Detroit-based engineer Muktar Onifade is using his skills working as an engineer to create a fashion line that celebrates West African culture.
The 26-year-old native Nigerian and General Motors calibration specialist said he was inspired to launch his line, VIZUVLGVDS (Visual Gods), after going to a fashion show featuring beautiful African styles. “To be Black now, you have to be fearless really,” Onifade says in a Thursday, Feb. 9 NBC Black profile. “There has to be this certain level of self-belief in what you can accomplish.”
Onifade saw an opportunity to make a line that could be worn anywhere and any time outside of special occasions and events. To put his plan into action, he took his first paycheck from working at GM and brought a sewing machine.
Since 2015, his VIZUVLGVDS line has featured two collections that showcase his meticulous engineering talents and his African cultural heritage.
As the company continues early production of its important new full-size pickup trucks, Akerson has elevated Alicia Boler-Davis to senior vice president of global quality and global customer experience. She had been a vice president of global quality and U.S. customer experience, reporting to Mary Barra, GM’s senior vice president of global product development.
Boler-Davis will now report directly to Akerson. The promotion came a week after GM earned the top spot among major auto manufacturers in the widely watched J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Study that measure customer problems in the first 90 days of ownership.
Akerson made the announcement before a crowd of about 2,000 GM employees on Wednesday at the automaker’s Warren Technical Center to celebrate GM’s performance in the annual survey.
GM was the best-performing major auto manufacturer overall in the consumer study for the first time in its history and individual models from its brands took the top spot in eight of the vehicle market segments. The Chevrolet brand beat stalwarts like Toyota and Honda.
Calling the celebration his “most memorable day” since becoming CEO in September 2010, Akerson urged employees to guard against complacency. “This award gives us a glimpse of what it’s like to be on top,” he said.