MENS SUITS BY BRAND
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When it comes to men’s suits, you will find that the EMAGES Designers Brands we showcase are for the fashion-oriented man in mind who dresses to impress and likes to wear brands and designers to match. Designer Men’s suits are not just something you wear but are a reflection of who you are and what you want. You will find that the designer brands of men’s suits we carry will suit most men who appreciate looking their best whether it is classy style or high fashion style suits with a full cut and wide leg pants following the Q&A with Adedamola Iyiola Adebowale. Founder and Creative Director Alan Cruz Bespoke.
EMAGES: CAN WE MEET YOU?
My name is Adedamola Iyiola Adebowale, I am known as Damola Cruz. I’m a model and a fashion entrepreneur. I own Alan Cruz bespoke, Alan Cruz football academy … upcoming. I do a lot, “I am Jack of all trade and trying to be a master of all”.
EMAGES: HOW WAS GROWING UP LIKE?
Growing up was fun. I was fortunate to be born with a golden spoon. We have access to everything we wanted; vacation, best of school, best of everything. But later, things changed in terms of family. My parents separated so the whole burden was on my mum in terms of taking care of me and my siblings. At that time, we had to face the reality of life. You know, it was difficult for us then as kids that are used to Ikoyi life now found ourselves at Isolo. It was quite difficult balancing the new lifestyle from the previous. Though, that made me the man I am today since I have experienced both sides of life. Best of education during my elementary schooling days, best secondary school, and went to The polytechnic Ibadan were I obtained my OND and then Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) for tertiary education. I shifted a little bit having built a mission for Fashion since it’s breathing money then. Instead of pursuing BSC to completion, I just opted for a diploma to pursue my dream path – fashion.
EMAGES: HOW DO YOU STARTED AND AT WHAT POINT DO YOU DECIDE TO FOLLOW YOUR DREAM?
When you are in a situation, you tend to adjust to whatsoever comes your way and my kind of personality is to bring out the best in any situation I find myself. At age 9(nine), my mum was into Alaga-Iduro, Alaga-Ijoko combined with her gospel band which I was a backup for her then. And as a backup person in the 90’s you make 5 to 4 hundred naira per each performance. My mum has always built our minds with a high determination spirit of getting the best in everything we do. From music, I joined the basketball team in secondary school. A common slogan about basketball is “you can’t do that” but I always challenge myself that I can do it even better than my tutor. I fell in love with basketball then I lived in Akure till I came to Lagos for camping, it got to a point I got selected to play for Nigeria at sixteen even though the competition didn’t hold, it gave me the taste of national level that my mum always spoke about. Because my mum plays volleyball for Nigeria then, she got a medal and generally, we’re competitive. So, from school my roommate Seun Bolade shoot the first MTN project fame advert, I showed interest and he promised to hook me up. There was this ASUU strike I was in my uncle’s house at Lagos where my friend called me based on his promise and introduced me to Bimpe the top makeup artist who happens to be my first manager. At our first meeting, we did a photoshoot. Three weeks later, Arise fashion week. I didn’t know about catwalk but just summon the courage that I could do it. On the auditioning day, I was selected and receive an SMS inviting me to Abuja for the show. Although another screening was done at the airport which I well-scaled through and was a turning point for me. In the end, I was able to walk on one of the biggest stages in Africa. I must say the treatment given to us was classic; imagine getting a first-class seat and all of that made me tell myself – this is the dream life I have been longing for. The show was fantastic at Abuja, I was opportune to meet with Chris Brown, Rihanna, Jay-Z, Usher Raymond, fat Joe, and Mary J Blige. I think that was what gave birth to my career as a model. Any modeling role I have gone and they ask on what I have done in the past, I tell this day and mentioning those names, registers straight in their mind that you are an international and that was my first major show as a model.
EMAGES: HOW WERE YOU ABLE TO MANAGE THE ALAN CRUZ AND OTHER THINGS YOU ARE INTO AS AN ENTREPRENEUR?
Growing up, I have always prayed for wisdom and understanding, and retentive memory, and I must confess God answer prayers. Damola Cruz & Alan Cruz are two different things. Under Alan Cruz I have staff even if I am not in, production will move on. But I love to have a personal relationship with the clients I meet unless such a client is not in Nigeria. I go the extra mile to engage them on video calls because I want them to have the Alan Cruz effect and experience. So, Damola Cruz is me, the model which I can say or classify as the maiden while Alan Cruz is the planning. Alan Cruz is the building relationship in style while Damola Cruz is the all whatever you want to sell.
EMAGES: WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO GO / VENTURE INTO FASHION DESIGNING?
I have always loved fashion, I remember my best friends Olufemi and Jibola growing up we always say something that we can’t work under anybody, not because we don’t want to, we just believe in entrepreneurship that we can get things done all by ourselves. The process might belong, but I will get something at the end. Fashion designing has been the love of my life. Backstage, there are a lot of creative people, I might be contracted to about 60 fashion designers and a model I’ve got the all-access tag, so I use that opportunity working on the details, color combination, everything both locally and internationally. I have always loved fashion and fabrics – by bringing nothing to something that’s why I choose fashion designing.
