Tosin Olaniyi, founder of Kreatif Designs, was one of the designers that will be featured in the fashion presentations at the highly anticipated AfroExposure 2011. Olaniyi launched Kreatif Designs in 2007 and embarked on a mission to change the perception of African-inspired apparel “by westernizing African fabrics in conjunction with materials around the world.”
Olaniyi’s foray into fashion began when she would accompany her trend-savvy mother and aunts to events that required them to be dressed to the nines. With every woman vying to earn the title of best-dressed at these occasions, it was impossible for her not to notice that she was among some serious fashion connoisseurs. These events allowed the women in her community to showcase their personal interpretations of fashion, but Olaniyi was motivated to develop and share her own interpretation of fashion with the rest of the world.
Many young girls dream of one day becoming a renowned fashion designer. Olaniyi, however, decided that dreaming was not enough for her. Instead of dreaming, she wanted to live out her dream. Her interest was more than just a fondness of fashion; it was a creative platform that would allow her to promote her African heritage. “I decided to pursue my dream of becoming one of the artistic designers that promotes fashion inspired by Africa.” This self-taught designer initially began doing fashion illustrations of her ideal garments. She then added sewing to her artistic arsenal so she could breathe life into her designs. Olaniyi also knew that a strong understanding of design fundamentals played vital role in shaping a designer’s career. She set out to acquire the quintessential principles of design and more importantly, tailoring.
Creating collections that include women’s wear, men’s wear, and even children’s wear is no easy feat for this visionary designer. “Men’s clothing is more challenging because of their body structure,” said Olaniyi. It’s hard to imagine that she would find anything challenging when you see the skillful tailoring and bold usage of rich patterns in the garments. She finds inspiration for her lines from the things around her, including people, shapes, arts, and the stunning, one-of-a-kind African fabrics. The dazzling blend of exotic hues and strong geometric patterns found in these traditional fabrics is expertly paired with a wide array of modern silhouettes to create the past-meets-present element in the Kreatif collections. Another source of inspiration is the unique name of the line. “The fashion industry is growing each day, it is very important that as it is changing that we grow and be more innovative and “Kreatif” as our name depicts.”
Turning a life-long dream into reality entails more than a remarkable artistic ability and vivacious appetite to learn more. For Olaniyi, determination was the key to her success. “Fashion designing requires a lot of dedication and hard work,” she said. “It is vital to be focus on what it is that you know what you want to achieve.” If you’re not already in awe of the inspirational journey of this self-driven designer, then you should definitely attend AfroExposure to experience firsthand the “glam and uniqueness” of Kreatif Designs. Olaniyi will continue showcasing her awe-inspiring collections at upcoming fashion shows and events, but for now, she’s cherishing every moment of her success. What does she cherish most about her success story? “I would say making clothes that make people look and feel good. Being able to satisfy people makes me take pride in what I do.”