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Meet Chizoba Udeh-Martin

Today we’d like to introduce you to Chizoba Udeh-Martin.

Hi Chizoba, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
Hi, I’m Chizoba Udeh-Martin the founder and lead designer of the fashion brand ZOBA MARTIN a brand dedicated to celebrating individual bodies and reflecting characters in each garment we create.

My interest in fashion design was piqued when I was a little girl as I watched my aunt create her wedding dress by hand in our living room, it was a ball gown made entirely out of satin and the sleeves ornamented with ivory pearls.

I only remembered this in my adulthood when I rediscovered my love for big white gowns, it is interesting how a seed was planted in me by one simple yet beautiful creation.

After graduating from the University of Ottawa with a Bachelor in Business, Entrepreneurship, I decided to revisit this craft by continuing my studies, this time in fashion design at Lasalle School of Fashion. Upon completing my diploma, I started my brand ZOBA MARTIN and right now I hand make all of my pieces in my private studio located downtown Toronto.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Fashion designing has been an interesting journey so far, with each project I work on, I get to discover an individual and create pieces that reflect their personalities. Through this journey as well I have met a lot of other creatives that inspire me to think outside the box and be better with my craft.

Most of the pieces I design are for special occasions like weddings, birthdays, etc, and with the pandemic putting a halt on most events, I had to find other ways to stay creative while earning a living. This was a very challenging yet important time in my journey as it has taught me a lot of resilience and appreciation for what is.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
With my creations I like to celebrate people, each body is different and my goal is to create designs that flatter a person’s shape and reflect their personality.

I like to find ways to attach elements to each piece that is unique to the client I’m designing for, could be pearls from your grandmother’s favorite earrings, a detail inspired by your favorite memory, or a beloved dress you wish to upcycle. When I’m not busy designing and creating custom pieces, I also make small batch ready-to-wear designs, some of them can be found in my shop online.

Another thing that stands out with the ZOBA MARTIN brand is sustainability, which is why we focus on custom-made garments. A custom-made dress takes time to create, is collaborative, and has a lot of sentimental value and for this reason, such a garment will be taken care of, repurposed, or even passed down to loved ones. Hence reducing the waste in the fashion industry.

Something a lot of people don’t know about me is that I’m also very passionate about teaching, I offer one on one sewing classes for anyone inspired to learn a few things about fashion designing and garment construction. This was one of my discoveries during the lockdown.

Visit https://www.zobamartin.com/shop-now/sewing-classes to learn more.

If we knew you growing up, how would we have described you?
I don’t remember a lot from my childhood but I’ll try! I grew up in a family of 4 children, me being the second child and the only daughter. I was a very shy kid growing up, I only started coming out of my shell in my mid-twenties and my career contributed greatly to this.

My mum is also a big inspiration in my life, she studied fashion design after having kids, although she didn’t pursue a career in fashion because life happens. She has supported me through my journey as a designer, whenever I go back home to Nigeria she always has a big stack of fabrics that she’s been collecting overtime waiting for me!

My parents were pretty supportive when I expressed my interest in fashion to them, I come from a bloodline of entrepreneurs, so it made sense to them.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
@visionsofdjenabe, @jordyclarkephoto, @ziggy.on.the.lens, and @f10studio

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