EMAGES: WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF BEEN A FASHION DESIGNER?
The perfection of my work – When I’m done, and the clothing looks perfect on you. It’s more of tailoring not ready-made, we cut to your perfect body, size, and shape. We asked some questions so by the time we are done, it’s worth seeing you walking on the street or in an event looking fit, the joy is like earning another medal to what I have achieved as a model.
EMAGES: LOOKING AT YOUR DESIGN THEY ARE VERY GOOD, WHO & WHAT INSPIRES YOU IN YOUR DESIGNING AND HOW DO YOU CREATE YOUR DESIGN?
I have always loved suit even as a model. If you’re going to casting you must be on a suit. Huzo Powatim make me love color, he was the first designer I modeled for using the different color combinations. Between the year 2016/17, I traveled to England, intending to go serving roll and room, before that I was taking a documentary shoot of myself. In a nutshell, this designer inspires me at all times. I prioritize time as “important” when there’s a structure in whatever you do you would maximize time and you will get everything done with ease. If everybody knows what to do and how to go about their job diligently, no matter how big or small in their various department would deliver expected results.
EMAGES: WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER AS A COMMON PASSAGE IN THE FASHION INDUSTRY?
Doing what is trending, being stylish, and trying to educate people on the best thing. I make my client understand that I am not about collecting their money, but I am there to address their style for example who are you? What is your type? And what do you stand for? Knowing and understanding your clients goes a long way. Just try to understand no matter their genre.
EMAGES: WHAT IS YOUR WEAKNESS?
I have never thought of that until now that you asked me. My greatest weakness is not to a client. Over time I listen to a song I have been listening to for five years the lyrics make so much sense which says, “am letting go things that are above me”. If things can be corrected means it can end in perfection. My weakness is being temperamental but trust me I don’t get angry easily. Until I get to my boiling point I will be laughing. I am not perfect, but I believe in inequality. Fashion is recycled because when it comes to suiting, is boring, the only thing that isn’t boring is our fashion fabrics and attire. Despite the fact suit is boring I still want to put the Alan Cruz effect.
EMAGES: TO YOU WHAT IS FASHION?
Fashion is a living thing. I am a living thing because I am wearing something living. if you are dressed in a rag nobody would even take note of your presence, so when you dress good people will appreciate and notice the living thing you are putting on as a human being. Growing up I liked to look good, dressing well is who I am so when you create something extraordinary outer nothing that is a living thing. More reason fashion is a living thing for me it’s in your absence, your works speak for you. It’s that simple.
EMAGES: CAN YOU PLEASE DESCRIBE YOU?
The Internship was ten years as a model, help the designer knot a tie, cut buttonhole, sitting with a tailor that has been there for fifteen years but telling them this is how you should do it. Like I said earlier it’s a process. I have worked with a lot of designers which has helped me understand some shortcomings. However, I do have my shortcoming too. But it’s all about the game of perfection to beat the competition. Yeah, there are a lot of challenges, but I just want to be the best. Ten years as a model I won every award. BEST MODEL OF THE WORLD, that award was given to me due to my confidence and self-belief which I showed. The award was presented to me in Istanbul, Turkey. Then FACE OF THE WORLD all thanks to Stephen Cole now married, she was the one that made sure I made it to the competition. Later I won NIGERIAN MODEL ACHIEVERS AWARD [NMAA]
EMAGES: WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN THE NEXT TEN YEARS TO COME?
I will be tired of whatever business I may be doing not because I want to have so many, but I want to retire early. I run business entertainment limited, when Ikeja city mall just started I used my money to start a fashion show in Ikeja city mall, I sold my first car to do that show, I did for three years. The standard of what I gave them is what they are still doing now. And it’s one of the biggest shows in Lagos “catwalk and exhibition”. I want to create things people will enjoy, and why I started the show is for people to see what they want to buy not because I want to make money, I want to entertain. That’s what Cruz Entertainment Limited stands for.
EMAGES: HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE?
I am a suit guy, I love suit a lot. I just want to look good. My critic is when it comes to fashion and she understands it more than I do.
EMAGES: HOW WILL YOU CONTRIBUTE TO THE GROWTH OF THE COMPANY?
I have a modeling company, an entertainment company, I have a Cruz football academy- although, my football academy it is pending currently. In business, one should ensure it is successful before venturing into another one because every business wants your time. So, it is always good to supervise when they do not need you. Ensuring people invest in them.
EMAGES: HOW DO YOU ALWAYS REST?
By listening to music, always music.
EMAGES: HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH YOUR CLIENTS AS A FASHION DESIGNER?
Patience, most of the time. When some client complains; I can tell you they will never complain my apparel is not good or talk about my time of delivering because as you come, we ensure we ask if you want express delivery. But there are some people that you can’t please. Although when it gets to that point, I will ask you “of what you want?”. I have never been rejected by my tailoring. I tried to listen to my client as much as I can to maintain the relationship. Every client I promise their cloth will be ready for delivery, gets it in time. So even for the angry client, I always listen.
