Exclusive: Jessica Nwalozie Speaks to Glamsquad Magazine on Winning the Vlisco Fashion Fund 2019

The saying that ‘the difference between possible and impossible is hard work and commitment’ goes a long way in explaining the successes of many, and regardless of a person’s achievements of setbacks, the underlying role of passion is always evident.

Jessica Nwalozie, the face of Vlisco Fashion Fund 2019 and deserving winner of the 5,000 Euros prize spoke to Glamsquad Magazine Editor, Sebastiane Ebatamehi on her passion for Fashion, her journey so far and winning the prestigious Vlisco Fashion Fund.

The 27-year-old creative director of Jessica James – a women’s wear fashion brand, insisted that she remains an upcoming fashion designer despite winning the Vlisco fashion Fund 2019 prize. She revealed that she has not allowed the idea of winning such a prestigious award get into her head and that it will take some time before it all sinks in.

Below is an excerpt from the interview which took place at the Vlisco head office in Lagos, Nigeria. Enjoy!

Glamsquad Magazine: Good morning, can we please meet you?
Jessica: Nwalozie: My name is Jessica Nwalozie. I am a fashion illustrator and designer. I am the creative director of the Jessica James brand.

I started in the fashion industry as an illustrator because of my drawing abilities, and since I loved Fashion, I channeled my creativity there.

Glamsquad Magazine: For all the things you could do, why Fashion?
Jessica Nwalozie: I live and dream Fashion. Although I have a degree in Bio-Chemistry, Fashion has always been my enclave.

Even before I went to a fashion school, I enjoyed buying and testing out fabrics. Being a fashion designer is all I could envision myself becoming.

Glamsquad Magazine: How does it feel to be the winner of the Vlisco Fashion Fund 2019?
Jessica Nwalozie: It doesn’t feel real! [Laughs] The whole process was an experience, and until now, I have not sat down to digest the fact that I have won.

Even when I have my friends and family congratulating me and I see the Vlisco Fashion Fund 2019 cheque in the dinning every day, I still check to confirm it is my name on it.

I have tried to maintain my regular schedules and work as I have always done, maybe it will finally sink in by January 2020 [Laughs].

Glamsquad Magazine: Fast forward, what will this prize do for you?
Jessica Nwalozie: So much! I have been in the fashion industry for about five years now. Everyone needs a big break, and I believe this is my launchpad to fulfilling the vision I have for my brand as a fashion designer.

Winning the Vlisco Fashion Fund is up there in the list of the things I needed to accomplish to launch my brand to the world adequately.

Glamsquad Magazine: What do you think is the role of Vlisco in helping young Fashion entrepreneurs achieve their dreams?
Jessica Nwalozie: I have been following Vlisco long before they started the Vlisco Fashion Fund because my mum is a big fan of the Hollandais Wax Print. I would always watch her dress up.

So, as a child, the company inspired me in many ways. Even without the prize money, Vlisco is a source of inspiration to fashion entrepreneurs and enthusiasts.

Vlisco helps designers to push creativity through their fabrics.

Glamsquad Magazine: Is this your first application for the Vlisco Fashion Fund?
Jessica Nwalozie: No. I couldn’t apply for some reasons in the first year, but in 2017, I started the application process, but I couldn’t submit.

In 2018, I entered the competition, but I knew my application was not strong enough.

So, I made concrete plans and worked hard to submit a robust application this year. I started collecting fabrics and building up my application since the beginning of the year.

Glamsquad Magazine: In your opinion, what is the state of the fashion industry in Nigeria at the moment?
Jessica Nwalozie: I feel we are a long way [better] from where we were a year ago or two years ago because younger people in the industry are making an impact and having a voice in the industry.

It is now easier to break into the industry because there is a lot of information.

Also, companies like Vlisco and Fashion events/competitions have made it easier for young people to get a platform to showcase their creativity.

Glamsquad Magazine: Vlisco has marked 173 in operation, how does it feel to be the face of such a prestigious and successful brand?
Jessica Nwalozie: It is such an honour. Vlisco is all about heritage, and this is what I want for my brand also; I want my brand to outlive me.

It is such an honour to be a part of such a huge legacy as Vlisco’s.

I wouldn’t have it any other way. I feel so blessed and lucky to be a part of this journey.

Glamsquad Magazine: What is your advice for young fashion entrepreneurs out there, especially the upcoming?
Jessica Nwalozie: I am still an upcoming fashion designer, so I am advising myself with these words also. I do not think I have scratched the surface of what I want to become in life.

Young fashion entrepreneurs cannot get by being lazy; you have to put in the work and believe in yourself.

You have to be hardworking and consistent. Despite the obvious challenges and setbacks, you have to keep working hard and most importantly remain consistent.

Also, you have to be patient. Do not try to take short cuts to success because it will be short-lived.

Glamsquad Magazine: Thank you so much, Jessica, for your time, it was nice talking to you.
Jessica Nwalozie: It was a pleasure. Thank you for having me. [Smiles]

Sebastiane Ebatamehi

I am a Writer and Online Publicist, destined to give a voice to the silent echoes and hush whispers that are seldom heard

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