In Conversation With Daniel Obasi, The Stylist Behind Odunsi’s ‘star signs’ Video

July 15, 2019
195 Views

About a week ago, Odunsi finally dropped the video for his Runtown-assisted anthem, “star signs”. Recreating a typical owambe, the undeniable highlight of the clip was the alluring garments and accessories that draped each guest, put together by multifaceted visual artist, Daniel Obasi.

From the moment Obasi heard the hypnotic track — a clear standout and his undisputed favourite off Odunsi’s masterful 2018 debut, rare. — he immediately knew that he would be the artistic mind to bring to life whatever vision Odunsi presented for the music video. 

With the help of Roosevelt Amase, Laura Ugbegbe and Nezodo Anaemeka, Obasi’s predictions came to pass, as he led the styling team through measuring models, pulling clothes and accessories, drawing up mood boards and custom-making over 30 different outfits.

Given the captivating looks the team was miraculously able to pull off in just two short weeks, we at Konbini decided to chat with Obasi about his work — which he suggests might by his favourite styling project to date — letting him guide us through the process. 

Solis (Scorpio) (Photo: TSE/Instagram)

Konbini: What was your first thought when Odunsi approached you with the concept?

Daniel Obasi: I remember, when I first heard the song, I knew straight up that I was gonna work on that one because it is my favourite song on the album.

When he reached out and shared the treatment with me, I was shocked by the direction they wanted to go because I didn’t see an owambe party coming. But then the real challenge was: how do we translate the concept of star signs and space into a Nigerian owambe party without looking cliche or even messy? I decided to go with Afrofuturism. 

Fadekemi (Aquarius) (Photo: Omofolarin/Instagram)

What was it like working with Odunsi?

I would describe it as having a very open-minded conversation with a good friend. This isn’t our first time working together on a project — we collaborated on the album cover for rare. and his listening concert at Hard Rock Café. I love that Odunsi is willing to experiment and challenge stereotypes on what masculinity is. 

Usually, in Nigeria, you meet artists who want to try to be experimental with their style, but when the looks are put together they sort of chicken out last minute. That is actually one of the reasons why I don’t necessarily work with so many artists because I love a challenge, and I can only feed off the energy you throw at me.

Gemini and Aquarius Ladies (Photo: TSE/Instagram)

How did you incorporate each star sign into the clothes?

Research! From the treatment, we had Gemini, Aquarius, Pisces, Scorpio and Virgo as the chosen star signs for the video. Naturally, I am a Virgo and we love to be meticulous and clear, so I dug deep, trying to understand the other star signs — from the colours that come with that, to the overall vibe of each.

I drew up a mood board, assigned a colour palette to each and ran with it. I made embroideries of each star sign and had it incorporated in some of the looks, just to make the houses more obvious. 

The Aquarius’ (Photo: TSE/Instagram)

How did you incorporate your own personal style into the clothes?

My style usually leans towards whimsical, mysterious, seductive and androgynous, so it was important to have that play out here as well.  If you watch the video closely, you will notice that not everyone was dressed in Iro and Buba or Agbada.

I wanted the styling to feel like an Afro-Astro party in another dimension or alternate universe, one that appreciated people for being their individual selves. A party where you are allowed to express who you are as a misfit without being judged.

Ashley (Pisces) (Photo: Omofolarin/Instagram)

Odunsi (Photo: Omofolarin/Instagram)

How did you decide how to style the star himself?

His look pays homage to Sunny Ade, but more cosmic/alternative. We were inspired by Sunny Ade’s extravagant way of dressing on stage for performances, and how he found a way to make his traditional outfits look edgy. I also felt it would be great to tie the concept for his look with that of the album cover, hence the shiny sequin.

What did you want to portray with the garments and accessories in this video? 

I wanted the looks to speak loudly on individuality and how far the young people in Lagos have come in terms of owning our truths, and fashion is such a huge way of expressing it. I wanted everyone to really look good and iconic. Like a video portrait that you look back at years later when the country is a better place and be glad that we were not afraid to be different. 

Tara (Pisces) (Photo: TSE/Instagram)

Afrat (Pisces) (Photo: TSE/Instagram)

It was important that the looks felt whimsical, especially for the Pisces group. Ashley’s look was inspired by the Fairy “Tinker Bell” — the green hair, the sleekness with shiny studs on her face and hair, and the moon shaped earrings gave her a badass fairytale feel.

Arafat with the wings behind her ears was inspired by Hermes, the messenger of the gods — this was important because star signs history has a lot to do with Greek mythology. 

The Virgo house had people like Uche Uba and Roosevelt, who are naturally very androgynous-looking, and their individual style stirs away from what is conventional men’s fashion. We had the tiara, we had the jewellery, and they both looked very divine. At every corner of the party, there was an exciting detail that you had to look at twice. 

Uche Uba and Roosevelt (Virgo) (Photo: Omofolarin/Instagram)

Solis & Chibuzor (Scorpio) (Photo: TSE/Instagram)

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