Levi : International Fashion Influencer
of the year in Ghana
We have interviewed Levi, one of our Absolu.
Levi won the International Fashion Influencer of the yearin Ghana!
Discover who he is, and how he manages his life in France
and his Fashion Shows in Mozambique!
Hello Levi, can you tell us about your background?
How did you become a Fashion Influencer?
Well, I’m originally from Mozambique, I’ve been travelling for a while.
But I spent most of my life in Mozambique where I did my primary, secondary education.
Then, I had an opportunity to go to Canada for an exchange program.
I came back and decided to go to University in South Africa.
When I finished my bachelor degree, I went back to Mozambique.
I started working for an organization, VSO so that’s why I had the chance to work for another project
which was based in Mozambique and UK, so I was travelling a lot from Mozambique to UK.
After all that, I decided to settle a little bit because I started my own family.
I stayed here for few years for work.
In Mozambique or in the UK?
When I was in the UK, I also got a chance to do a course at the University of Manchester.
Then, I came back to Mozambique, I decided to settle a little bit.
I changed my job, I started working for IOM (International Organization for Migration), part of the United Nation now.
When I was working for IOM, there was something that I also loved a lot which was fashion.
So, I started being invited for TV shows, stuff like that just because of the way
I dress and I started doing photoshoot and so on (the beginning of fashion influencer).
But I was still working for IOM at that time. My wife was working for Total, she also lived abroad,
she lived in Belgium, she did University in Portugal and then came back, changed her job, she settled with Total.
So, at that time, I started my own agency, and did few personal businesses about fashion.
When did you start as a fashion influencer?
6 or 7 years ago I think. I thought that I would just do something for fun, something that I liked, out of a normal job.
I started doing some things for fashion.
How can you call your job at that time : fashion influencer?
At that time, you can call me just « this guy who liked to dress », and I thought it was an opportunity for me to actually help people,
because I started to be known on TV, I even sometimes had to run from my everyday job to go to TV interviews,
just for a quick interview. I was not yet a fashion influencer.
Was it an interview about fashion?
About fashion yes, I was just giving tips on how to dress, how to combine colors and all those things.
There was a platform which actually grew up at that time, I decided just to give young people opportunities
to join me, models, etc. At that time, I decided actually to walk on fashion and I did a small fashion show
when I launched my first collection in collaboration with a local designer.
Just some of my ideas on fashion, I’m not actually a designer!
I work for the designer, we did the first show.
When was it?
It was in 2016. From there, the agency was just growing but just after that,
my wife got a chance to work abroad, in Morocco.
When we got married at that time (because we both had an experience to living abroad),
we told ourselves, we promised ourselves, who ever get the chance
to move abroad, someone has to sacrifice.
I was at IOM at that time, my boss promised me that I would get a job.
And when I went to Morocco, I tried to contact IOM Morocco,
things didn’t work out and no one was answering me.
It was very frustrating, but at the same time, I believe some things happen for a reason,
and I decided to invest in my dream, in my project, in some of the things I started in Mozambique just for fun.
I built a new platform to actually start doing things. I decided to build a fashion show
with the idea of building the biggest fashion show in Mozambique.
Because at that time, Mozambique only had one fashion show for the whole year and for the whole country.
Oh wow if you compare with another country…
I have another dream to have a shoe brand; it’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while.
I travel a little bit and I was like « I love the fabric of Morocco, the leather, pure, original, the colors and stuff like that »,
because my things is about colors, happiness… When I was in Morocco, I started 2 projects,
which was the fashion show at that time and VICIOUS shoes which was my first brand.
So you started to create shoes?
In Morocco, with the leather and all good stuff like that.
So, it was like an escape because I’m someone who loves to be busy,
I didn’t have a formal job at that time, my wife was the one who was working.
It was a job!
Yes, I decided to create my own job. So, I built my team in Mozambique.
There was a time when there were three of us and now there are more than eight of us.
With my team in Mozambique, we started in 2017, we launched the first fancy fashion show in Mozambique,
so I had to travel a bit, Mozambique – Morocco, and now it’s been 4 years, we started in 2017 with one day of a fashion show.
2018 we had one day. 2019 we had two days and this year we are launching our first fashion week.
Which designers did you invite? Are they designers only from Mozambique?
No, since 2017, we started with a great partnership with South Africa, few designers and models from South Africa.
Then in 2018, we started to grow a little bit because besides being an entrepreneur in fashion business,
I also work for myself as a fashion influencer. I’m a digital marketer,
like I promote brands in different areas, watches, clothes, shoes, everything.
