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TEMI OTEDOLA My mum stirs my interest in fashion

TEMI OTEDOLA My mum stirs my interest in fashion
Temi Otedola, the daughter of billionaire African business magnate, Femi Otedola, is setting out to make positive change in the lives of British youngsters seeking a foothold on the notoriously tricky international fashion industry. The 19-year-old who was featured in British Vogue magazine and interviewed by CNN tells Adetutu Audu it has been a whirlwind of adventure.

TEMI Otedola, founder of emerging online fashion blog, JTOFashion.com, held the much talked about Afternoon Tea in Ankara (ATIA) on 27th February.
The event which took place at the prestigious Café Royal on Regent Street was targeted at bringing together young people working to gain entry level roles in fashion. And also provide them with guidance on breaking into the industry through a series of workshops, networking exercises and talks from various prominent figures currently active within the industry.
Speakers and high-profile guests at the fashion gathering included Reni Folawiyo, founder of Lagos-based luxury lifestyle store, ‘ALARA’. Others are head of Lagos Fashion and Design Week, Omoyemi Akerele, Vanessa Kingori, publisher of British GQ, and Chief Executive of the British Fashion Council, Caroline Rush.
 The convener’s (Temi Otedola’s) motivation is her keenness to fuse two cultures that stand within equal proximity to her heart  Nigerian and British.
According to her, Afternoon Tea is often thought of as a pinnacle within British culture, and ankara is perhaps the most symbolic element of West African fashion.
‘It is the objective of this event to do just that – by providing them with a forum through which to meet one another and to hear some words of wisdom from key players in the process,’ she noted.
The 19-year-old history student of University College London acted as an official ambassador at 2015 Lagos Fashion Week and was featured in January edition’s of British Vogue magazine. She is passionate in her work to empower youngsters, in particular those from minority backgrounds, within the British fashion industry. ‘ATIA is a new initiative I formed to promote much-needed backing and support to ethnic diversities aspiring to break into the fashion industry both in the UK and Nigeria. It will act as a medium for young people to network, discuss, and hear speeches from top influencers in the fashion industry.’
A report conducted by UK Fashion Hotspot into International Fashion Month 2015 showed that on average, 84 percent of the models featured on the catwalks of world were white. Unfortunately, inequality cuts to the very core of the industry and 19-year-old Temi has charged herself with finding out why.
So with JTO blog gaining huge acceptance, how does she feel about this? The fashion entrepreneur described the JTO Fashion.com journey as a crazy one. ‘Considering the fact that my blog was launched just over a year ago, I have been overwhelmed by the reception. I never thought that I would be featured in publications such as Vogue and the Evening Standard this quickly. It has been a whirlwind adventure but I’m just excited to see where it takes me next,’ she disclosed.
Currently studying history of art the University College London, when did she realise she wanted to toe the path of fashion? Temi was quick to say that art and fashion are the two loves of her life. ‘I thought it would be better for me to pursue a degree in art and start my fashion journey as a side hustle. It’s always something I’ve wanted to do and I thought blogging was a perfect start for me, but I see working in the art world as a long-term goal,’ she pointed out.
So what is the inspiration behind the blog? ‘My blog is inspired by everything around me. I like to style looks that are wearable but have a certain ‘edge’. So I’ll pair a dress with military boots or a suit with sky-high stilettos. I’m always pushing what I can get away with,’ Otedola noted.
She must have been influenced by some people while growing up. The fashion blogger revealed that her number one fashion and life influence has definitely been her mother. ‘She always amazes me with her impeccable style and alongside my dad encouraged me to breed an entrepreneurial spirit. Other influences growing up included Oprah Winfrey, Grace Coddington, and Anna Wintour.’
Despite the cheering news about her blog, what were her initial challenges and how was she able to surmount them?
‘I think it can be challenging for any blogger when they’re first starting out as it can be sometimes seen as frivolous. Although I believe bloggers to be content creative in a similar light as fashion magazines that create editorials, sometimes it can be passed off as a materialistic hobby. I think I have proven that my blog goes beyond just nice pictures and looks deeper at the fashion industry and what makes it tick.’
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