It started on those mornings hurdled in traffic in Yaba on my way to school. Looking at the latest trends on the market stalls in Tejusho. Yes laugh all you want, but my first brush with hipsters and mono strap tops were at Tejusho. I would peer out the car in my blue Queen’s College pinafore and imagine how the cheap fabrics would drape around my body. I can just imagine my mother’s horror if she ever found out about this little detail, for all my clothes were bought from obodo oyinbo… think Gap and Marks and Spencers. Even then I never really cared much for fashion. It was never a big deal to me. Sure it was nice when the girls at school donned the latest colour of bandana or baggy jeans. The truth is it was not my cup of tea.
Even after I moved to Paris to continue with high school, I was always dressed in black. It was sort of my thing. Yes before Jay coined ‘all black everything’ I was rocking it in 2001. It was more comfortable and slimming. I could not understand why the girls at my school would shriek when the latest fashions hit the streets. They would file into the shopping mall and gawk and spend. I mean 350 euros for a pair of jeans?? Or how they would line up during Fashion Week. I mean have you seen those lines? And then it happened, I tagged along with a friend to a show. It was the Autumn/Winter Lanvin Show. Her sister worked as a Press Officer for the amazing fashion house thus we were able to score some tickets. My life after that has never been the same, fashion wise. That particular show had a lot of black and nudes, with chiffon draping around the long modulesque bodies. A lot of shredded wool to make amazing wonderful shapes. Even among the fashion editors (I got a glimpse of Miss Wintor herself) buyers, and fashion heavy players, I felt at home and knew this was what I would love to do for the rest of my life.
It took two law degrees, one secret London based fashion consultancy company (which has since been dissolved) to tell my parents that I did not want to be a high flying lawyer. While my dad was amazing and supportive, my mum’s exact words were ‘We wasted money on a British education just so you can sew?’ And so her angst went on but what could she do?
I started by throwing mini fashion shows for friends around London, and then occasionally styling, it was something that came so naturally to me, but I was hungry to learn the ins and out of the business. It was back to school for me. I enrolled in a school in Vancouver, Canada for a degree in Fashion Business and Merchandising. Mind you, I was going there armed with a Masters in Law, so this would be a walk in the park. Boy was I wrong. It was the most grueling experience I have ever had. While at school I worked as a PR officer for Gap Inc. A job I was more than happy with until my journey took a slightly different turn, I got offered a job with one of the most amazing fashion houses in the world. Louis Vuitton!
My experience with Monseiur Vuitton has been the most amazing, stressful, crazy, beautiful, tear jerked, enlightening, politking, wonderful CRAZY journey so far. Its taught me that fashion is not for everyone. While you enjoy shopping, it doesn’t mean you can become a fashion designer. While you can put an outfit together, it doesn’t make you a stylist or because you are skinny and beautiful in the tradition sense, doesn’t mean you can become a model. There have been times when I’ve wanted to pack it all up and call it quits but the fact is having my mum tell me she ‘told me so’ is too much a price to pay. In between the craziness of this so called billion dollar industry, there is a beauty and dedication that only those in the industry can understand. Think models living on cucumber to have the perfect body or editors that survive on little or no sleep to provide you with your monthly glossy magazine or photographers that wake up before the sun rises so they can get the perfect light. There have been times where I have been at work for two days straight, making sure everything is right, screaming at people for not getting things right or been screamed out for not getting it right myself. I have also realised that being surrounded by beautiful people does not mean they are beautiful on the inside! However being surrounded by beautiful things more than makes up for it!
Ultimately, this is the journey I have chosen to embark on. I have come a long way from the wishful little girl peering out the car on my way to school and the girl in black did not know better when her friends all hightailed themselves to the mall. I might not be where I hope to be, but I’m definitely on my way to the peak of it all. Now this is me, I am fashion and fashion is me. I live through the seasons, and work hard to make the diverse people of the world beautiful. That alone deserves a Nobel prize.