Welcome to The T-Spot. This series is the official MUSTA Talent Spotlight where we highlight some really talented people, from different creative Industries.
In this episode of The T-Spot, we re-invite Uche Daubry a lawyer, sustainable artist and fashion designer to share with us how she balances the different sides of her career and improves every aspect of her creative skillset.
Hi Uche! It’s nice speaking to you again, what have you been up to?
Hello! For three years now I’ve been working as the Finance and Administration director at an Art Studio called Artstier. My boss, myself and an excellent team just finished collaborating with the Ford Foundation to teach children in slums and local schools about sustainable art. I still run my sustainable fashion and art brand, No tag fashion and Not a flower girl art. We are still on a journey to create solutions on how fashion and art can help the environment, mitigate waste and whatever degradation society may experience as a result of unsustainable practices in the fashion and art industry —from the way my staff is treated, operations are handled to the design and lifecycle of materials utilized. Also, I’ve been freelancing as a lawyer at Belgore Daubry and Associates. Typically, I handle corporate transactions, advisory contracts and negotiations especially for Creatives.
So, how do you balance the different sides of your career?
I love people and I don’t underestimate or underappreciate them. I’m a very grateful person. I’m able to balance the different aspects of my work because I’ve help—from my community, my tailors, my friends, my husband and my family. My boss at the Art studio I work in is very kind and because he knows my workload is a lot he is generous with his expectations, I don’t take that for granted.
Because I have a lot of work to do I avoid long unnecessary conversations and go straight to the point. I hone this communication tactic by being honest with myself, being kinder to myself and involving the people around me in my work so I know the best ways I can be considerate to them, they are the people I am doing it for anyways.
I don’t punish myself anymore, when I am tired I rest until I regain my strength. I know what I am building is not for a day, it’s for life. It’s a legacy.
Do your various creative fields intersect? If yes, in what ways does that happen?
I would say that all my creative skills intersect. First of all, as a lawyer I always think about the implications of things when I deal with people. I’m equipped with insight, foresight and the curiosity to learn. Being an artist helps my role as a designer because design is art. If you don’t have a good idea on how to arrange things, how to mix colors and structures, and how to turn one thing into another, then it might be difficult to design. Being an artist makes me think outside the box. For instance, in making a shirt, I would want to cut it without wasting up to 0.5 percent of the material while still maintaining its aesthetic, so I’ll look into the pattern and see what some regular designers won’t see to perfectly execute my vision.
Being a creative in multiple fields as well as being the first child of my family has made it easy for me to walk people through conflict, forgive and move on. All my roles intertwine to give me the physical, emotional and mental strength to execute my artistry.
Is there a common theme that runs through all your creative work?
Yes, always. The name of my fashion brand is ‘No tag fashion’, it is very intentional. I chose the name because I just wanted people to lose the idea that they needed to buy fast fashion or purchase a certain ‘big’ name to to feel like they are enjoying luxury. Later on, I came to realize that ‘No tag’ is a suitable acronym for my ‘not a flower girl’ art brand.
A common theme in my designs is ‘be yourself’, ‘come as you are’, ‘everything about you is enough’. That’s what we think about when we do our fashion and art designs. We simplify complicated designs because we want to encourage people to love themselves as they are and evolve into a kinder and wiser version of themselves.
How do you improve every aspect of your creative skillset?
Every day I see everything as an opportunity and a learning curve. If I look back and see that the experiences I am having now are the same as the ones as I have had before, I feel like I am not stepping out of my comfort zone, so, I push myself and take on new challenges. Every day, I am learning. I take short courses with institutions as well as online courses, I learn from the people in industries from around the world and I make use of the internet a lot.
I noticed that a lot of your designs (in art and fashion) are very niche, what keeps your imagination from conforming to mainstream society?
There was a point in my life I would always binge on information and I will ask myself, “all this information you are binging on, what are you going to do with it?” I started applying all I learned and in doing that I began to understand and appreciate my thought process and I realized the importance of integrating my individuality into my work. So sometimes when I have client consultations and they want things that already exist we give them what they want but typically, when I create my collections and art I go back into myself to bring out something original that stands out, something that speaks to my values and upholds it.
I believe that in anything you do, do it well. No matter how bad I am at something I intend to do, I am always ready to take whatever time I will need to be good at it. By doing all this, you will find out that there is no time to copy and no time to be someone else. Be you, walk in your path and what you produce will be original.
Do you think that creativity involves putting your heart and soul into your work? Or is it more of letting your mind flow freely to witness the surprising results of your actions?
Creativity starts from the heart and soul. At first there’s a passion, but if you don’t hone it and be disciplined, the passion will eventually fizzle out. At the start of 2018, my new year’s resolution was to do something each day to fuel my passion for arts, fashion and charity. Since then, I sketch everyday and if I don’t sketch I will read or engage in an outreach.
Basically, I do something everyday that advances my commitment to arts, fashion and giving back to my community. That’s why I show up to my office every Tuesday and Friday, that’s why I go to my workshop everyday and that’s why I make out time for the people I love. There are times a new flame ignites and reminds me why I’m on my current path. However there is work I have to put in to ensure that the flame does not fizzle out so that I can reap the harvest of my labour, but only after sowing time and energy into my work.
In your career, what is your favorite accomplishment?
I would say my favorite accomplishment is not giving up despite having a lot of downfalls.
If you could interview a multi-hyphenate creative (Dead or alive) who would it be?
Erykah Badu, I really want to have a one-on-one with her. I have so much to say to her and learn from her. My grandmother as well, that woman has lived many lifetimes. I want to learn from strong women like that. I used to also want to have a conversation with Virgil Abloh.
Looking forward to seeing more of your projects, do you have any coming soon?
We are bringing back the Harmattan fashion show that we started in 2019, where we are trying to promote loving Nigeria, the use of Nigerian climate to dictate fashion seasons, African wearing Africa, creativity, community and giving back. We are also planning a fashion declutter pop up which is another sustainable event where we encourage people to declutter, thrift and meet other eco-friendly individuals. For the pop-up, we are currently taking donations of clothes, accessories and fashion jewelry that will be repurposed.