WOMEN’S fashion designer Yemisi Olaiya is preparing to offer the women of Portsmouth her handmade designs as she is revealed as the newest tenant of the Hotwalls Studios in Southsea.
Yemisi will move her women’s fashion brand Semande into the studio space, which will exist as a workshop for Yemisi to create, showcase and sell her designs, host workshops.
She hopes to take on a fashion intern from the university eventually, to give them valuable experience with a fashion brand as well as teach them about starting a business.
She has just launched her spring/summer 2020 collection at an exhibition at the Round Tower this weekend, where she showcased the outfits and held a workshop for visitors to make their own earrings designed by her.
She also sold T-shirts with her designs on.
The collection, entitled ‘like play like play’ takes inspiration from Yemisi’s childhood in 1980s Nigeria.
The name is a broken English expression for ‘just like that’, which describes playfulness, humour, an element of surprise.
It is inspired by Nigerian children’s toys and brings together the elegance of 1980s fashion and her signature traditional western Nigerian silhouettes.
It is part of a collaboration with textile artist Alice Hume, who runs Vanderhume in the Hot Walls Studios.
Alice helped Yemisi with the unique style of weaving designs called macrame, which is the closest thing to the traditional style of clothes-making that Yemisi could access.
The pieces will be available to pre-order on the day and she will donate a percentage of profits to My Badagry My Future - a Nigerian charity that supports vulnerable women and children living in poverty in Yemisi’s hometown of Badagry.
She started in fashion in 2009 when she was pregnant with her first child.
Her husband Femi, who is a photographer, helps her out in her venture, taking all her promotional pictures as well as completing admin work for her.
Two pictures of the designs from her spring/summer 2019 campaign got the seal approval from fashion giant Vogue.