Because I’ve got some of a big platform as King Dapper on Instagram.
What is your name as a fashion influencer?
King Dapper, King Levi Dapper, because the way I dress.
With that I added partnership around the world, with Nigeria.
We started pushing Nigeria designers and this year, we are bigger
because we have applications from all around the world, Brazil, the US, we’ve got France,
we’ve got Ghana, we’ve got Algeria, we’ve got Kenya, we’ve got South Africa,
we’ve got Mozambique, it’s bigger this year.
I started doing funny like loving fashion, just doing things that I love, taking pictures, posting, promoting brands,
giving tips about fashion and today I’m working with more a lot of brands across the world
from jewelry, to watches to suits. I’ve been working with different brands and promoting them.
So you started with one event and then it’s growing up quickly.
Yes, it’s grown up quickly.
And how did you manage with your life
abroad and your project in Mozambique?
It’s wasn’t easy because I had to find ways of working.
I have found someone who was based in Mozambique which is my main guy.
When I’m not in Mozambique, I do most of my work online. I have to travel a lot sometimes
so in one year maybe I go to Mozambique 4 times, so that’s a bit of hard work.
But I gain, I’m doing something that I actually love and that has a huge impact on the country.
For me it’s important because with this work we have given employment for more than 80 young people.
Designers, models, makeup artists, photographers, it’s like a huge industry. So, this is a platform we are building.
We don’t just want to stay on organizing events because in Mozambique we don’t have a fashion school.
We want to build the first fashion school in Mozambique.
Very interesting, very good to do that.
What’s the name of the fashion show you do?
Fancy Fashion Week now.
Fancy Fashion Week. When will be the next one?
It will be in August. It’s going to be in Maputo.
So, after, you want to create a school, a fashion school, and after that?
Then after that, it’s all about creating opportunity to young people in Mozambique and extend the work.
We need designers in big platform like Paris fashion week and stuff like that but before that,
we need to train people, they need formation they need education, we need to walk
on the quality of what we are doing in Mozambique.
So that’s why we have all this project going on.
In December 2019, I travelled with 2 designers and 3 models to South Africa
for a Fashion show, because part of our project is also to expose local designers Internationally.
Did you think about doing a fashion show, in another country?
Yes, I was actually invited to do an event here, in France
and we were supposed to do it now in April but there are few changes.
But we believe that later in the year, we might do one here.
It’s a local designer but she is from Nigeria and she is based in France.
We also invited few designers from Africa to come here.
It’s good, I want to come to your event!
Can you tell us what it has been like to be an expat spouse in your professional life?
Did you develop skills that you think are important for your work?
Yes I did. It was very challenging, frustrating at time, but I earned to develop all this project and being abroad.
I use all the resources I have to start such a big project which creates amazing skills.
For example communication, in different areas, like distance communication,
local communication, the language, and all those things create amazing skills.
Strategy, planning, organization and all those things are just different.
My education actually is community development, there was social studies, that’s why I work for VSO
and IOM but my career just had another turn and this turn had just created amazing skills.
You are, I think adaptable to every culture, different cultures.
Yes I’m able to adjust myself to different cultures.
I can live in and not only survive but live, learn and adapt and grow from this experience.
Take those skills back to where I’m from because it’s really important for me not using
just this opportunity as well to grow myself but as well grow other people.
Even when I talk to people now, when I share my ideas,
they are actually learning and feel that this guy has built himself with different skills.
So, after an experience, I change the way to talk to my people concerning
how I train my own employees, the pressure that I put.
Because in the background we have a different type of perform, it just really helps other people not only me.
For sure, good.
What is your favorite quote?
There is one quote that I really like and It’s very philosophical.
« Shame on me for changing, shame on you for staying the same »
This quote’s from a song from an American singer, her name is Jhene Aiko.
Her music is very kind calm, kind reflective, a lot of poetry in her music.
I really love this quote. It’s just a reflection of accepting change
but it’s as well respecting those who ever decide to stay the same.
Yes, everybody choses.
Because sometimes you judge people, we think that we change
and then we don’t respect the fact that some people are just well in their own comfort zone.
Yes, exactly, everybody is different.
A final word for the end?
I had a lot of experiences in moving around, in terms of language development.
For the moment, I joined Absolutely French, I found that there is a lot of Human sides attachment,
human development, human understanding, there are different ways of training people,
but making them understand and immersing a culture and changing their perspectives,
I think that in a short time, you are able to do so much, that you don’t imagine, what you do it’s very special.
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