Many people do what they love doing but very few are the best at what they do. InterviewStories met a Stylist who also happens to be a student at University of Port Harcourt. Joshua Achonwa is an A-rated celebrity stylist and the creative director at Jae Wilder Stylings. He talks about how he got to be one of the very best at what he does
Can we meet you?
I am Joshua Achonwa,a final year Chemical engineering student at the University of Port Harcourt. Am from Rivers,Port Harcourt to be precise, from a family of 5 with 4 sisters, am also a designer and A-rated celebrity stylist with a styling brand “Jae Wilder Stylings”. I am an image consultant, event analyst and video stylist.
Image consulting is a professional field that aims to improve the image of the client personally or professionally through appearance, behaviour, and communication. It is the process of evaluating the effect of a person’s appearance on their professional image. Just making you look as you sound, the kind of person they expect to see, not when you sound differently and look differently. In music videos, for example, the outfits in the videos may speak differently from the lyrics, that’s why we are here to make it all right. Someone that analysis event gives you creative ideas and concept on how to go about your event. They offer intellectual ideas. More precisely, they tell you what to put in place to make your event better. A video stylist is someone who makes provisions for all the necessary outfits for a video shoot.
I love food and read a lot, I practically spend most of my free hours researching online. I sometimes do movies on weekends. Music is my drug I vibe to a lot of alte music, I’m a fan of Santi, prettyboydo and a couple of cool acts. My favourite colour is maroon.
Why study Chemical Engineering?
I actually always wanted to be an engineer, first I thought it was mechanical, I wanted to build things, wanted to create things, then I switched to petroleum and then I landed in Chemical Engineering. Here’s the Gist, back in high school I wasn’t so much of a chemistry student, in fact, I barely did good in chemistry grade. After high school I picked up the challenge, I sat and taught myself chemistry for 6months and ended up loving it.
What makes you a good designer?
Actually, my dad was a major contributor to my career he lives very much in me. I learned to love fashion as a growing up kid, I enjoyed watching my dad dress up, I enjoyed every aspect of seeing people look good. I started playing dress up as a young kid. Although through my teenage age the whole designer and stylist thing didn’t come to play that big, it was in my early University days I discovered I could fit things properly, I felt more, loved being behind cameras, I enjoyed the flickering lights, the shades and colours!
I knew that was what I wanted, I fitted in without stress, I match colours properly, I looked good without stress, I could tell when an outfit was bad, it was all coming to me, I felt it and then I embraced it, drew closer to the masters, and learnt the craft. I used to hang with Jason Porshe while he was in Port Harcourt around 2017. My first fashion certificate “A view in fashion” was gotten from a fashion school from Scotland . I study a lot and put so much into this craft. Am getting better daily.
What makes you better than other designers around?
Well, I think it’s the me factor. You can’t take that away, you can take the fabrics, the styling the idea, but the me factor makes everything even magical. Without me, everything wouldn’t be the same.
What makes one a celebrity stylist?
Well, when you’ve worked with more than 5 celebrities. Styled them on different occasions, worked with international brands I think at that time you are no longer local because your works go on different platforms and stages. You are international.
What does Jae Wilder Stylings do?
Jae Wilder Stylings is a fashion & image consultancy company and our services cover booking of outfits, styling of weddings, video shoots, pictures, event consultancy, fashion presentations and more. You could get to know when you visit us.
Why the name Jae Wilder Stylings as your company name?
I’m myself Jae of Port Harcourt tells the story of a young Port Harcourt boy that went on to conquer the rest of the world. The brand Jae wilder is a styling brand, very wild brand totally out of the box that’s the creativity level. It isn’t what you can possibly imagine.
Tell us your first time experience styling an A-rated celebrity?
My first A-list was Mayorkun. Funny as it sounds I didn’t believe who was on the other side of the phone. I remember vividly because it was my first breakthrough. The call came around 6:00PM. I was sitting outside, and a call came in “are you Jae Wilder?” I said I was, he said you are speaking to big Sam, Mayorkun’s manager I need you to come style Mayorkun for a show, “he forgot his backpack in Lagos”. He gave me directions and other info needed.
