Guest Blogger

Fashion Sense: Ati Taking the World by Storm

November 7, 2011

Ati Nwabisa Qina, is one of my best friends from (back then) Secondary school. She’s not only stunning; she is also smart, talented and ambitious. For as long as I can remember, she has always had great taste in clothing. I remember I used to take her drawings home and try to sketch like her (needless to say I failed dismally).

Ati has started her own clothing line since then, Ati Designs. She makes fashion looks easy!  Ati has a flair for color and her style is elegant, chic, sexy with a hint of attitude.

Because I love (her) clothes, I decided to invade her space to find out more about her designs.

More about this talented, creative and fearless woman…




Nono: Hi my friend; thanks for your time. How have you been?

Ati: Hi Nono… I am good thanks dear


Nono: Tell us about your childhood. Where were you born, where did you grow up?

Ati: I was born in Umthatha, grew up in Tabase and  Ugie… I was born on a special day, my father’s birthday… 29th April. And I was very close to him. May his soul rest in peace.


Nono: Tell us about your family and the relationship you have with them.

Ati: Since my father’s passing, we grew closer, especially with my mother.. I have 3 sisters and one brother. We share a special bond with my sisters


Nono: What did you want to be when you were growing up?

Ati: growing up I wanted to be an artist because I loved drawing…  and in varsity I did FINE ARTS, later fell in love with fashion


Nono: Growing up, where did your sense of fashion first come from?

Ati: I always loved clothes and my mother always made dresses for us, she has a sewing machine.

Nono: What drew you to fashion?

Ati: my love for clothes matched with my creativity


Nono: How was your clothing line Ati Designs born?

Ati: after my graduation in varsity, I decided to start my clothing label…it was a bit daunting but   I believed in myself.


Nono: Tell us about your label…

Ati: Ati Designs is all about glam, elegance, style, fit, finish and that BIG WOW FACTOR..  My designs are eclectic, and always different.


Nono: Who is your target market?

Ati: my target market is that lady who wants to stand out without compromising her standards or personality…


Nono: What is your style?

Ati: my style is very versatile and eclectic.


Nono: What inspires your designs?

Ati: every day life, colours, shapes, moods, all life around me


Nono: What is most rewarding about your work as a fashion designer?

Ati: the smile of a happy client… and recognition of my beautiful work


Nono: What are some of the challenges of your work?

Ati: sleepless nights….  But it is all worth it.


Nono: What do people need to know about a fashion design career?

Ati: it’s not as glamorous as it looks… a lot of work and dedications tags along, and just because you love clothes doesn’t mean you are a fashion designer…


Nono: What skills are important in being a fashion designer?

Ati: be professional… don’t cut corners,   take pride into producing good quality clothing. Set good standards for your work. The rewards are greater.


Nono: What is your most favorite garment you’ve ever made?

Ati: a red FLORA Dress I recently made for a client.


Nono: Who are some of the big names you’ve worked with?

Ati:  I have not worked with any big names so far…. Although it was a great honor when I was interviewed by the TV show SES’KHONA. I got to show my work to the whole country. And got more clients too.


Nono: Who would you most like to dress?

Ati: dressing Connie Ferguson would be nice. I love her effortless style.



Nono: Tell us about Ati Designs…

Ati: Ati Designs started four years ago, still growing… Ati Designs offers unique, eclectic, and timeless designs. And soon will launch Ati BABY… FOR KIDS CLOTHING


Nono: What is the most difficult aspect in launching your own label?



Nono: What is unique about your clothing line?

Ati: I don’t create the same design twice… 


Nono: What’s it like running your own business?

Ati: being self-employed is not an easy job… and expect to go without a salary at other times


Nono: Talk us through the process of making a garment.

Ati: it all stars with an idea, sketch, fabric choice… then pattern design, cutting the fabric, fusing  of inter linings… then comes sewing and fittings


Nono: Are you involved throughout that process?

Ati: yes, it’s all me me me until the end


Nono: What’s been the highlight of your career so far?

Ati: dressing the Miss PE finalists and show casing my work on TV


Nono: What do you wish you had known before entering the fashion industry?

Ati: Awareness is the key… always keep up with what’s happening around you


Nono: What is your item of the season this spring?

Ati: an acid yellow tote… and an apple green summer dress


Nono: What colors are trendy right now and why?

Ati: navy, yellow, nautical, reds…  that’s trends, they come and go… it’s a movement… keep up or be left behind

I don’t follow trends, but I’m aware of them

Nono: Who do you look up to in the fashion design industry?

Ati: I love Thula Sindi… he is very humble… and a great artist


Nono: How do you market your clothes?



Nono: How can people get your clothes?



Nono: What advice would you offer someone who wants to get into fashion design?

Ati:  Believe in yourself, and always be true to your style… be original


Nono: What keeps you going?

Ati: my beautiful baby girl… she teaches me so much more about myself


Nono: Who are your role models?

Ati: my late father


Nono:  Where do you get your inspiration from?

Ati: all life around me


Nono: What keeps you grounded and focused?

Ati: my dreams, my family and my work


Nono: What defines you?

Ati: humility


Nono: 3 items you can’t live without?

Ati: my family, my sketch pad and water


Nono: What do you do for fun?

Ati: go to the beach, cinema, playing with my baby girl, drawing and painting… being with my family


Nono: 3 things most people don’t know about you?

Ati: I started working in the fields back at home when I was seven… it was normal for us.

I was born on my father’s birthday

I love cooking and baking. One day I plan to open a restaurant.


Nono: What kind of music do you enjoy?

Ati: it all depends on my mood… I can be your rock girl, hip-hop, house, I’m not choosy


Nono: Does Ati have a love life? (Laughs)

Ati: oh yes


Nono: What qualities do you look for in a mate?

Ati: he must make me laugh, have beautiful hands, and be my best friend


Nono: Love is…

Ati: the greatest gift you can ever give or receive


Nono: Worst pick-up line you’ve ever heard?

Ati: ….do I know you from some where??


Nono: If you had super powers, what would they be?

Ati: remove all the crime in the world


Nono: Your motto in life?

Ati: sink or swim


Nono: Greatest life lesson you’ve learnt so far?

Ati: love is infinity



Nono: What is your dream for the future of your designs?

Ati: be recognized globally


Nono: Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?

Ati: hopefully I will have employed about 10 people then…


Nono: What would you like to be remembered for?

Ati: my love for life


Nono: Your message to the youth?

Ati: strive to be the best change

Follow Ati on Twitter: @nwaiizir86

Find Ati on facebook: Ati Nwai Qina

Thanks so much for your time my friend.


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