New Telegraph

Graduating students of Rhoda Michael’s Fashion Academy peep into the future

There is no doubt that Nigerian fashion has grown to the stage where the world is finally paying attention. Every six months to one year, a group of trained fashion entrepreneurs dust up their portfolios and talent to join the herd in order to make their mark in the fashion industry. With Fashion entrepreneurs Like Toyin Lawani, Mudi, Rikaoto By Me, VansKere, and many others who have changed the status quo to prove that fashion is no longer a mediocrity venture, experts have opined that the perception of looking down on fashion designing as a mere hobby or just a vocation has to change. If Nigeria is expected to compete with the world, fashion schools awarding professional degrees with international standards should be established to meet the demands of the young people who are eager to excel in the sector. So far, Rhoda Michaels’ Fashion Academy is one of the few that is bridging the gap in giving proper fashion education. As the academy graduates 50 students, Ifeoma Ononye sat down with a few of the graduates who spoke about what the future would look like for them. Below are some of the graduating students from Ikeja branch of the school

Fashion should not be a vocation, but a profession – Amarachi Osubor

To introduce herself, Amarachi Osubor will readily tell you that she is good with her hands and she has dreamed of being a fashion designer more than anything else. Like most children from Nigeria, she succumbed to the pressure of her parents to study Food Science and Technology from Federal University of Technology Owerri. Osubor, who hails from Imo State, said her dad believed she was too brilliant to study fashion and become one ‘Roadside Tailor’. “My dad saw that I would just become one ‘tailor’. My parents felt it could only be a hobby so it should remain like that. During my National Youth Service year, I learnt fashion training from a road side tailor. “Then when I came for my Master’s degree in Lagos, I saw a proper fashion school. I mean that was my first time seeing a fashion school. Unfortunately I was called for a job interview within the time I wanted to enrol. So I diverted again and started working in a bank,” she recalled. But taking a job in the bank did not stop Osubor from chasing after the dream. At every slight opportunity of a break or leave, she would look for a fashion school to take a course. “I have always wanted to see a proper fashion school in Nigeria like they have in New York – a proper fashion school with a curriculum. “When I was about to go to the university, I wanted to fill out fashion in my JAMB but I didn’t see any school in Nigeria that offered that. I was based in Kaduna at the time. So I didn’t know we had such schools like Yabatech and another one in Enugu. “So my dream is that even if it is not a fashion school established by me. I want to be part of the team that will establish a fashion school in Nigeria that is internationally recognised. I don’t want fashion to be a vocation anymore. It should be a profession. “I want people to be able to choose fashion as an option. I hope to be part of an institution that can move towards that.”

Reality awaits the sketches, ideas in my mind – Simislo Olaniba

Ondo State-born Simislo Olaniba discovered her love for fashion through her drawings and sketches. Though she had her first degree in International Relations in a European University and her Master’s degree in International Business in Jiangxi University, London, Simi knew she was marking her time and patiently waiting for an opportunity to explore her passion for fashion. “Right from my secondary school days, I have loved anything that has to do with fashion. In fact I love saying that I have great passion for fashion. “I am very good at sketching. I discovered I can draw at a young age. When ideas of female clothes pop into my head, I find myself sketching it. That is where the interest started.” Speaking about her dreams after graduating from the fashion school, she said: “After my graduation, I saw myself establishing myself in the industry. I dreamt of bringing all the sketches and ideas in my head into reality.”

