Bayo Oke-Lawal, the fashion designer, says he was always castigated because of his clothing brand.
The stylist spoke about his rise to fame in an interview with Chude Jideonwo, the media entrepreneur.
Oke-Lawal said he faced constant attacks for his clothing style, forcing him to “build a wall” around himself.
“I don’t want to be a replica of somebody else. I want to be myself on the job. Every time I was in a room with other men, I was asked why I was different. As a teenager, people said I’m a boy with a colourful disposition,” he said.
“I don’t think I knew the impact of how that was going to go on for 10 or whatever years and how many other people would feel that connection to this little quote.
“When we were growing up, a lot of the things that we would do in terms of just being ourselves, we would get castigated for it. I don’t even realised how hard I worked to be where I am today.
“I didn’t sit down in my house and this brand was gifted to me in a box. I wanted to do something different from what every other man was doing. People told me I would go to hell and that my clothes would never sell.”
Speaking of his childhood, Oke-Lawal recalled how he often grappled with bullying and struggled to fit in.
He said he didn’t feel the impact of his achievements until age 30, something he attributed to his high standards.
“I was styling. I was young, started my business, and was 20. I didn’t go to fashion school,” the stylist narrated.
“I was asked why I was making men not look like men. It was always that. This idea of men being vulnerable was such an issue for people to discuss. I just took it on and decided that, at worst, I had a degree and I’m intelligent.
“I could always leave this if it didn’t succeed. My dad didn’t invest in my business. I wasn’t given 2 million to open my company. I did it by myself. I used to sleep in Tejuosho with the tailors when I bought my first machine.
“I would sleep there just to make sure a jacket was made and get the money to buy something else.
“I’ve found confidence in myself so it has made this dream become more valid. I’m never satisfied and it’s very bad. When I turned 30 was when I started to feel the weight of my accomplishments.”
Oke-Lawal is an influential designer and the founder of Orange Culture, a clothing line with an African touch.
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