Olubayi Ajaa : “There really isn’t anything I want to say with my style other than this is how I feel about myself on the inside.”
Published Friday, July 24 2020 | Olubayi Ajaa by theSystem *
Tell us about about your background and how you found creativity and who or what you are today?
I found my creativity in 2016 back when I joined uni. It was one evening, my friends and I were fooling around with a camera and we took pictures of ourselves and mine, well, they stood out. I didn’t even know I had it in me until we saw the end result.
I’m a creative, Stylist and Muse.
Tell us about your Styling and being a Muse , How did you get your start in that , when did you realize that its your occupation?
Well, I realized I’m a great Stylist when I’d pick out my fits for my creative shoots. I would curate the different looks and pieces and have them photographed. That’s how I knew I got the styling spirit. Normally, people would tell me that I dress so well and in my mind, it was just a casual look. You know, nothing fancy.
Being a Muse, my cousin needed a model for his photography skills and I was always available to help. So we killed two birds with one stone. He’d photograph and I’d be in tune with the character I’d embody for the theme of the shoot.
All this started in 2017
What is a typical day for a enthusiastic stylist like you ?
Getting up early in the morning to go meet new people who want me to style them. Breaking the ice once I meet them, seeing their reality of life and getting to know who they are as a person. From that, I can deduce what type of styling works with the person. After all, your style is a fragment of who you are.
Once I leave and they’re happy with the work flow, I feel good. I feel better when they refer me to other friends who become my new clients.
Do you prefer styling others or yourself and how do you handle difference in taste with your subjects?
I have no preference because I treat myself the same way I’d treat my clients. That way, I put my heart and soul into the styling.
It’s all in the person’s story, level of confidence they have towards themselves, how they carry themselves and definitely what they’re capable of.
Your wardrobe is quite androgynous, judging by you IG but that could just be your portfolio , tell us a bit about your personal style and what you want to tell with it , is there a narrative to it ?
Hah. Yes. Well, the Yin and Yang ☯ is the best way to describe my style.
Femininity and masculinity in one picture always has a way of raising eyebrows, attracting attention and basically saying, “I’m here”
There really isn’t anything I want to say with my style other than this is how I feel about myself on the inside.
Is the attention worth your effort and or do you even care about it ?
Honestly, I never ask for the attention. It just comes. I don’t like it, however, when it comes, I embrace it and use it to my advantage.
I tend to be quite shy actually. My platform just helped me deal with being shy and working on my confidence.
Sure , what have been your best and worst experiences as a stylist? start with the worst…
The worst, it made me realize that the people I thought were my support system were really not.
The best, I found the right people to move ahead with my passion.
How are you dealing with the plague ? and how has it affected your practice? and what are your feelings about the current situation?
Well, it’s greatly affected what I had planned for this year to be honest. I’m actually planning on recreating myself and brand in general.
With Ms Rona around, many clients aren’t comfortable with meeting up and social distancing is a real thing. So for now, I’m my own client.
I really hope this can end soon. But it’s been a great period for me as I got to reflect on my plans and go back to the drawing board and see how I can progress.
What have you been doing in isolation, are you also working on a “loner doc” ?
No I haven’t. Are you? I’d like to see that.
For now, I’ll say I’m in the works of something new.
No , so tell me , what or who is your perfect subject in regards to styling?
Hmmmm. I’d say myself.
I like to think that if it can work for me, it can be done on anyone.
Could you highlight some of your best projects past and present and tell us why they were that good?
I’ll start with my bathtub series. I had just gotten out of a nasty situationship 😹 and I needed an avenue to really express myself. It symbolized a death and rebirth. I drowned my feelings in the water and soaked up the beauty, gentleness and grace of the petals as I got out.
The second is my Shujaa Stories shoot. That was when my late good friend Masidza Galavu, God rest his soul in peace, helped me get discovered.
Third, my Adam and Eve shoot. To create that shoot took a lot of effort, time and traveling. I envisioned it and said I must bring it to life.
Lastly, my April/May 2019 shoot with Luca. I got to meet my new family and become a brand ambassador for her. Moves!
Are you working with any local designers and do you promote them with your work?
No. Unfortunately. I would have if it wasn’t for Covid-19.
Are there any particular designers that you are interested in at the moment? who do you think is arousing your taste?
Currently there’s Muyishime. His style and design is completely different from what I’m used to and me being the versatile style king I am, I’d love to try his work on my canvas body.
Muyishime is different , one of the most progressive designers we have today , and his work would definitely look great on you, What is the biggest misconception people not working in your field have about styling as practice?
That it’s a waste of time. For people to take you seriously, you’ve got to present yourself in a manner that says I’m here and I mean whatever business I’m here for.
I know , you have to , what is your philosophy in life and work?
You are exactly where you’re supposed to be.
What inspires you everyday?
The vision I have for myself.
Lets talk about the Nanasi project, how did that come by ?
Nanasi is actually a blessing in disguise. My cousin MJ is the founder and I was able to land the role of assistant Content creator.
Ohh wow that is dope, What advice would you give an aspiring fashion stylist?
That thing they’re afraid to do, do it.
What do you make of the creative scene in Nairobi today?
UNDERRATED and sexist.