Irene Agbontaen, Designer


"I do a lot of stuff, actually. My main thing is my clothing line—it's wardrobe staples for tall women because it can be really hard to find clothes for your height. The line is called TTYA, short for Taller Than Your Average. It started as a seven-piece capsule collection of the perfect basics because that's what I wear. I’m 5’11”, so it was like leggings, maxi skirts, a long white tee, anything that would fit my sleeves, anything where my ankles were covered. My style is very fast-paced because I come and go all day, so I need pieces that are interchangeable, and that I can mix-and-match. So I would say, I’m basic but I’m not a basic, but I love basics—if that makes sense. [Laughs]

Before I started my fashion line, I was a stylist—that's how I met so many of my friends. I transitioned that into being a cultural consultant where I can merge music, fashion, and nightlife for parties and events. I helped open the London EDITION and now I work on The Curtain, which is basically a smaller version of the Soho House. It’s very in-tune with young creatives, entrepreneurs. We’re not your stereotypical member’s club. The kind of nightlife events I like are the events I create.

In terms of my look, I’m a big wigs girl. I love a wig. It’s convenient, too, because you can just stitch it on and prepare your looks according to it. Like I said, I live a fast life, and also I like basic clothing, so I feel like my hair makes me different. I have about 15 wigs—some are long and wavy, some are bobs. It all depends on my mood. Right now I'm wearing it short because it's hot in London and I need my neck free and my shoulders out. My friend Rio does hair, so he did this—he also does FKA Twigs. Then I usually go to Bleach and color the hair before they weave it on to me. For my natural hair, I just deep condition with Dr. Miracle's Deep Conditioning Treatment every two weeks. I don't wear it out often because I prefer it plaited. And because of the lifestyle I live, as a career woman, I like anything that's easier.

That's why I do acrylics, too. Getting your nails done can be a bit boring, to be honest. But I go to the same salon that I went to when I was growing up and they all know more there. I’ve worn them long for a while, but I’m getting at that point where it's just a bit, ugh. I’m 32 now, so maybe I should have them a bit shorter? Maybe painting them a simple red. It would be a little more sophisticated, I think.

In terms of makeup, I'm a big MAC girl. Every day, I mix the MAC Studio Fix Fluid in NC50 with the Pro Wear Concealer in NW45. It’s basically the same color, but the concealer is a bit redder. My lip is either MAC Velvet Teddy with the Spice Lip Pencil, or Christian Louboutin Velvet Matte in Rouge with MAC Cherry Liner. NYX is my other brand of the moment because it's so affordable but so amazing. Especially for brown girls. So I use their Color Correcting Powder and their Studio Perfect Primer when I need to. My skin is really oily, so basically everything I use has to be oil-free. The Kiehl's Ultra Facial Oil-Free Lotion comes with me everywhere, but it's always available at Duty-Free too. And I love the Kiehl's Tumeric and Cranberry Energizing Radiance Masque—it's the best, isn't it? I steam with it and you can feel the pollution coming off your face. Then I use Garnier Micellar Water to take off my makeup–it’s the best for acne-prone skin. It's fragrance-free and doesn't give me any spots or leave me sticky.

Blush, highlighter, and angles—that’s the secret to good photos. I don’t even know how to contour, though. I tried to watch some YouTube tutorials, but I was just sitting there thinking, 'Nah this isn’t for me.' You have to use something like 10 shades. Contouring seems expensive! Can you imagine what some of these makeup kits look like? It must be crazy! I just keep it so simple."

—as told to ITG