My dream as a dressmaker is to tell authentic African stories that exports our local culture, tradition and more importantly, our clothing and fashion to the world.
A Nigerian couple wearing the traditional ‘Tiv’ fabric called ‘Ukara’
I desire to do this by having a bit of every African culture embeded in my products, be it my dresses, accessories, homeware, basically every fashion piece I create.
Africa has some of the most beautiful fabrics and unique materials found here exclusively, and I believe we can harness our uniqueness into exportable fashion products.
As a dressmaker and creative director of my womenswear label ‘Dresses By Aloli’, my 5 year plan for my Pret-a-Porter line is to have my custom clothing and accessories made in fabrics and materials sourced in different African cities. I desire to sell authentic Pan African fashion products simply because I truly desire to curate and export our beauty to the world.
I want people including Africans to see the beauty in our local fabrics, to appreciate what we have and use what we have in growing our continent.
Woven fabrics from Ghana
Adire’, A popular Nigerian dyed cotton fabric.
Ukara’ is a Nigerian woven fabric that has unique symbols drawn on them.
To understand my why is to look through straggering negative statistics of poverty among women, malnutrition, low education among the girl child and gender inequality.
A woman weaving ‘Akwete’ fabric
I do believe we can grow our nation by looking inwards to develop what comes naturally to us.
Most low income earning women make a living mostly in the creative industry as tailors, beader, traditional weavers, dyers etc and so I believe technology can be used to redefine and revolutionise our creative industries, build modern machinery to produce our fabrics and empower our women to create profitable and scalable businesses.
Great things happen when women are empowered financially, they can break the cycle of poverty and provide for their families.
The most important effect of employment on women is the education they provide for their children.
Just like Deola Sagoe, an internationally celebrated Nigerian dressmaker, who has taken a traditional Nigerian woven fabric called ‘Aso Oke’ and transformed it into a stunning and gorgeous premium fabric used majorly for wedding. As she famously said in an interview “My inspiration flows from the desire to get people to buy Nigerian all the way… The way to the better lives we seek is to give our economy the boost it needs by making buying and selling locally created products and services. I got tired of seemingly calling always, something from somewhere else; the highest quality. I could see local things here and there that to me were the highest quality,true some need refinement, but the best results often arise when you just polish and present that which you see naturally occuring around you”.
Deoala Sagoe’s ‘Komole Kandid’ collection.
Deola Sagoe redesigned using technology the popular ‘Aso Oke; fabric and has made it so silky in beautiful laser cut motifs that give each piece of clothing an intrinsic meaning.
My vision is a desire to enroll and start a diploma or a masters in womenswear design or Fashion design. I have 2 schooling options.
The first is a 10 months Masters Program in womenwear design from Instituto Moda Burgo in Milan while the second option is a 7 months certificate course in Fashion Design at New York school of design. I have done a few short courses in Flat pattern cutting and garment construction here in Nigeria but I want to have an intensive fashion education that would equip me with 4 important skill sets which are Textile design and technology, advance pattern cutting, garment construction and digital fashion illustration.
Completing these courses at these prestigious schools will not only equip me with high quality fashion education that will help me create a sustainable business but would also enable me equip more local craftsmen with quality skills that they can use to create a sustainable source of income for themselves and also build high quality products.
My fashion label currently offers Made To Measure clothing services to clients but my goal is to start a Ready To Wear line that I can eventually add more product lines like accessories and leatherwear using African sourced materials.
My desire is to create fashion forward workwear, casuals and cocktail outfits using locally produced fabrics sourced and created by our local craftsmen and weavers.
I intend to have an Atelier that houses all the craftsmen who create our fabrics which we eventually will use in producing our clothing and accessories. Eventually as we grow, we will introduce more product lines and expand to more countries replicating ateliers there and using local materials. My overall vision is to empower Africans through employment.
The Nigerian fashion industry is booming with loads of job opportunities, so creating a textile revolution will increase the job opportunities in the industry and solve the high unemployment rate which is presently at 18%.
The resources I need to enable me achieve my dreams are mentors in business and in the fashion industry.
I would love to also win the $10,000 Toptal scholarship to enable my dreams come to pass.