LadybrilleNigeria Style Star is a fun feature on Nigerian celebrity designers, actors, artists and other personalities, worldwide, who from our research, have a strong style sense. We track these stars down and in a really relaxed, fun and straightforward way, learn all we can about their style sense and of course get tips on how to look and stay “fly” just like them! For a possible feature or to suggest a Style Star, send an e-mail to (firstname.lastname@example.org).
“U should know [his] “P”” and if you don’t, allow us to help you get with the program.
Rihanna, Beyonce, Kanye (yes the Taylor Swift crazy ‘Ye) are some of America’s celebrities who wear something today and the next day the streets are literally rocking the same looks! Nigeria has not really had a style star with such magnetic power . . . that is until Naetochukwu Chikwe aka Naeto C, rapper and producer.
Naeto’s style is as viral as his songs and slogans. He, for example, began rocking Hausa caps matched with his stylish clothes and almost like his first major hit song and slogan, “U Know my P,” the streets took to doing the same. Naeto C has since coined numerous slogans, many of which are now everyday lingo among and across the continent’s pop culture savvy youths.
While the artist who clearly understands style has received numerous prestigious awards for his music works including the 2008 MTV Award and 2009 Channel O Awards, he is yet to officially receive an award for his trend setting (ways). Can you believe that? Unbelievable indeed! We at LadybrilleNigeria are proud and delighted to be the first to break this pattern by awarding Naeto C. his first Style Award via his feature as LadybrilleNigeria Style Star!
Naeto, who now juggles school (he is pursuing an MBA degree) and a music career, literally helped create a demand for Hausa caps from “Gidi to Calabar” and everything in between! Talk about helping Nigeria’s fashion industry and stimulating the economy! Enjoy our fun interview with the Style Star.
LADYBRILLENigeria.com: “You should know my P. If she don’t know my P she not really looking.” That’s from “U Know my P.” I think we know your P, a term you coined but “abeg” do still describe your style sense?
Naeto C: Well my sense of style at the moment is pretty much “less is more.” Jeans, t-shirts, sweaters, kaftans, whatever I feel like wearing. I keep it simple, key accessories add spice to the ensemble as well: cufflinks, glasses/shades, scarves . . . also I hate looking like everybody else so standing out is important to me . . .
LADYBRILLENigeria.com: I remember seeing you rock the Hausa caps and saying, “that’s HOT!” like Paris Hilton would say it. (Lol!) Now it is a trend everywhere. Was that deliberate or you just threw the hat on without really thinking much of it?
Naeto C: It was deliberate. I knew I could pull it off and make it look cool and you are right, a lot of people identified with that. In the States they wear fitted caps, I was like I’d probably stand out more in Nigeria if I did the Hausa cap, the only difference is it is more ethnic than fitted caps . . .
LADYBRILLENigeria.com: I always feel like whether performing and certainly in any music video I see you, your “P” comes across (heavy). “Kini Big Deal,” ‘Ringtone” “U Know My P,” “Ako Mi Ti Poju” and the list goes on. Is your style sense innate? Were you born with it?
Naeto C: It is all about a (belief in self) (and) conviction. When you study yourself, you should have a realistic understanding of what you’re good at. When it comes to being me, I’m the best at it. So I’m really just being me and anyway a good sense of style sometimes means a good stylist but that’s not me though, certain things just have to be innate, you can’t buy “P” you know? (Lol!)
LADYBRILLENigeria.com: (I know. Look at you! Lol!) What’s your favorite music video to date that you feel truly captures the essence of your style on and off stage?
Naeto C: Probably the Successful P-Mix, because you get to see me at the Channel O Awards, in the hotel, hanging out in Mandela Square etc.
LADYBRILLENigeria.com: MTV MAMAs Awards 2008, you killed it with the suit! Everything from head to toe was on point. Who were you wearing?
Naeto C: Okunoren Twins, they are my friends and I love their clothes, Bespoke all the way. (Lol!)
LADYBRILLENigeria.com: Give us some style tips on how to shop for the right suit for the “fellas” reading this?
Naeto C: I have mine tailored to fit most of the time so it fits just right. I’m into European cuts when it comes to suits so I don’t do baggy or anything loose. . . when you’re fitted, those kinds of suits look great. Next is a shirt. [It] should probably be a light color to contrast with the color of the suit. I love white shirts . . . then a tie to complement your combination . . . and of course first-class cufflinks. I always have gold and silver ones. I just got some killer Ferragamo cuff-links. You can literally spot me from a mile away once I wave my wrist in the air. (Lol!)
LADYBRILLENigeria.com: (Ako e ti poju (your yanga is too much) lol!) If you were not a musician or you still are and decide to branch into the world of design, what would you be designing?
Naeto C: I’d be designing denim, probably jeans.
LADYBRILLENigeria.com: Who is your favorite Nigerian designer and why?
Naeto C: Okunoren Twins because their clothes compliment my aura so well. It’s beyond swagger, I promise you. (Lol!)
LADYBRILLENigeria.com: (Na wa o! The “P” is heavy) You always seem so laid back. Do you ever stress? (Lol!)
Naeto C: Yes o! But that’s behind the scenes. (Lol!)
LADYBRILLENigeria.com: (Hmmm . . . I doubt you even stress behind the scenes. You always look so cool, calm and collected). What is your favorite Naija spot to go for a good time?
Naeto C: Depends if it’s in Abuja or Lagos, I’m simple though, wherever there’s fresh air, good food, good music and good company.
LADYBRILLENigeria.com: Where is your favorite getaway vacation spot in Naija?
Naeto C: I’m always working so I don’t even know where one would be. (Lol!) If you know a couple, holla at me . . .Obudu Ranch seems like a long ting though. (Lol!)
LADYBRILLENigeria.com: (Fo’ sure) Shades are one of your signature looks. What is the rule on shopping for shades?
Naeto C:Try them on first. Go with the ones that complement the structure of your head and your face so you no walk around with a windshield abeg. It’s necessary.
LADYBRILLENigeria.com: (Lol!) What about shoes?
Naeto C: Depends on your style. . . I’m simple. I do Chuck Taylors, slippers, a lot of white sneakers, pointy shoes, color loafers all because they match my dressing really and they are all comfortable.
LADYBRILLENigeria.com: What is you favorite cologne to wear and why?
Naeto C: Terre D’Hermes. I can’t explain. You need to smell if for yourself, it’s just spot on!
LADYBRILLENigeria.com: When it comes to grooming give us three rules every guy must follow?
Naeto C: Take care of yourself, hair, nails and dress well, always.
LADYBRILLENigeria.com: Finally, for anyone that ever finds themselves in the limelight (giving a speech, performing, etc.), what is your number one tip on how to make sure they look well put together i.e. stylish?
Naeto C: Just be yourself. If that’s not enough, ask someone you know is stylish for advice.
~Interview by Uduak Oduok
~Photocredits: Storm Records, Getty Images, BBC
Naeto C at the Channel O Music Video Awards
Naeto C, U Know My P”
Kini Big Deal