This year’s edition of Vlisco Fashion Fund competition has produced a winner. He is Omotayo Paramole, a University of Lagos’ textile major whose label, Tesmi is a collection of eccentric garments and designs.
Paramole beat two other contestants, Karen Ayuba and Precious Odiase to clinch the grand prize of 5,000 Euros, plus a two-week masterclass at Meester Coupeur, a renowned tailoring academy in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Omotayo Paramole’s collection and creative content, which revolves around a historical and traditional story, had struck the jury as “interesting, captivating, engaging as well as original and beautiful”. The winner and runners-up were celebrated during a festive awards ceremony held last Friday at VCP Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos during which they each presented their creations.
Established to help emerging African fashion designers get their businesses off the ground, the Vlisco Fashion Fund is a global contest that holds annually in Ghana, Nigeria, DRC Congo, Benin, Togo and Ivory Coast.
This year’s winners were selected by a global jury, consisting of esteemed professionals from the fashion industry including Bubu Ogisi from fashion label, I A M I S I G O; Oliver Asike and Velma Rose from the creative platform, 2Many Siblings; Zara Atelj, Vlisco’s group creative director as well as talented Nigerian designers, Mai Atafo, Amos Tafiri, and award-winning fashion stylist, Styleinfidel.
A visibly excited Paramole said he was inspired to go into fashion by his uncle who was a tailor.
“I used to live with my uncle who was a tailor. He greatly inspired me. I decided to take the interest a step further when I got admission to study at the creative department of University of Lagos and majored in textile. I am quite excited to emerge the winner of this year’s Vlisco Fashion Fund. I promise to utilise the fund wisely,” he said.
According to Yvonne Chioke, Business Strategy Manager, Vlisco Nigeria, the whole idea behind the Vlisco Fashion Fund is to leverage on Vlisco’s network, knowledge and expertise to help young entrepreneurs build their brands. In this way, Vlisco support emerging tailors and fashion designers in launching and strengthening their own fashion labels in West Africa.
On what determines the fund’s winner, Chioke explained: “We look out for creativity and finishing. The question is: how do you work with our fabrics? Our fabrics are bold and so it takes a good designer to make something good out of it. Beside this is the ability of the person to set up a reliable business. So, we look out for people who have good business plans. It is our hope that the winners will get to the next level of their careers.”