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I hade made the gold raw silk dress for their registry wedding a few weeks earlier.
Here's my fav pic from their wedding. That's her holding my son, Nathan (she calls him Prince Edward) He was about 5 months old and he got enough kisses that day to last him a lifetime :o)
When I got the call from Femi about making the dress, I wasn't sure I could pull it off. I knew, however, that they really needed me, so I dropped everything I was working on and went fabric shopping the very next day. I drafted the pattern and cut the dress immediately and started sewing on Saturday morning. She called me from the airport as soon as she got into Lagos on Sunday to ask how it was going and she couldn't believe it when I said she could come for her first fitting. I was positively thrilled that the dress fit :o).. She was soooo happy, and that for me was enough to make up for all the neck-breaking work.
I met Nkem in 06 through Femi and I've made many dresses for her some of which I already shared here and here. She loved my work and encouraged me a great deal, introducing me to many of her friends who have become loyal clients and dear friends. You remember Lebs from this post? I met her through Nkem, as well as Atinuke of Zuri Perle and many others.
As you've probably read from previous posts, I have no formal training in sewing or designing. All I've got is an innate God given gift that I have worked my behind off to turn into a skill. All I know, I have learnt on the job. The encouragement from friends like Nkem who could have discouraged me cos I was less than perfect have played a HUGE role in making me into the sought after clothier that I am today. When I read the hateful and spiteful comments people sometimes leave on blogs about designers work, I cringe and thank God for a support system made up of my family and friends who helped me grow without killing my dream. While I do not expect everyone to like a designers work, there is a HUGE difference between constructive criticism, which points out things that are less than perfect and offers pointers to helping others become better, and vitriol laced attacks that cut people down.... I can imagine how the designers must feel, cos I know firsthand how much work, physical and emotional, goes into creating clothes, especially in Nigeria where it is such a huge challenge to run a business....
I've gone from making dresses like these for Nkem and her friends back in 06/07
To making better ones for her even after her wedding dress
Femi took this pic of me grinning from ear to ear at City People magazine's fashion show competition when they came to support me. See my wiiiide grin? I couldn't believe it when I was called out as 2nd runner up!! You see, I didn't know until that day that it was a competition. I took part just for fun, plus participation was free and all I had to do was bring the clothes. You can view that collection over at www.gbemisoke.com. It was my first fashion show and there were so many talented designers that had been doing their thing loooooong before I started. I realized that day that there was more to this "hobby" of mine. I met Frank Osodi (He designed Agbani Darego's Miss World dress) that day and that led to an internship with him that has moved me closer to achieving my dream.
I thank God for blessing me with dear friends, too numerous to mention who believed in me when all I had was a dream that one day I would become a "world class couturier", a dream that has taken me on an exciting journey that started from delivering clothes to clients on okada until I could afford a beat up nissan sunny, to having a film crew fly from South Africa to feature me in SABC's documentary Promise Africa and fulfilling my elusive dream of taking courses at the acclaimed London College of Fashion last summer.
I haven't reached my "world class couturier" goal yet, but guess what? I'm closer to it now than I was and I'm going to keep giving my best.
Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential. ~ Winston Churchill
Thanks for coming by again and again.
May your dreams com true xoxoxo