When the call ended I thought it was a scam, I had to call my friend because this was too big, at that time Mayorkun just released “mama” I didn’t know how to believe it. I called Mayorkun’s team in Lagos through the IG page to confirm if they were in my city and it was true they were in Port Harcourt and actually called me. I rushed up with my friend Mcwesley, we did the job. It was really a beautiful experience. When I get the calls now I just go through I don’t have to go through the drama I did the first time. The DMW team was welcoming and made me feel very much at home. I didn’t feel any nervous instead I felt great.
Which artist did you enjoy styling the most and why?
That has to be Broda Shaggi, he was really welcoming and funny. After the session, we sat with his manager Pastor Pharoa and had a very long conversation.
Must one be rich or wealthy to be able to afford or provide any of these services?
To do what I do will cost you time, resources, and sleep, but you don’t need to be wealthy. To afford my services you don’t need to be wealthy also, price ranges from students to high prolific individuals. It’s about finding your class and fitting into it.
How has what you studied in school help you in establishing yourself as an A-rated stylist?
Yes, in someways. School these days don’t give you the necessary skills needed to survive in the common world. It does not teach you how to pay your bills. But if you look deeply you would get to see that everything you need in life is taught to you from the sides of the classroom. For example I learned more on how to run my businesses from my entrepreneurship classes. We call it General studies(GES). I learnet a lot of business skills. Also there were times the lecturers cut classes short to talk to us about life. I did side jobs with designers to rise capitals. I even had a team I worked with while building a brand. They helped me raise capital from shoots and little events.
How easy is managing Jae Wilder Stylings?
Well currently I’m in my final year , it’s easier now. I have less school work you know. My personal assistant Miss Jenny handles any tedious work I have to do, my road manager Yemi handles my travels and movements. It has gotten easier with my team, but when I started it was more difficult.
Tell us about your worst day as a stylist?
My worst day actually turned to be one of my favourites. It was my day with Pryse and the electricity supply was constant at the studio we were to use, we got fuel just in case. The funny part was the power went out that day and the generator refused to come on. We struggled for 4hours but the generator just won’t come on. Finally, the power came back on but we were all already tired. We almost cancelled the shoot but I still insisted that it must go on. We started shooting around 9pm and ended around 11pm. The shoot turned out to be successful.
Have you ever worked and was not fully paid? What did you do after it happened?
Yes, the Chairman still owes me. I dust it off and moved past it. Recently they called me for a job and I declined. I knew full well I was the only one that could handle it and that’s why I declined. They were really hurt. They promised payment before I start working and all of that but once you play me, I consider you insincere and I don’t work with people who are not sincere.
What resources do you value most?
Time. You never have it back.
What values do you think are most important in the line of work you do?
Like I said sincerity. Don’t broker a deal you can’t pull off.
What motivates you?
My dad, I pray the angels keep him well till I see him again. My mum, she really wants to see me win. Of course for my sisters to be proud of me, my awesome friends and to everyone rooting for me genuinely. They are my true motivation.
How are you able to combine multiple jobs together?
Well I have an efficient team. I styled Perruzi and Broda Shaggi in one day but of course at different times. There isn’t anything I can’t do as long as I pray before leaving for the day.
Do you plan to continue with Jae Wilder Stylings after school or the future prospects of chemical engineering?
Lol, Jae wilder Stylings would be here for a long time. It’s an award-winning brand you know, currently the next rated designer in Nigeria according to the South-South Achievers that held this year in Calabar.
How do you make use of technology to help your business?
Instagram has been helpful. A lot of my works are online. People bump into my works and want to work with me. Also, I’ve been featured on a lot of platforms.
How can people contact you?
@jae_of_portharcourt or contact me JoshAchonwa@yahoo.com or call 08160489765.