018


Photography-Roy Rochlin/Getty Images
He is one of the three Nigerians that featured in the most recently talked about film, Black Panther. Femi Olagoke acted alongside Sope Aluko and Nnamdi Nwosa but he was also behind some powerful stunt moves which means he is not just an actor but can also give meaning to some interpretations of make-believe.

It is not every actor that can perform stunts but when you have a stunt man delivering world class acting, you can imagine the amount of training undergone by such a professional. Interestingly, he is also a model and a dancer. Where do I begin from?

Let's start from the top. Recently, I stumbled on his picture posted online and I was quite excited to do an interview and so I got in touch with him online. Femi Olagoke was born and raised in Lagos. He lived mostly at Surulere and Victoria Island areas of the city. As a kid, he had dreams of being and doing so many things ranging from a successful business executive to an Olympic athlete, actor, entertainer and more. There is no doubt that Femi is on that road to being a force to be reckoned with especially among the black community.

Femi moved to the United States to further his education graduating with a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration. He says moving to the U.S exposed him to a world of possibilities, opened up those curiosities in him and leading him to discover more about himself. Today, that quest has led him to be a part of the Hollywood family where his acting and stunt skills can be valued and appreciated. 

His professional stunt skill has graced productions like Gotham, John Wick:Chapter 2, Marvel's Luke Cage and Power. Others coming soon are Avengers:Infinity Wars and Dwayne Johnson's Rampage. I can't help but ask how Nollywood can improve their stunts and he emphasized that putting together the right team is important in execution. The cinematographer, stunt coordinator, fight choreographer, rigging specialists and stunt performers are key people to have. 

I must confess this is the first time am hearing a comprehensive list of stunt professionals involved in a film production. He added " It requires a lot of moving parts to execute stunts properly to make it look great on film. Learning from some of the top professionals in the industry through training, workshops, classes is invaluable".
Photography-2souls photo
Femi was a playful and active child growing up. Lagos was fun and transformative for him as a child but it had its own challenges. He says "you learn a lot growing up in a place like Lagos. I cherish the values of respect, dignity, pride, and excellence". Aside his childhood memoirs shaping him, nature and culture have always inspired Femi. Living in Nigeria exposed him to lots of cultures around the world. He learnt about other countries which made him appreciate the differences and uniqueness in everyone. He added "music, food, dance, fashion and arts from around the globe inspire me to create uniqueness in my world and I embrace them while celebrating my own culture as well".

There is always a first experience for every talent or career; For Femi, his first experience as a stunt man was incredibly fun but was not challenging as it was a basic stunt he was comfortable performing. It was on the set of the film, Falling to the ground, and he had a kind and supportive crew to work with. As a graduate of Business Administration, Femi says it's extremely helpful in approaching the film industry with a business mindset even though it is an artistic and entertainment venture. Infact, he is aware of how the industry functions  from a business standpoint.

I cannot help but ask about Black Panther which has been rated well by most people across the world. Femi says the film represents many things he already knew. He was really glad, filled with pride and joy to see that blacks are being represented in a beautiful light on a platform this big. As for Nollywood, he says " I think Nollywood is doing a fantastic job. It has grown immensely over the years and with a movie like Black Panther being released, I think it will help bridge the gap in promoting more of our culture and language".
Photography-Bettina May
From his experience and training acquired so far, Femi advises that actors and dancers  should support each other and do collaborative works because it will help them grow as an artiste. Never be afraid to try new and unfamiliar things. He says these different experiences will be valuable in the future.

If Femi is not on a movie set working, he likes to really rest, listens to his body and do what's best for it such as a massage, acupuncture or soak in a warm bath. He wants to be remembered for creating positive influences around the world and also show that it is possible to achieve success with persistence and passion.
Photography-Simon Mcdermott-Johnson

Wednesday, 21 February 2018


It is no longer news that the reading culture in Nigeria is gradually fading off but there are some people who will not let that culture die. Emeka Amakeze is a Nigerian Filmmaker, actor and writer, and he has decided to impact Nigerians and Africans at large by writing a book titled Ikuku Uguru which means Harmattan Breeze. This book is written in Igbo language and apart from sustaining the language and culture, the writer aims to influence readers from this generation and generations yet unborn positively while offering them the pleasure of reading good books.

According to him, Ikuku Uguru is about attaining maturity in our relationships so that the dry harmattan breeze of adversities does not destroy both the people and their relationships. He further backed it up with an Igbo proverb that says ''When a male who hasn't attained maturity ties a wrapper around his waist like a mature man, If wind blows, It will not only snatch the wrapper, It will also carry the young man away''.
 This Nollywood Actor and writer started reading at a very tender age and the knowledge garnered from those books have gone a long way in shaping his life. He says ''I believe we owe the next generation the bliss of good books, what better way to immortalize ideas than books''. It was a decision to write in Igbo for him knowing fully well that language will be a major limitation as only Igbo speaking people would understand the book.

On the sensitive area regarding our culture fading off, Emeka says that is the greatest tragedy as Nigerians. He says the culture of Ndi Igbo revolved around truth. ''When you stand on the side of truth, every other virtue falls into place. Our culture demands that we are only alive when we are on the side of truth and unless we go back to being truthful in our dealings, we will fade away in pains and misery''.

