NGUGI VELLY VERE

24, Zimbabwe

My passion and purpose is to help and empower Africa through fashion and to make it a fashion hub.

Ngugi is an international Zimbabwean stylist and creative consultant who currently reside in South Africa. He has worked with SA big fashion stylists where he honed his skills while dressing celebrities and personalities. He decided to go solo and helped African artists and business people to dress appropriately as celebrities and individuals to portray the image they want. His taste is very contemporary and works well with vibrant and fashion savvy people.

He believes God called him for the entertainment and fashion industry to help change those industries. His venture in fashion is not really about money but helping people to dress well so that they can achieve their goals. Velly has established Velly Image & Style is established in South Africa and soon to be established in Zimbabwe. "Zimbabwean artist are very talented but they can't break the celebrity wall to be recognizable locally and internationally because of the way they portray themselves through dressing and etiquette." Ngugi is also an actor and model.

His also a Runaway. Creative Director for Soweto fashion week.

He founded and chairs an NPO (Isandla Sothando Outreach) that helps orphans.

Interview with Ngugi Velly Vere

Tell us something about yourself. How did you become a fashion stylist?

I became a stylist when I left Zimbabwe for South Africa. Due to the Zimbabwe economy decline I had to leave business to seek greener pastures. When I arrived in SA, I worked for a church and during that time I discovered my passion through people asking me to dress them, help them shop and to decor their weddings and houses.

Who's your favorite designer? Who is your style icon(s) and why?

I have a lot of favorite designers but I'm inspired by Tom Ford and Sean Combs. My style icon is Sean Combs and the late Sinatra. These guys look fabulous in whatever they wear. I like the spontaneous Rihanna too.

How would you define your style?

My style is contemporary; it has a mixture of African flavour and high-end fashion. I'm not a trendy person. I like doing things different.

What's your memorable styling experience prior to coming to the show?

Styled and directed an African inspired fashion show. The designs, energies and appreciation made me realize how rich Africa is in fashion authentic creations.

What is the most memorable moment during shooting?

My memorable moment was when I did my shoot for "Breakfast at Tiffany's", every stylist came to witness my flair of creativity and after the shoot during lunch I got compliments and appreciation from them. This showed me that I was a threat to them. I think my shoot was the only one were everyone including the models came to witness.

What's your favorite challenge?

My favorite challenge was making accessories that went with the theme. I had no idea of making accessories so I struggled but I got a lesson from it and now back home I create accessories for my family and myself.

Who's your biggest competitor?

All the 5 contestants were my biggest competitors because they all have a better fashion and styling experience backgrounds. So I was on the learning side and competing for the price regardless.

What's your edge over the other contestants?

To be honest, this was really a battle. Every stylist had an edge over other contestants because we have unique styles and creativity. It was amazing working with these guys.

If you are to win Style Wars, what will you do with the prize?

If I win Style wars I will support my family with some of the funds. I will also use some to travel around Africa carrying out styling workshops to coach people on the importance of fashion and style, and also direct and style some African inspired shoots to promote African cultures through fashion.

What's the biggest, most important lesson you've learned throughout the competition?

The way we viewed styling in Africa it's different but after engaging with these 5 amazing stylists, i learnt to be an overall creative stylist and to think outside the box. I also learnt to embrace originality and be holistic with our own fashion cultures and inspirations. Style Wars challenges gave me an insight of how to interpret briefs into visions and visions into images, and how to direct an high-end cover shoot, music videos and fashion videos.

What does fashion mean to you? And do you have any other passions besides fashion?

Fashion is my passion; styling is my ability. Fashion mogul is my agenda; Fashion Empire is my vision and game changing is my purpose.

Well I eat and breathe fashion but I'm also a very creative guy, I can act and model too.

Is there anything you'd like to share with us about any upcoming project(s)?

Well at the moment I'm working on Soweto Fashion Week. I was appointed Style and Runway director. I'm also working on a personal project to promote African cultures through fashion.