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Fashion's Reawakening: How Tega Akinola Is Ushering A Renaissance

(Image courtesy of Tega Akinola)

Tega Akinola is leading Gen Z into a new era in the fashion world. While others floundered during the COVID-19 lockdown, Akinola flourished as she used her newly found free time to create innovative upcycled bags, shoes, and jewelry. Since 2020, she has continued to produce her colorful work to the adoration of Vogue and Up Next Designer. Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with her to learn more about her work.

(Image courtesy of Tega Akinola)

1. How do you incorporate your various interests into your passions?

I believe that incorporating various interests allows a person to add fresh perspectives. I studied sports psychology at university. My background in psychology enables me to understand consumer motives, attitudes, and opinions. I love to listen to music when I work, as it allows me to find inspiration naturally. The key to incorporating interests into passions is to pick hobbies a person likes and build upon that. When a person feels forced into their interests, creativity is stifled.

(Image courtesy of Tega Akinola)

2. Branding is a buzzword used a lot; what is your brand?

I feel like I do not have a traditional fashion brand. Traditional fashion brands create collections every season or periodically release products. However, my brand differs become I do not please products on a set timeline. My brand and work are the same, as it's literary, my brainchild. As I continue to grow my brand, I create new design and production process to introduce more people to my work.

(Image courtesy of Tega Akinola)

3. How do you incorporate your mission and vision into your work?

Growing up, I didn't always have the money to buy new things. Before upcycling was a buzzword, I would look in our wardrobe at what we already had and turn it into something new. My mom is an amazing seamstress, who encouraged my design creativity. My connection with upcycling makes my work a natural fit. I want to incorporate this is what happened to me and are factors in the clothes I buy today. I did not attend fashion or design school. My lack of formal fashion education was not necessarily a hindrance in today's market. Some of my role models, like Virgil Abloh (studied architecture) , Nicole McLaughlin (studied

graphic design) , and Matthew Williams, did not have a fashion background. Social media allows creatives from all backgrounds to put their work out there. One of my goals is to inspire future designers not to be discouraged by being turned away from design school.

(Image courtesy of Tega Akinola)

4. How do Gen Z designers and consumers impact the fashion industry?

I love how Gen Z is aware of the environmental impact of their purchasing designs, as we live with the consequences of climate change policy. The generation whats to know where the money is going. Consequently, brands openly discuss how they are helping the environment. Additionally, Gen Z does not stick by the rules as it uses social media for professional and personal branding. Social media shows Gen Zs how there are multiple ways of achieving one's goals.

(Image courtesy of Tega Akinola)

5. What advice would you give to people wanting to start in the fashion industry?

I have two pieces of advice. First, you have to be yourself; you need to realize that you can create things not seen in the current marketplace. In today's world, being proactive shows passion and drive. If you want to learn from someone, you can DM them or send an email. Don't be afraid to try and talk to people.

(Image courtesy of Tega Akinola)


Me on my first day of graduate school

Rachel Huss

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