Designing woman taking Ireland and UK fashion world by storm
2018-03-01 17:04:00 -

From Nigeria to Ireland and now the UK, Feyisola Adeyemi, has been inspired to take the fashion world by storm - but family is even more important, she tells Chinedu Onyejelem.


‘I am Feyisola Adeyemi – originally from Nigeria, a child of God, a happily married mother of three, and a fashion entrepreneur.”


That is how Adeyemi, founder and creative director of the Luxury By Feyi fashion brand and the Simply Glamorous Fashion website, prefers to describe herself.


Since relocating recently from Ireland to the UK in pursuit of greater opportunities, Adeyemi told Metro Éireann that she has been working hard to make her mark in the British fashion industry, an experience she enjoys. 


“My main reason for taking up fashion design as a profession is my love for creativity, craftsmanship, making every woman look beautiful and confident in her own unique body and also my passion for insatiable quest for excellence in fashion,” she says, adding that she takes her inspiration from “nature - just from things around me that I can see, feel, touch and even smell.”


But what exactly does she do as a fashion designer, and who influenced her? 


“I sketch and design my works all by myself,” she explains. “I am influenced by a number of great designers in the industry for the uniqueness they bring to the industry. They are too numerous, for different reasons, for me to start mentioning names.”


In her quest to create unique work, Adeyemi says she frequently uses sheer fabric, which she combines with her own patterns and diverse accessories.


So far, Adeyemi said she is counting her blessings in what she calls “this exciting industry”. She feels strongly that her designs “are hanging confidently in a number of celebrity wardrobes across the globe.” Her products have also featured in several top fashion magazines as well as on some of the world’s most watched catwalks, she says. “I won’t say a particular set of people are my biggest customers. Luxury By Feyi designs serves people across the board; nationality and budget.”


On her website, Adeyemi says her designs are for the ‘cosmopolitan high net worth sophisticated woman’, but that’s an aspiration as much as a target market: “We cater for all budget types, low and middle class inclusive.”


Her most expensive piece so far as the Bella by LBF, a floor-length gown in sheer suede, leather and lace, with long sleeves, crystal and pearl details – and a price tag of more than €9,000. At the other end of the scale is a €570 dress custom-made “for one of our loyal clients”.

‘Every society is unique’

Adeyemi’s recent success may be linked to her decision to move across the Irish Sea, but she is quick to point out that she “had a fun-filled, exciting and positive time of 12 years in Ireland before relocating to the UK.” 


Even so, she represents a new wave of immigrants who, once they’ve become naturalised Irish citizens, have moved on to Britain and elsewhere. What does she think is the cause of the exodus? 


“Well, I wouldn’t know if your assertion is factually correct,” she says. “If it is, I want to believe they will have personal reasons for doing so. For me, I have a personal reason for doing so, I would not want to speculate for others.”


Comparing her line of work between the countries in which she has lived so far – Nigeria, Ireland and UK – Adeyemi believes it is the distinctiveness of each country that can distinguish it in the industry, but there would always be new developments. 


“Every society is unique – [it’s the] same with their fashion taste and industry,” she says. “I have had the privilege of living and working in a number of countries across the globe and I can tell you, in all these places, the people, especially women, love beautiful things, most especially, clothes and accessories. Beauty, especially fashion is universal. For that reason I would say the industry, from Africa to Europe, still has a lot of rooms for improvement.”


Back to her experiences in Ireland, Adeyemi says living here allowed her to do one particular thing that she always wanted. 


“It was in Ireland that I experienced the most beautiful gift and experience every woman would crave for, motherhood! Everything about Ireland was positive … I can’t recollect any negative experience. If there was any at all, I must have put the unfortunate experience behind me and moved on.”


When asked to compare her experiences relating to people in Ireland and the UK, she says simply, “people are unique and at the same time also the same everywhere all over the world,” but stresses that people receive others in the same way they present themselves.

‘Ireland gave me opportunity’

Integration remains as important to Adeyemi now in the UK as much as it did during her years in Ireland.


“To make the most of any society you find yourself, you have to integrate,” she says. “That’s when you are able to realise your potentials to the fullest. How would your host community appreciate you and your talent, if you are not in the midst of them showcasing your God-given talent?”


Perhaps that explains why she has not experienced any racism, whether during her 12 years in Ireland or more recently in Britain, as far as she can tell. 


“Everywhere I go, they welcome me as they would any other national. I guess that might be a special grace from God, so I bless His holy name one more time as I do all the time.”


Looking back, does Adeyemi think Ireland and Irish people could have supported her better to remain here, personally and professionally? “Nah, I wouldn’t think so,” she says. “Ireland gave me every opportunity to excel. Remember, I was a radio broadcaster in Ireland at some stage. I want to believe, with all sense of modesty, that I was one of the pioneer migrants in Ireland during my time in the Dublin. Ireland was and remains a home to me. That’s why I keep visiting at an opportune time.”


As the country prepares for the festivities of St Patrick’s Day, Adeyemi says that celebration remains a unique experience from her years in the Republic. “It is a lesson for all people to never forget about their roots.”


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