BY KEHINDE OLATUNJI
WHILE some designers entered the fashion trade by accident, same cannot be said of Oriyomi Adebayo of Toorad Couture. In fact, creating attractive designs was what he was born into.
From his early age, Adebayo had started sketching designs on papers, which led to his parents giving him the encouragement he needed to pursue a career in fashion designing.
According to him, “I developed interest in fashion at a very tender age. So, after my O’level, I decided to acquire professional training in the business. With the support of my parents, I was enrolled at the RSK Creation School of Fashion, after which I established Toorad Couture in 2002.”
By the time he was two years in the business, Adebayo’s strong impact had begun to be felt. First was in the Nigeria Television Fashion Show (NTFS), where he actually made a mark. In 2007, he competed in the Nigeria Fashion Designer of the Year contest and emerged the overall winner. After this, he represented the country at African Designer of the Year competition in Cameroon.
In Cameroun, he battled 16 designers from other African countries. Though he didn’t win, Adebayo made strong impression, coming fourth in the process. In 2009, he also won Couture Designer of the Year.
BUT beginning was not rosy for him. “At first, I thought I was not going anywhere with it because of the discouragement I got from friends until I met Modella, who happened to be in the same line (couture). He advised and encouraged me,” he said.
“I believe I’m destined to do this job,” he said. “Within these few years, I’ve been involved in a lot of jobs. I was one of the official designers for LASU Pageants in 2005/07, Face of OAU in 2006/07 and Face of Benin.”
Though not limited to any particular fabric, there’s always a touch of Africa in almost all of Adebayo’s designs.
A specialist in couture, Adebayo said, “I engaged in it because it’s very unique. If you can make couture, you can make any kind of wear.”
He added, “couture is not something you can wear on the street; it is an occasional wear. Models wear them during fashion shows, beauty pageant and carnivals; Calabar people wear it during their Christmas Carnival.”
On inspiration, Adebayo thanks Modella, but noted that inspiration to create fabulous designs comes from God. “He’s my role model because God used him to discover me. I was really discouraged by so many people in the beginning, but he encouraged me to maintain my style; he’s the type that loves seeing people around him.”
The designer recalled his experience during his first attempt at staging a fashion show. “The people I invited to see my design didn’t show up because they thought it was just a waste of time. However, people that wanted to know what couture is all about came and they were not disappointed. I thank God that today, people have come to appreciate my work.”
As part of his contribution to the on going campaign against HIV/AIDS, Adebayo recently created some designs, using materials such as scissors, tape rule, CD, plastic tread, basket and palm tree to pass messages across to the general public about the danger of the virus.