Any dream without fashion is terrifying to me – Olivia Ajoku

Unlike Amara and Simisola, who deviated from pursuing fashion in the initial stage, from the get go Olivia took her dream to give her passion all her attention. Though she admitted that her passion for fashion was born out of curiosity 11 years ago, she fell deeper in love with the art of clothing people each time she searched about fashion to satisfy that curiosity. Presently she is studying Business Administration at the University of the People – a 100% online university. She stated that she opted for an online school so that she could combine studying Business Administration and fashion. “Getting a B.SC in fashion in Nigeria is a very unrealistic dream. So I decided to study a professional course. I choose Business Administration because fashion and business are twins. I knew that if I had opted to go to a physical school to study, I would have to suspend fashion for four years and that thought was very scary. That was why I chose to go to an online university so that I can do the two.” “I will say curiosity introduced me to the fashion world. I was curious about how clothes were made. I didn’t have a bigger picture of being a fashion designer. I was about nine years old and I just wanted to know how clothes were made. Just because of my curiosity, my mum signed me up in a tailors shop nearby, so I can go there after school. From my junior secondary education until I finished high school, I went every day to the fashion shop to learn how to sew. They didn’t teach me much, but I learned how to paddle the machine and basic clothing construction. “That didn’t douse my curiosity, rather it pricked it more. I went to three different tailoring shops just to learn more. “Here I was introduced to pattern drafting, measurements to the teeth and many other techniques that would help me become a proper designer. I started having a clearer picture of what I want to be as a designer. “I have been able to beautifully merge the roadside teaching and the professional teaching and I promise that the outcome will be a masterpiece when I launch my brand ‘Olivia Ajoku’,” she said. After graduating from Rhoda Michaels’, Olivia says she is studying further. “I want to get every possible diploma in fashion.”

Imasi Daniella: With the big dream of merging storytelling and fashion If Olivia is terrified of pausing fashion for anything, Imasi Daniella from Edo State is fascinated about how fabrics could be manipulated into different shapes and forms on a human silhouette. With a B.Sc. in Communication and Language Arts from the University of Ibadan, Imasi explained that her life revolves around mostly productive leisure, like writing, fashion, designing and watching movies. “I have loved fashion since childhood. Apart from fashion and designing, another cute passion I love is storytelling. Another aspect I have come to combine with fashion is the art of storytelling. Fashion and storytelling are my two favourite things. I have always liked how every creation of any outfit is a story in itself. That drew me to fashion at a young age. I was fascinated about how fabrics could be manipulated into different shapes and forms on a human silhouette. That has always intrigued me and that was all the inspiration I needed to go into fashion. And of course the fact that fashion is one of the most necessary industries in any society. Everybody wears clothes so you will always have a market.” People say that the fashion industry is saturated but Imasi believes that one’s approach will make them stand out. About her dreams, she said: “I am presently in the process of unveiling my fashion house called ‘Gellas Anthologie’.” “Everybody has a story, through their fashion, they can express themselves”. So far, she has sewn for many of her friends and multiple family members who are anxiously waiting for the official unveiling of her brand.

I hope to be a fashion entrepreneur like VansKere – Olaoye Isikalu

Olaoye Isikalu, who hails from Lagos State, is a final year student at Yaba College of Technology where she is studying Fashion. “Fashion sharpens my creative abilities. I noticed that I am good at creating things with fabrics. I like to cut pieces and join them together. Anytime I have an idea and I bring it into reality, it makes me extremely happy,” she said. Even though famous fashion designer who studied fashion in Yabatech, Ejiro Amos Tafiri, said in her interview that studying fashion was not a walk in the park in Yabatech, the stress did not stop Olaoye from going a step further to compare offering fashion as a full course and learning from a fashion house. “I just want to compare the difference between a fashion house and the actual studying of fashion in a proper school. Now that I have done the two and I am graduating from the fashion training in Rhoda Michaels’, I have come to understand that in a fashion house institute, you get to learn the craft on a wider scale. Here, when I started seeing the math formulas and calculations, I was caught off guard. At some point I had to ask, I thought we are in a fashion house and not a further mathematics hall. Don’t get me wrong, in Yabatech, they teach you all but at Rhoda Michaels’, the teaching was more detailed,” she said. Olaoye’s dream is to be a fashion entrepreneur. “Hopefully I will establish a high end luxury brand like VansKere. He is the fashion entrepreneur I look up to the most. I have met with him, his brand and personality wowed me. I was so inspired when I met him.”

Read Previous

Local content devt: NCDMB rescues local firms, boosts productivity targets

Read Next

We have great leadership skills, says Abuja’s first female councillorship aspirant

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *