It is so much fun interviewing the Creative Director of Moofa Designs, Mrs. Yinka Fashola Arolambo because it is not everyday that you find Nigerian women living out their passions from day one.
In Nigeria, there’s the quintessential career path that is approved by your parents: it to be a doctor, lawyer, accountant or engineer. Of course, things have changed a lot now, but it is so amazing that Mrs Yinka Fashola Arolambo has practised the only thing she has ever loved for 10 years, right from the moment she graduated from university: dress making and fashion design, and that her family members were supportive of her from the get go.
This interview is geared to inspire, motivate and encourage any woman who has a creative passion in her heart but might be reluctant to start. There are so many opportunities in the Nigerian Fashion Industry, with Moofa Designs showcasing its collection in Nigeria and London.
It is a busy day at the Moofa Cubicle at the GTB Fashion Weekend, with clients running in to purchase ready to wear couture pieces, but the diligent Creative Director of Moofa graciously grants this interview where she sheds more light on her passion and that point where she actually wanted to obtain a professional degree, but let her passion give way.
I ask her about her university background, how she discovered her passion for fashion design and her family’s reactions, and she explains,
‘I studied sociology and anthropology. I started fashion design for as long as I can remember, growing up with a lot of women, people dressing up in the house. It was just something that I really liked. I was lucky to come from a family that they were able to help me develop my passion. I’ve been doing this for 10 years.’
I ask her if she has always wanted to be a fashion designer and she said,
‘Yes, For as long as I can remember. Of course when I was growing up, in primary school I wanted to be a lawyer and then I wanted to be a pilot. I wanted to do so many things.’
I comment on the fact that she has outdone herself, consistently showcasing collections at Lagos Fashion Week and other fashion shows in Nigeria and London as well. I ask how she plans to expand into global markets. She replies,
‘Yes I am starting that next year. I actually started 2/3 years ago but with motherhood and family life I had to put it on hold. So next year, it’s something I’m looking forward to. I plan to focus on Europe and America.’
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I ask her where she gets her inspiration from and she muses:
‘ I get a lot of inspiration from fabrics, and most especially, women, my clients. The diversity of them and the way they translate from corporate wear to party or dinner wear. ‘
I ask her how she came up with her name MOOFA and she says,
‘My initials Mopileola Olaiyinka Olaitan Fashola’
I ask her what is the most memorable fashion piece she has ever created. She says,
‘In a collection, you would have many favourite pieces, but I really love the damask patchwork, which I started 9 years ago. ‘
I asked her about the challenges in running a fashion business,
‘I would say man power and electricity. The people I have sometimes they don’t really stay and people come to poach them. They go then they come back’
I ask her where she sees Moofa in 10 years, She says,
I ask the brains behind Moofa her to give advice to up and coming designers and she has this to say’
‘You have to be persistent and original, as well as patient. You also have to know what you want’
I ask her how she unwinds, given that fashion design is a lot of hard work, She said
‘ I have plenty children, so I play with my children. I go to parties, owambe. You play away your stress’
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