EMAGES: HOW COMFORTABLE ARE YOU WORKING WITH MODEL MORE THAN DESIGNERS?
There are some certain things you need to put in place it is a step. In my wardrobe I have over sixty suits, some I have worn them before. So, if I want to do a fashion show I have enough to make use of. But now isn’t the time, know your strength, know if you can handle certain things. I am a model, I understand the model treatment, I understand model management, I have been managed so I know where to dot the “I”
EMAGES: HOW WOULD YOU RELATE THE PAST AND PRESENT LOOKING AT THE TREND?
Just as I have said fashion recycles all the time. I love Harvey Specter with the way he portrays the character in the suit. I have never loved someone the way I loved him as one of the best suit carriers, because he made me love the suit. Wolves of wall street greatly Gasby – in this movie I mentioned; I can tell you I saw how suits were all well detailed. In movies you can gain a great sense of fashion; be it old or recent. One can say there will be a revoking of bootcut soon. So, I asked myself how can I do bespoke suit with bootcut trouser, or suit with track pant or sew native and style “LeBron James” and rocking it with snickers? how can I create a style and still involve in what’s is trending? I believe in those am styling to be a proper project to me in as much as we still want to give the exact fashion.
EMAGES: WHAT WAS THE FIRST JOB LIKE?
I attend Christ Embassy and I have a model in the church she is the Head of the Love World Music and Art Ministry. She is my mum I won’t be wrong addressing her as such. Because she is a woman who always wants to hear your idea. I can remember the day we sat together and I told her my idea or my aim to tailor our singers’ suits that we would be the one to usher them in and not the church ushers and she accepted, though acclaimed that she doesn’t do suit but this was just to encourage me and since then all glory to God. I am basically into work suits, but i love wedding suit as well. The year 2018 was my first point and at this moment I have done over fifteen wedding suits and that’s how it all started.
EMAGES: IF YOU COULD GO BACK AND TELL YOURSELF WHAT YOU HAVE NOT BEEN DOING WELL WHAT WOULD IT BE?
There is no regret for the lesson for every step and every year. Some people think it’s time-wasting but I call it experience. If I started earlier, I might have been bigger or not, but it’s experienced and there’s nothing that can stop you in achieving anything.
EMAGES: WHAT THE BIGGEST MISTAKE YOU EVER MADE?
That will be the wrong measurement, May God bless Yinka.
EMAGES: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF BEING A FASHION DESIGNER?
Fabric shopping. The fabric brings options, I create in a little bit of distance between my modeling and designing to have time to go to the market to shop for fabrics.
EMAGES: HOW DO YOU WANT A WOMAN TO FEEL WHEN ROCKING YOUR SUITS?
They are the best creatures of God, yet they are the most complicated set of human beings. Even though I am married you can’t understand them enough. Even in measurement, they are complicated. I always thank God for creating women because they make the world so we can say there is nothing without women.
EMAGES: WHAT ADVICE WILL YOU GIVE TO YOUNG DESIGNERS?
Colors! I know this sounds odd, but some people have a color phobia that means some people don’t feel comfortable wearing some color. Secondly, knowing what works for your customers. Thirdly, knowing what sells that is, what is invoked at every moment. Lastly, knowing how to educate. Knowing all these things brings out the artist in you.
EMAGES: PLEASE DESCRIBE YOU?
I want to be poor and successful. Some people can be successful and still poor. This is of two different things because their meaning differs. You can see a short man, but he is among the talks about people in society but no bank account. That’s being poor and successful. Such people like him you always see them happy. I like to look good, I love good food, in fact, I still look to give out but no fat account. Still, the businesses I am running are going to fill up my account sooner or later. I pay for my staff both at home and abroad, I take care of my wife and child. Now you can understand I am successful with a little bit of income.
EMAGES: TELL US THE THINGS WE DO NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU?
One thing people don’t seem to know about me is the way God loves me. I am still in shock and surprise about it. I have gotten it all wrong at a point in my life but when God gave me the chance, I took it as an opportunity and amended my ways. The love of God has gotten me to where I am today. Another thing is that embrace people and respect them a lot. I am the type that though I am always busy but try to give attention to my family and friends and those who need me. I don’t care about what people say about me I am just me.
EMAGES: HOW CAN SOMEBODY GET YOUR SPECIAL ATTENTION?
It depends. If it is a female, I am always curious if they need my advice, I make sure I try to give that attention. I appreciate that in terms of talking out issues. Although for me time is money
EMAGES: HOW DO YOU VIEW THE NIGERIA MODELING INDUSTRY AND WHAT ARE YOUR ANALYSIS?
We are supposed to be grown but there is no structure. Some agencies will hire models whom will work for them but find it difficult to lodge them in a hotel, while they fly in models and give them first-class treatment and these models run the same catwalk with the one at home, wearing the same designer, in fact, paid the models before running but the agent won’t release it. We just want to do the Nigeria things