The name Jeffrey Bendt is not new to us here at SBM. We had the opportunity to interview this amiable designer almost a year ago when he was ‘fresh off the boat’ from Milan where his fashion house is based. A dark skinned Nigerian from the northern part of the country, Jeffery sat through coffee telling us about his style, his beginnings and his hopes for the future.
Well, fast forward some months and we met at the first ever Abuja Fashion show he organised. Three days of fashion and entertainment for the Abuja fashion community to stew on.
Ever busy cooking up something, plans for the Fashion for Charity fashion show began early on in the year with different charity moves at the IDP camps- Camps set up for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency in the North East. The women in the camps were enjoined to not only make these pieces designed by Jeffrey, but also model them! Brilliant right? There was also an elaborate and well delivered Art Exhibition.
Well, here’s what he told us about it all:
1. What gave birth to the concept of the Fashion For Charity event?
What gave birth to FFC was a passion to help people in need. I have always wanted to add a long time value, and link aid to places that need them. I realized we don’t have to be billionaires to help others -we have to start now no matter our situation. Pay it forward now.
2. Were your designs featured at the event? Do you have a name for this collection and what’s the best way to describe it?
Yes my designs were featured at the event and was the main attraction because it was in collaboration with the the IDP women who were trained in tailoring and fashion of which they are the inspiration behind my designs. That’s why I named the collection ‘FATA’ meaning hope in the Hausa language.
3. What excites you most about this event?
The IDP women’s inspired pieces, the people who lent their support and designers who also showed off their designs with pieces to be auctioned for charity.
4. Why do you think you had such a positive response to this event?
We did because we were adding value to people in need. The IDPs are mothers, fathers,children, relatives, farmers who were victims of an armed conflict in the north which forced them to flee from their homes and loose family members.
People were drawn by that.
6. What trends did you work into this collection?
the Ankara trend. I hardly work with Ankara fabrics but for this designs I want to share the color of hope and behind each fabric I made sure they were ripped into tiny pieces and mixed up with other fabrics.
9.Besides giving back, what else does Christmas inspire you to do?
Begin to hope for the next collection that will impact my society.
10.What’s next for the Jeffrey Bendt label?
Begin a Ready to wear collection. This time I want people to experience my brand differently.