Who will wear this? That’s what he said to me with a condescending smirk on his face. “Who will wear this?” Four simple words but strung together and coming from him drew out my doubts and insecurities;making me question my WHY. To be fair he meant well, after all he didn’t know my back story. He didn’t know I was 5 months pregnant and had pulled my life-savings to attend a fashion technology course in London, He didn’t know I resigned from a career in banking to become a designer.

I was already intimidated being the oldest and ‘blackest’ in my class, my course mates more intrigued by my marital status than my baby bump. The truth is we both knew he wasn’t really asking a question, he was making a statementt. As my instructor his course was to make me a better illustrator, not to ridicule my point of view or worst still, question my talent. “Where are you from..?” he said protecting his gaze from all the colors on my page and before I could answer he interrupted “….because If you are not designing for London,Newyork,Paris or Italy, then why are you here?”

He returned my sketch to me but not before he quipped “Too much color for this time of the year Tony….” OH NO HE DIDN’T!!!! “WELL Kevin….there is a new fashion capital to add to that list and her name is LAGOS and in my town there is no such thing as too much colour because we got summer all year long baby…….and the name is Tomi……Mrs Rotimi if you are Nasty” SNAP!!!!!!


Wouldn’t it be cool if I really gave that come back? Yeah my real response was a polite “thank you Kevin” followed by a quick waddle to the rest room for a good cry…….?if I could turn back time. Well fast forward 14 years later this is the skirt I sketched. ……..If Kevin could see me now…….yay or nay?

‘Tomi Rotimi

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