Award winning Celebrity Stylist Jane Michael Ekanem has got the most beautiful smile! She is a super force to reckon with in the fashion and styling industry.
The Nigerian based fashion entrepreneur is widely known for her work with A-list celebrities and other high profile clients. She was featured on CNN’s African Voices where she shared the story of her humble beginnings in Surulere Suburbs of Lagos, Nigeria to making it tops in the fashion /styling industry through hardwork and determination.
Stalk her on instagram @janemichaelekanem
Tell us about yourself
My name is Jane Michael Ekanem. I am a celebrity stylist, designer, and fashion entrepreneur; the C.E.O of the brand Jane Michael and Creative Director of the clothing brand ‘Easy Wear by Jane Michael’.
How did you get into fashion styling?
I had always had an irrepressible love for fashion and style even as a child so I believe my love for fashion was innate. Although I had tried my hands at different jobs in the past, as regarding fashion I started out selling cufflinks and my knack for quality and a love for striking and beautiful fashion pieces helped my then little business graduate into a mobile boutique. The real opportunity came when I was contracted to style the female contestants on MTN Project Fame and since I was and still very passionate about fashion, I knew that was the career direction I was going to take, so I became a full-time stylist.
You are the winner of the Eloy award ‘Fashion Stylist of the year 2016’ and a Future award ‘Prize for Fashion’ nominee. How does that make you feel?
Honored. I feel like a good measure of my hard work, refusal to give up in the face of challenges and sacrifices are paying off. Recognition is always great because it shows that you are affecting lives positively and also that people are taking notice in a good way. So that makes everything worth it I must say.
Tell us about your project ‘School of Styling’ and your design label ‘Jane Michael Collection’
All the knowledge I have as a stylist, I had to learn on the job; and although the mistakes, sacrifices and experiences came together to mould the stylist that I am today, it would have been great to have some professional guide of some sort. That guide that I would have very much appreciated is what the School of Styling Faculty is dedicated to providing to budding and would-be stylists. Fashion styling isn’t taught in tertiary institutions right now but I am hopeful that with the School of Styling, we can begin a revolution in that area of fashion and with time help people realize that fashion styling is a viable career and can be taught to young fashion lovers. As regarding my label, designing had always been something I wanted to do but the time had just not been right. An entrepreneur must always plan and strategize properly; so, at the time when I felt I could really begin designing, I started to with such fervor and I have been happy with the reception so far.
Which celebrity would you love to dress locally and internationally?
By now everyone must know about my intense admiration and borderline obsession with wanting to style Kelly Rowland (laughs) and I hope I get to do so someday. I have had the opportunity to style many celebrities in Nigeria with great results and the best a stylist can wish for is styling someone that gives you little to no creative issues.
What item of clothing do you wear most often?
Due to the nature of my job, black is usually the easiest option but I love Ankara pieces so much and cannot help but wear them as often as I can especially my Ankara short skirt.
Apart from being a celebrity stylist, you are also a biker chic. What made you develop interest in power bikes?
I have a thing for speed which is evident in the way I drive my car; and the rush I get when I drive was an indication that riding a bike would be something I would enjoy. I decided to learn to ride at a point in my life when I needed some change, a new identity, and a new circle of friends. I was particularly drawn to riding because I love to defy set patterns generally; and usually women are expected to ride behind a guy controlling a bike but I wanted the whole experience for myself so I got enrolled in a riding school and learnt how to ride my own bike.
You have been involved in highly rated fashion presentations. Tell us about the Hugo Boss fashion and the GTB Fashion Weekend fashion presentations.
The HUGO Boss presentation was not as difficult as one might think because I considered myself an embodiment of what the campaign was about; a woman who is strong, industrious, and resilient in business yet feminine and delicate at the same time. It was a great time I must say. On the other hand, Tosin Ogundadegbe of TheStyleInfidel ensembled the GTB Fashion Weekend presentation. I applied and was offered the position of the Assistant Head Stylist but I ended up as the acting Head Stylist and that made for a great experience. I learnt a lot during the fashion weekend especially how international runway shows were organized because GTBank Fashion Weekend was the biggest runway show in Nigeria. It pulled international designers who brought with them experiences and their unique expectations that stretched my capacity as a stylist in a good way. I was working with fellow assistant Head Stylist Bimbo-Kofoworola Oladeji who was such an amazing colleague that made things less stressful for us as we worked together to make sure everything backstage and on-stage was perfect to the extent that the international designers expressed how impressed they were with our dedication to the job. Bimbo and I, took home some vital lessons and experiences that I am sure is of great value to our careers.
Reality TV Show or Documentary?
Reality TV Shows. You cannot easily get away with faking anything even if scripted.