FYI: This may or may not be a new series on the blog.
So, if you're Nigerian (maybe I can extend it to African), chances are that throughout your life, you've had at least 2 or 3 outfits custom made or sewn for you. I can speak to Nigeria only, since I am Nigerian, and you only need to visit Bella Naija online and check out their Asoebi Bella features to know what I'm talking about. For almost every event, there is a "uniform" or asoebi that a lot of guests have to buy, in order to fit with the event theme (and I'm not just talking about bridal parties). It can be weddings, funerals, baby dedications, etc. In addition to these events, a lot of people have some outfits sewn or made because they see something they like online, and want a replica using their own fabric. (An example is my "rendition" of a dress America Ferrerra wore)
Now, in order to get your clothes made, you either have to DIY (Do It Yourself) or get a tailor to sew it for you. In Nigeria, you can get a tailor to sew a dress easily, and prices range from N2000 ($12.25) to N100,000 ($612.25). The price obviously depends on the material and "level" of the tailor (or should I say designer) you're using. When you move to a different country, it's harder to find a tailor that understands what you're looking to make, and so they come a bit more expensive than you'd like.
But what I've noticed with every single tailor I've used, in America and in Nigeria, is that YOU work on THEIR time! Notice what I said. They're providing you a service, but largely follow their own timing.
EXAMPLE 1: The dress I posted above was made in Atlanta, by a Jamaican lady who is very good at her craft. If only she was as awesome with timing. I gave her the material and photo of the style I wanted with a 3-week window, and she assured me that she could get it done within 2 weeks max. I was going to wear a dress to the wedding, so I figured it was fine. At the 2-week mark, how about I get there and she's sewn just the lining?!?!? She says to come back in 2 days for the dress... then asks me to come in another 2 days... and then to come back the night before I was traveling to the West Coast! I got there at 7pm, and this lady was STILL sewing my dress! I literally sat with her for 2 hours until the store closed! I learned my lesson with her though, and the next time I went to her, I lied about my travel date and had my new dress 2 weeks before I was scheduled to travel :)
|I ended up not wearing it in 2011, but for my bride price presentation in 2013|
EXAMPLE 2: My current tailor here in Lagos has basically taken my dress hostage!!!!!! It's been 4 whole weeks, and nothing to show for it. When I called him last week, he said he was out of town and would bring it to my house on Monday.
Today is Thursday...
THEORY: Tailors all over the world have made a pact to frustrate the living daylights out of simple, innocent folk who just want to look exclusively fly.