Fashion school or roadside tailor? Eeny meeny miney moe
Kofoworola Agboola

By Kofoworola Agboola

Disappointments, rejections, heartbreak… these are common emotions that we all must experience in life. But I argue that there are some that are totally unnecessary and avoidable.

Back when I was still a newbie at sewing, fresh out of fashion school, bursting with the excitement of all the designs I would like to practice and sew, all I wanted to do was design! I knew I had the talent.

My finish was poor, but I thought that didn’t mean one bit, since my designs are fabulous! (right?)

What happened next was a series of events that proved me wrong.

I had had the opportunity of participating in a fashion show which would have given my brand the opportunity to be known internationally, when my designs appeared, on the runway, people were awe-struck by my designs! It was a great feeling!

Magazines clamoured for interviews, boutiques in Lekki wanted to sell my dresses, Spice TV said they wanted to use the designs for ‘Lekki wives’- it was wonderful! I was going to be famous! Designer!

I took up on all the offers, one of the boutiques wanted me to make some samples, and after making them, I gave it to them and I was given the shocker of my life.

They rejected all the clothes – my finishing was too poor; “nobody would buy a dress that the finishing is poor,”  Susan said.

You guessed it – I was devastated; I lost my self-confidence, for weeks, I didn’t go near the sewing machine.

Then something happened that even made it worse

As they say, “Life lessons will be repeated until they are thoroughly learned.”

I thought I had learned my lesson, but they hadn’t driven home.

I got another opportunity to showcase my designs, this time on a bigger platform; a wider audience, complete with judges and spectators

The setup was competition-like and as contestants, we were asked to come up with several pieces to showcase at a later date, we were given fabric, to play with and a winner would be chosen at the end of the day.

We had three months to come up with the most fabulous pieces and I was so sure I was going to win.

And then the D-day came.

But before I talk about the D-day..

Let me talk about what happened a day before the D-day

The plan was for all the participants to stand with one model in the best design we had. Then the rest of the clothes was on a rack behind us

The atmosphere was charged with tension. There was also a crowd, friends and families of participants, other people who have come to watch.

It is better imagined, all the other designers with their best dress. Then the crowd, I have spied some that are finer than mine of course, but I was confident in my design skills jor – No shaking.

In fact, the model wearing my dress was already like: “I am definitely ordering this dress after the show.”

The judges started from the extreme end, checking the clothes, making points in a notebook

My heartbeat was banging.

Two more designers before it was my turn! I was shaking with excitement and -chargin! What if! What if?!?

And then finally… I was next…

Judge 1:  Your name please?

Me: My name is (you sha know my name)

Judge 1&2: Inspecting the dresses…

Judge 1: The tail of your flared dress is frumpy- you didn’t press it?

Me: Stammering a response…

Judge 2: Yes, I have inspected all the dresses, it seems all you did was sew tacky dresses and used trims and design to cover your shame… (that drew a little laughter from the crowd).

Judge 1: (scribbling furiously) pointing out more errors…

Judge 1& 2:  Walks away to the next designer, and literally took my remaining self-confidence with them.

Not one praise about my design.

I was deflated, my emotions, raging, disgraced, a laughing stock.

Tail between legs, the rest of the events were a blur, I didn’t care anymore if I loose or win. I was already disqualified…

And then the lesson finally hit home and very hard this time.

And it lead me to two powerful resolutions: To thoroughly improve my finish… And help others improve theirs…

And I took all my pains, sweat, love, hurt and used it to improve my own finishing…and years later, my students didn’t quite get why I was so hard on them, forcing them…grilling them…

I shared this story for you, you who, in some way relates with the story I just shared.

You, who is currently loosing clients.
You, who is currently missing out on opportunities.
You, who is currently betraying your own self-confidence, and you who wants to avoid unnecessary painful experiences

Or you who knows someone who is currently going through this.

I am you all over again, only a wiser version… and you are not alone.

I wrote an ebook just for you, A book that will cure the weaknesses I once had, but you still nuture.

A book that will help you close all the severe gaps in your sewing knowledge, improve your finish, boost your confidence, and get you excited about designing again, but this time, while mastering your basic sewing techniques…

And you want to know the best part?

It’s totally free – click the link below to download yours.

Kofoworola Agboola is a consultant and fashion coach.

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