Friday, February 18, 2011

I cried and cried...

My friend Nkem put up a post about her wedding dress that I made and it had me in tears... Oh no I wasn't sad. They were happy tears :o) She tells the story of how she burst into tears at her final wedding dress fitting four weeks to the "big day"!
Here's a lil excerpt
Femi had to come up to console me; of course I was inconsolable. There was no plan B. This was a disaster. Our honey-tongued designer once again “assured” us that he could fix it. Femi pleaded with me to give him one more chance and I did. After about 3 more weeks, with one week to go, I go for what should have been a final fitting and the disaster had gotten worse (I did not think it was possible for it to have worsened). Reality sets in: I do not have a dress to wear on my wedding day! And I have 7 days to find one.
My rescuer came in the form of friend who makes clothes for me and had come to know my style and preferences. She runs a label called Gbemisoke (
We explained the situation to her over the phone and thankfully she consented to helping salvage the situation. We engaged her on a Thursday, she proceeded to shop for the fabrics on Friday, spent the whole day on Saturday making the dress and on Sunday I went for my first fitting and the dress fit perfectly. It wasn’t by any means what I had previously envisioned but at this stage, I couldn’t be choosy
Read the full story on her blog:
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 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


  1. *clapping*...i doff my hat for you sistah!...GOD would continue to create a way for you in the wilderness & let rivers of water to flow in the desert for you in JESUS name..amin.

  2. oh dear...i am so proud of you!!!!
    just when i tot id meat u when i come to nig,....u moved!!!

  3. Now I'm shedding tears of joy:
    Looking back @ those days of humble beginnings. This story reminded me of d green french lace u made for Kofo & I in 2005, January, I only sent you d headtie & told u 2 get any fitting material. I didn't see d material until a day before the wedding & it was absolutely gorgeous.
    Gbemisoke, may ur dreams come true much beyond expectation.
    Keep d flag flying

  4. I am so glad you are in H-town now. Cant wait for you to make me look good in dresses!!!!

  5. You know what I like about you Gbemi?....

    Your refreshing enthusiasm for life and new experiences.

    Its just sooooo easy to become cynical and jaded about life - and that's what happens to most adults.

    Ovbiously, you are niether cynical nor jaded

    Please dont change

  6. @ NG
    AMEN!! Thanks a lot

    @LUSHlooks awww.. I should be in London this summer, so I'm sure we can hook up

    Yes oh! It was so much fun talking to you yesterday. Thanks for sharing so much wisdom. See you soon :o)

  7. @Chic Therapy
    Thanks babe

    Thanks. Perhaps I'm neither cynical or jaded cos I'm still a lil girl living in a thirty something year old body *just kidding* ;o)

    Thanks babe

  8. pls what is the best way to reach u ? i like the patchwork skirt from a few posts back and would like you to sew one for me. Can I send you an email ?
    Thanks Joy

    I'll be glad to hook you up.

  10. I am soooo happy for you. Hopefully and with God on your side, you'll be a household name....Can I get a louder amen?

  11. You are so gifted and talented. What I like more is the way you take other people's work personally. What you did for Nkem is wonderful.

    I am so happy for how far you have come on your journey. You get better with time. Wishing you all the best.

  12. @ HD
    AMEN!! From your mouth straight to God's ears my sister! Thank you so much. I'm encouraged by your show of love xoxo

    @ Rita
    You have no idea how uplifting your kind words are. Thank you. Whenever a client chooses gbemisoke, not only am I grateful,(cos I know there are loads of talented people who might even charge less than I do), I also want to exceed their expectations and deliver value. It's hard not to take it personally. Very hard.

  13. Lovely lovely article. well done!

  14. Reading this is like reading stories 4rm Genevieve or Todays Woman & hoping someday 2 meet the personality who is an inspiration 2 many; but hey! She's Gbemisola aka Gbemisoke. A girl who has evolved to being a woman of virtue. Du courage! Aye ti esin o je, iru idi lo ma je......Beracah smiles.

  15. I adore creative and artistic people and love every one of your pieces featured so far.

    Your journey is so inspirational, please keep on telling it.

    I also appreciate your friendship with the bride and how you helped make her day memorable.

    Kudos dear!

    Latest blog



  16. Lovely wedding dress. Pls email me ur rates at Tnx

  17. Awww... Good, good, positive story. I love your attitude. May God take you from strength to strength.

  18. Sorry with the multiple comments o! Must have hit the "Publish Comment" key too many times! My toddler kept pulling at my hands but I had to get my comment in!

  19. Been going thru your pictures, really nice stuff you've got. I hope your brand becomes even more recognised

    Follow me:

  20. Your story is always an encouragement to others coming after. Keep sharing please and keep up the good work...that suddenly cometh soon, when those who didn't know of your labours will see even the result and the reward. God bless

  21. Gbemisoke, this post is really a therapy for many, an eye opener and a believe in one's ability and dream, you have just nailed it. Not to give up on our dreams, no matter what it takes, and you have proved this in your journey so far...I am really proud of you. I wish many people could read this and relate with it. I believe by God's Grace all your dreams shall be fulfiled just ride on doing your thing, and God will continue to bless the work of your hands....

  22. I'm glad I saw this post after days of missing my blog rounds. This is so encouraging. The lady is my namesake and I'm so happy for you. Your world class is just a step away!

  23. MAdam, where are you na?!! Abi you are already on NY runway?

  24. Love your designs. Its interesting that you learnt how to sew all by urself. Pure talent i must say. I know how stressful sewing can me sometimes because i grew up having a sewing machine around me always (my mum's) and she spent hours on it creating just one dress. Kudos to you and wish u all the best.

  25. So so proud of u Sis

    'Olu' :-)

  26. Thanks to everyone for your kind comments. Very much appreciated xxx

  27. Atta girl! Improvements all the way. We are learning everyday- that's the way to live! Good luck on your journey!


  28. Thanks babe. Off to stalk your blog now :o)

  29. First of all, Congrats (I know it was a while ago, but I still feel the need to congratulate you).

    I had no idea (looking through your designs) that you had no formal training design-wise...I could never have guessed. You have really inspired me to fine-tune my own craft (even though it isn't fashion-related at all)...I hope your skill keeps getting even better ... the sky is just the starting point o!

  30. Your designs are exquisite! I just need to know, do u av an outlet in Lagos?

  31. @ The Relentless Builder
    Thanks! I am inspired by your encouraging words.

    I closed my Lagos office cos I couldn't guarantee the quality of work delivered to my clients in my absence. Tough decision, but my clients deserve my best, which I didn't think I could give, living halfway around the world.

  32. Do you have a fashion school in Nigeria ?

    1. No I don't.
      I couldn't guarantee that the level of quality Gbemisoke was known for would be maintained after I moved to the US, so I shut the business down.

  33. I saw your works on

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