Flavilla Fongang, a fashionista - Changing the world through fashion
If anyone knows how best to keep it chic and sassy in the fashion department, and still dominate the business arena, that would be Flavilla Fongang. Born and raised in the fashion capital of the world, the Parisian's mission is to change the world through fashion.
But who is she? Today, Outlook introduces you to the internationally acclaimed fashion expert and successful entrepreneur.
A veritable fashion genie, Fongang also wears many other hats. Imagine having seven professions at once. Fongang is the managing director of 3 Colours Rule (a London-based international creative branding and fashion training institute), brand strategist, colourologist, branding speaker and trainer, inspirational speaker, fashion styling teacher, and writer. It's a handful, but she declared that she has never had to question her competence in any of these areas.
As you would have guessed, growing up in Paris had an impact on her excellent taste in fashion.
"Paris helped me develop a natural sense of style. As a French woman, I love dressing chic while mixing it with a touch of glam. I love fashion because it's not just superficial. It's a way to express one's self and feel confident," Fongang told Outlook.
It was tough for Fongang growing up with a single parent and four siblings. But she was determined to succeed, so she worked and studied simultaneously to get to where she is today. Using her early life battles as motivation, she said she would not have changed anything she went through.
In 2002, she made a spontaneous move to London, to participate in the Eramus Programme a European student exchange programme for European Union (EU) children who want to study internationally. Initially planning to return to Paris within a year, Fongang has now been there for 15 years.
"London was the best move I made for my career, as it is an excellent city for ambitious entrepreneurs. Witnessing British African individuals with successful careers, changed my perception of what I could achieve. The more we see successful entrepreneurs who look like we do, the more we believe in our potential. I call this the mirror of success," Fongang told Outlook.
Being inspired by her mother's sense of style who she describes as "a true diva," Fongang intends to strategically use her company, 3 Colours Rule, through the power of fashion to make a difference.
"Fashion can be used as a vessel to change stereotypes, broadcast a political message, build confidence, connect people and so much more. This is what I want, to create an army of fashion stylists who make a positive impact on people around the world," Fongang said.
On her journey to success, Fongang has encountered several challenges, including finding herself in difficult situations without any financial support. Although this was frustrating for her, she continued to pursue her goals, and confided in her family, friends, and mentors. Today, as the guardian of her success, she has risen above her challenges. To honour her efforts and multiple instances of success, like a true fashionista, today she has 250 pairs of shoes to mark each success (remembering the days when she had only one).
"Crazy, ha! Well, I decided every time I achieved a goal, I would reward myself with a pair of shoes. I probably need to stop as I'm running out of space," she said.
For Fongang, her greatest accomplishment is the one she shares with the members of her organisation. Their charity project in Ghana for an orphanage - Drifting Angels - where they raised funds for tuition, clothing, and food for the children is her greatest achievement.
In her capacity as a motivator, she always encourages people to follow their dreams.
"Get uncomfortable and grow. Get uncomfortable to be the best version of you. Remember, you need to be in a very difficult situation to achieve the greatest results," Fongang advised.
The other side of Fongang
Fongong is known around the world as an influential successful woman, but there is more to her than her fashion.
"I am a nonconformist, because trying to follow what society wants you to do, won't guarantee happiness. [Also] I'm an optimist. I always see the silver lining, and how I can learn from every situation. I don't take myself too seriously, and I do my best to keep every moment a fun experience. I'm curious about people and the world as they feed my imagination, my creativity, my work, and my life. And I'm a foodie and traveller who sees life in colour," Fongang said.
Fongang is a lover of music, with an eclectic play list that includes jazz, R & B, classic, and country music. Her leisure pursuits also include telling stories in non conventional ways, through pictures, and spending quality time with friends and family.