Today we’d like to introduce you to Yele Oladeinde.
Hi Yele, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
It all really started back in Nigeria, when I had a break of about a year between high school and College. I used to go with my friend to her mum’s shop. Her mum was a tailor and she thought me how to use a manual sewing machine and sew straight lines with it. The machines were really tedious to use, it was like learning to ride a bike with a wide pedal, but on one spot, lol. I learned that for a year and made simple outfits from the knowledge I got. I had no idea how to create my own patterns back then, so I used to ask her or her daughter to create the patterns for me, and I would sew it together.
Fast forward three years, I took six weeks of training on how to cut simple tops and skirts, while I was in college. I really took fashion designing seriously when my dad bought me my personal manual sewing machine for my 21st birthday. It was the best gift I got that year. I decided to go on YouTube and learn how to create my own patterns and I made all kinds of outfits for myself. I got a lot of compliments on how good the dresses looked and how I mixed my fabrics together. Then, I started making dresses for my sisters and close friends, and that circle extended to church members, and when I saw the opportunity to make a business out of it, I TOOK IT!
I started calling myself a fashion designer in 2018, that was when I said it out loud ha-ha. My first “studio space” was in my dad’s house, I created my first and second collections from there, and this was in 2018 and 2019 respectively. In 2019, I moved to the United States in May 2019 to get married to the love of my life, Opeyemi Adelusi, and I could not work for a while because I did not have an SSN and a work permit. In the interim, I opened an Etsy shop and listed my products, which collected virtual dust for months lol. I got my first sale in august, 2019 and was stoked. While I was waiting for my work permit, I created a 9-look collection from my husband’s study room, we called it a “Study-io” lol.
In October 2019 the collection was debuted on a runway in Philadelphia. Someone who has been really instrumental in my journey is Uncle JEFF (Jazzy studios). I met him when I was having one of my newbie’s shoot, and he has given me pointers and helped with my photoshoots from then to this day. In June 2020, he told me about a Digital Artistry Program (DAP), that was run by the Motor House, and I was selected as a participant. For the first time, I was paid to showcase my designs on a runway, and that was a great experience because it made me feel like my designs were seen and appreciated.
Uncle Jeff also helped me get a studio space in the Motor House, Baltimore, where I have created since February 2021 till now. So far, I have created 3 collections and 2 mini collections during my stay in the United States
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
No, lol. It has been really rough. The culture shock for one has made it tough. I make designs from the perspective of where I come from, but they need to strike a balance with where I am right now is tough. Trying to understand the culture of the people I want to cater to, trying to understand what they want or need, has been a struggle.
I get a lot of support from my friends and family but the reality is that they are several miles away. Whether we admit it or not, as business owners the first people to support you are your family members and friends, and sadly, I do not have that cushion here. I am still trying to build my network of friends and family here, and it has not been easy, but I have met some really amazing people I call my sisters, aunty, uncle, and family.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I am known for my elegant feminine afro-contemporary designs.
I draw a lot of my inspiration from traditional Yoruba fashion combined with the versatility of Western and European designs. This unique blend of multicultural styling, I believe, allows me to stretch the boundaries of both worlds, giving me the opportunity to creatively explore a more diverse cultural scope in style and fashion.
I have strived tirelessly to carve a niche for my brand through my afro-contemporary mode of styling. I continuously mastering the art of combining native African fabrics with everyday clothing materials like denim, soft cotton, satin, and sequin, vinyl, leather amongst others, to produce signature dresses present in my collections.
I am most proud of my feature in the led Baltimore billboard, been a Motorhouse resident artist, my Fashion magazine, and my very recent showcase in an NYFW runway show.
What has been the most important lesson you’ve learned along your journey?
I have learned that running a business is HARD! LOL seriously, I have learned that consistency is key to success, I have learned to always be prepared because opportunities come from places you do not expect. I have learned to listen to people because in their words you find solutions to some problems your business can solve. I have learned that sometimes you have to rely on other people, no matter how strong you think you are. There are so many other lessons, but I would stop here.
- “Adire is Queen” Digital Magazine goes for $2.99
- The ‘ Aduke” Royal Dress goes for $450
- “Adun Dress” $250
- Custom Dressmaking $300 and above
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: yelestitches.com
- Instagram: intagram.com/yelestitches
- Facebook: facebook.com/yelestitches
- Twitter: twitter.com/yelestitches
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5N9DvG8t_ACNPeUnpM40Kg
- Other: https://www.etsy.com/shop/Yelestitches