Nkechi Chima, Abuja
Celebrity fashion stylist, Kennedy Obumneme Philip, popularly known as Kenepisode1 is a Nigerian fashion entrepreneur, whose fashion creativity was given prominence by an artiste in a musical video that received over 100 million views on YouTube. Kenepisode has styled notable Nigerian celebrities such as Phyno, Tekno, D’banj, Wizkid, 2Baba, Awilo, Davido, Burna Boy and Flavo, among many others.
In this interview, he talks about how he ventured into business, what makes his brand unique, his love life and other interesting things.
Tell us a bit about your background
I hail from Aguata Local Government Area in Anambra State. I was born on April 30 in Jos, Plateau State. I have six siblings (three boys, three girls). We were bred in a neighborhood called Fatima Close and Rock Haven in Jos. My father died in 2008 and my mother bore the responsibility of raising us.
How was growing up in Jos and at what point in your life did you relocate to Lagos?
Growing up in Jos was really fun and a bit scary, because of the religious crisis and bombing by the
Boko Haram. However, Jos still remains one of the best cities in Nigeria. I was playing football before I discovered my talent in fashion. Back then, football became very hard and stressful, because you need to invest so much money into your career before you can make it as a professional. So, I had to quit football for fashion. However, I worked in a boutique with a classmate of mine called Chinedu (Jah) for two years. Afterwards, I opened mine boutique two years later.
At what point did you start styling celebrities?
My story will never be complete without mentioning my very good friend Patrick Obi (Edgar) who is also the younger brother to John Mikel Obi, who started his Record Label, Matured Money Minds (MMMRecords) in 2011. I appreciate him for making me the company’s fashion stylist. In 2012, we moved to Lagos. In 2013, I joined the entertainment industry fully. Fortunately for me, the industry, accepted the most trusted Kenepisode1 and till date nothing has changed.
Why do you call your brand, Kenepisode1?
It’s a combination of two names, my name is Kennedy which is where I got the Ken from, and the name of my boutique is Episode1 Collection, so I joined both names to form the brand Kenepisode1.
You are a renowned celebrity stylist, what informed your decision to go into fashion business?
As a fashionable person, my passion for style motivated me into the business, after I discovered that I could make my clients look stunning in their dressing, especially as celebrities who perform on stage. Being fashionably dressed makes them to appear admirable to their fans or at events. However, I strongly believe in the quote: “You can have anything you want in life, if you dress for it.”
When you started did you ever envisage that you will become a celebrity stylist?
Honestly, I never had it in mind, but while in Jos when i was working in a boutique, I had a couple of people that patronized me such as Ice Prince, Jesse Jags and some professional footballers. Commendably, I was the first person Ice Prince bought his most expensive jeans from that year. Then, I was just a boutique dealer not knowing I would become a celebrity fashion stylist professionally.
There are many fashion stylists in Nigeria. How were you able to win the patronage of most celebrities?
My styling is unique, so I try and make my styling different. Although I have never seen anyone as a competitor, I always see myself as my own competitor.
What makes your brand different and unique from others?
I try to create new fashion trends. Moreover, I try my best to make it very simple and not complicated.
Could you mention the celebrities you have styled so far in the industry?
Phyno, Tekno, D’banj, Wizkid, 2baba, Awilo, Davido, Burna boy, Ice Prince, Flavor, Psquare, Patoranking, Olamide, Timaya, RunTown, M.I, Kizz Daniel, Falz, Selebobo, Charass, Sarkode, Joeboy, Mr Eazi, Skales, SoundSultan, Kido, Vector, Iyanya, Yung EL, Zoro, Soft, Edgar, Ray Vanny, Mr Raw, Blackah, SolidStar, Endia, Wande Coal, Yung6ix, Skuki, ReekadoBanks, illBliss, Erigga, SlowDog, Korede Bello, Addiction, Sean Tizzle, Praiz, Phenom, Tjan, Orezi, Morell, JayWon, Tidinz, Dj Jimmy Jatt, Dj KayWise, DjCoublon, Deejay J Masta, Deejay Neptune, Quincy, Spotless, SoJay, Samklef, Tony Wenom, JayWillz, Bracket, Sugar Boy, Oladips, Tchap, BlaqBonez, Squeeze, Playaz, OG, Flimzy, 2Kings, Bode Blaq, Emex, F.A, Tolu, Minjin, Shobzy, Fiokee, Dizzy VC, Bimbi Philips, Air Boy, Base One, Que Peller, HenryNight, Marxii, Mawthie, Rhatti, Fanzy, Cheque, Spyz, Ken Dickson, Chuvano, Akin Music, ZahZah, Ashi Dapo, Morientz, Roger Lino, Chibbz among others. I have worked with over 200 celebrities over the years.
Have you had embarrassing moment with any of your clients?
No, not really I haven’t had any; I really pray I don’t experience such in future, because I know it can be embarrassing.
Do you also style female artistes or is it only males that you do?
No! I don’t style female artistes; I’m strictly into male styling.
As a fashion brand, do you only style celebrities?
No! I style everybody as long as you want my service and can afford me.
Who would you say is your favourite styled celebrity and why?
I don’t have a favourite, but l can say that Phyno stands out; he is one of the most humble and patient celebrities I’ve worked with. He is so down to earth, in fact, I can say he is so humble to a fault. Another person is Ice Prince, he is also very humble. Tekno is more than a client, rather he is a brother to me; we both grew up in the north, we speak Hausa language.
What will make you give up a styling job?
I haven’t seen it yet, styling is something I’m passionate about. It gives me satisfaction.
How do you handle most of your female followers, you have celebrated over 100 million views on YouTube?
How do l answer this question about my female followers? I am a very sensitive person, so I tread carefully to avoid been misunderstood. So, I try to handle them with care, we have a movement on my social media platforms, they call me ‘Ladies Softbread’ although the Softbread thing is something we joke around with on social media and it ends there. Now about the views on Youtube, yes, Pana by Tekno has over 126 million views on YouTube. Before we shot the video we had less than three days to get the customs ready. I said customs because Tekno’s outfit was my idea and his; we did the Asian attire, I could remember spending two nights at my tailor’s just to make sure I didn’t disappoint my client. Unarguably, I’m the first Nigerian stylist to style a video with over 100 million views on YouTube. I’m so proud of myself and my achievements.
Have you experienced female fans crushing over you and wanting to get intimate with you?
Yes, so many times, but l don’t want to go into details. It’s not something I can discuss here.
Have you found that special woman that will make your world go round?
Yes, she is everything to me and my support system. I can’t wait to spend forever with her.
When are you getting married?
Very soon, when it’s time you will be the first to know.