Emeka is inspired by nature and everybody around him but really adores the late Chinua Achebe. He says the universe is just a limitless reservoir of inspiration to tap from. We might likely get to see a movie adaptation of this book and when I asked who are those actors to feature, Emeka says ''Actors are like clay and with a good potter in a director, any good actor can suit in the cinematic adaptation''. He intends to create more literary pieces which will include a collection of poems. This book is currently available online at amazon but efforts are being made to publish hard copies.
Emeka's first film was Royal Package in 2005.


The year 2018 has been birthing some interesting look books in the fashion world. For WET 2018, menswear label, Femy Toys has chronicled its seasonal story by exploring it's long lived dream and desire of mastering the art of creating well tailored suits it's consumers can live and breathe in with Style.

Straying away from a niche stitched to fast fashion, the traditionally minimal yet contemporarily flamboyant range of tastefully constructed suits flaunts the essence of its consumers typical idea of a Closet Show-off, the kind which envelopes and seals the physical form with impeccable fit.
"ALA is a shimmering impression of My translation on menswear suiting" Femi Adeyemi
Great Images by Tosin Akinyemiju Studios and we must salute the creative styling and direction by The Style Infidel. Thumbs to the models; Wale Bello and Faith Johnson. 

Saturday, 17 February 2018


From an extreme curious direct messaging with the famous Tyra Banks that went sour to being blocked by the Supermodel, to disappointments by brands, Scott Pears has remained steadfast within a year of his career as a professional model. I have never heard about the name Scott Pears until I posted a campaign by Veens Clothing for his new collection where he modeled alongside Actor, Okey Uzoeshi and former Mr. Tourism Nigeria culture, Ernest Tochi.

The name Scott Pears sounds quite foreign and I had to ask If he was Nigerian or something but Scott Esosa Igbinoba is a proud son of Edo State in Nigeria. According to him, Scott Pears is a unique name he came up with after falling in love with pears baby oil a long time ago, he thought to himself why don't he put Scott and pears together and it sounded nice. That was the birth of the brand that everyone has come to terms with, especially as a young fast rising model.

For Scott, Modeling was a second choice after basketball having represented Nigeria at various national and international competitions but he has owned every definition today especially with an eyebrow that is a very unique trademark which has been often complimented by people and he is always ready to flaunt it for the benefit of growing his career. He described his eyebrow as his selling point. He believes he was given for a reason because it has opened doors to work with big brands like MTN, Ttdalk and many more. Scott is not just a lay about or some school drop out as might be assumed by some section of the society. He is a graduate of Business Administration from Eastern Mediterranean University, Cyprus which was based on scholarship from playing basketball. His exposure has actually widened by traveling to countries like Egypt, Greece, Turkey and Italy.

This 6ft. model described his first job as funny, he says ''honestly I had no idea what I was doing while the light were flashing, I just knew I was changing poses, and the pictures eventually came out beautiful''.  He was paid five thousand Naira, but he believed those are sacrifices to be a better model and a great one like Tyra Banks who remains an inspiration to him till date.
I had to ask a critical question regarding treatment given to models in this part of the world He said ''models are not given respect like other countries do,  we are the face of every brand so we deserve to be respected.'' 

I really do hope that one day models will not be seen as hungry people. According to him models complain about not been paid well by brand or not even paid at all,  ''that's just pure disrespect! this makes parents disallow their children from becoming models because of the mindset they have about models''. One significant area I found vital was the creation of a body that will unite or fight for the plights of models. A body that can sue any brand for misconduct and breach of payment or agreement.

 Interestingly, He has experienced embarrassing moments while on this journey which I believe is an everyday encounter amongst rising models in Nigeria. Scott says he was called up for a shoot with a well known brand in Nigeria and he had to wait for 6 hours without being attended to or even a glass of water. After waiting that long, he was told to change into an outfit but on stepping out, they were in a shoot with someone else. Do you know what he was told? The designer literally told him he didn't need Scott anymore, he can pull off the clothes and go home. According to Scott, he was expecting a transport fare back home and a sorry for the inconvenience but he has not given up on his dreams as he strives daily to be a better model.

Scott ensures he stays fit even though It is tough for every model especially when you get an impromptu job. There is no time to relax now according to him but he exercises at least for an hour every morning. He takes lots of fruits especially watermelon which helps in rejuvenating lost cells and reduces stress. All of these he says is just to be in shape as a professional model.

 Despite the few challenges, Modeling has been rewarding for Scott, It has given him the exposure, respect and confidence. Interestingly, some people now look up to him as a mentor. Going for castings is still a tough route to achieving certain feats because of the top models he meets there and also the challenge of being signed by top agencies. All of these has not slowed him down especially when he looks back to what made him start. He wants to be seen not just as a model but a motivational speaker as well. He wants to be seen as a model who motivates others to never give up on their dreams especially when they look at his works.

We all have good and bad stories growing up and Scott has continued to emerge stronger despite coming from a polygamous home but he is happy that his father gave all his children quality education.
For anyone desiring to be a success in the industry, He says follow your dreams, practice everyday,  eat right, work out, be loyal, do not depend on people to help you build your dreams and join a network that would help brush you up. Scott desires to work with brands like Adidas, Gucci, Mai Atafo ,Orange Culture and the likes.