With Yemisi Suleiman
Ayotomi Rotimi a Business Administration graduate from the University of Lagos has emerged winner of the MTN Lagos Fashion & Design Week (MTN LFDW 2011) Awards Screening Road Show.
The MTN LFDW 2011 Awards Screening Road Show which was recently conducted in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt between the 25th of July and the 3rd of August was aimed at meeting and auditioning the best candidates out of the hundreds of young budding fashion designers, models and creative entrepreneurs that applied for the MTN LFDW 2011 Awards.
The Call for Entries went out on the 30th of June 2011 and by the 25th of July when the team of judges set out for Port Harcourt, thousands of entries had been received from hopefuls residing in the Garden City.
In Port Harcourt, the panel of judges, consisting of Omoyemi Akerele – Project Director of LFDW 2011, Wadami Amolegbe (FashionAfrica.com), Ijeoma Aruguba (British Council) and Kester Osahenye (MTN) met and interviewed prospective winners of the Awards.
On the 28th of July 2011, another team of judges moved to the Federal Capital Territory, where they again assessed future heavyweights in the fields of Nigerian fashion and design.
Bisola Edun, one of the judges and a designer, Tae Woman said: “I commend the work of Omoyemi Akerele, MTN and British Council. In 2008, I won the British Council Young Creative Entrepreneur Award, and I can fully attest to the difference it makes in the career of a budding creative to be recognised by such noteworthy organisations. The British Council workshops I attended thereafter played a very significant part in the growth of my ambition”.
Moving to Lagos on the 2nd of August, the final set of auditions was held at the British Council in Ikoyi. On the panel of judges were Folake Folarin Coker (Tiffany Amber), Uche Eze (BellaNaija.com) and Ojoma Ochai (British Council Nigeria).
With a collection titled ‘Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue’, a vintage- and bridalwear inspired collection was expected. However, Jenny le Roux of Habits twisted this perception and what was seen was a fresh, colour-drenched collection of easy, relaxed silhouettes.
The runway saw floral print for 70’s off-the-shoulder, floaty dresses, floor sweeping, bare backed maxi dresses and roomy jumpsuits. The florals and brights faded into crisp white pieces which added an element of freshness to the collection.
After the weeklong deliberation by the judges, semi finalists were short listed from the nationwide screening process and the finalists announced: with Ayotomi Rotimi hitting top list as winner, MTN British Council Young Creative Entrepreneur of the Year.
Ayotomi who began to explore the business of fashion, while at university, selling fitted shirts, scarves and tailored trousers to friends and students to augment her allowance, after graduation worked at Fountain Trust bank where she continued to design and market her fashion pieces as a lucrative hobby.
After three years in the banking industry and with a growing passion for designing she enrolled in a course at the London Centre for Fashion studies and resigned to pursue fashion design full time.
This was almost ten years ago and since then her “lucrative hobby” has grown into a successful fashion label in Nigeria, Xclamations, which focuses on affordable, accessible ready to wear clothes.
Speaking on the project Omoyemi Akerele, Project Director of the MTN Lagos Fashion & Design Week, said after the Lagos auditions: “Lagos has produced by far the most impressive of the candidates we have seen.
Whilst we want to ensure fair representation across the 3 different regions, it is however also very important that this platform remains credible, and produces a deserving winner.”
Omoyemi Akerele continued: “I feel even more strongly now that the Nigerian government needs to provide more support for fashion education and training in Nigeria. We need to ensure that our fashion industry continues to grow and to produce names and brands that can represent Nigeria beyond our shores.”
Other Finalists are:
MTN British Council Young Creative Entrepreneur of the Year Awards: Port – Harcourt Mary Ebubedike. Abuja; Bimpe Ogunmakin Fatima Hamza Lagos Rukky Ladoja Ayotomi Rotimi Temilola Osifade, Amaka Ofili, Tale Kevin Agono, Terence Sambo, Adebayo Oke Lawal, Wonu Odunsi, Anthonia Adefuye,
The 12 MTN British Council Young Designer of the Year finalists; Port – Harcourt, Akpos, Ibitein Thompson, Beatrice Black. Abuja; Binta Shuaibu, Onanma Okeke. Lagos; Mo Alatise , Xenia Ejidike , Bubu Ogisi, Kate Williams, Oroma Cookey-Gam, Bola Yinka Obebe, Ejiro Amos-Tafiri
The 12 MTN Young Model of the Year Finalists; Port Harcourt, Sandra Iwuoha , Abuja; Genevieve Aken, Chika McKay, Lateefat Garuba, Jill Odeh, Amina Jibrin,.Lagos; Oyinkansola Ayodele Temitayo Adaramoye , Monisade Gbobaniyi, Stephanie Okwu, Kemi Awoyemi, Oluwatobi Fadeyibi
The MTN LFDW 2011 Awards, which is co-sponsored by the British Council, is an initiative that aims to promote the development and growth of creatives in the industry by nurturing, fine tuning and harnessing their skills as well as providing them with a solid platform for achieving their goals.