I have experienced an overwhelm mentally ,emotionally and physically in the past two weeks..just really feeling the need to do more,be more and think deeper to birth bigger goals and dreams.
With this pressure came the feeling of frustration and a near passive state as to whether I can even achieve these “glorious “feats.
Through these feelings,I kept asking God to help me and strengthen my hands to do the work He ordained me to-yes I see my job as ordained by Him..
Few people know exactly what I do asides making clothes for my clothing line VATHISWA.I train people in Pattern making and sewing,I absolutely find joy in passing on knowledge and the right set of skills to others and equally seeing them thrive and excel within the Nigerian Fashion industry.
How did I get to this?I never imagined I’d be a trainer or educator let alone in the Fashion Industry,however my love for all things pretty and creative led me into getting a Diploma in Fashion Design at the Bloemfontein Fashion Academy,Free state ,South Africa.It lasted for two years (2009-2010)within which I had picked up the flair for tutoring newer students whilst being one myself.
On returning to Nigeria in 2013,I had the lofty dream of setting up my clothing line then to be called “VATHISWA by Hester” but Alas!the stars were not aligned yet.
So I sought to be employed and paid-Me,who considered myself to be highly skilled enough to be a hot cake ,seeking high end job opportunities within the industry to either be a Pattern maker or a Creative lead for any established brand here in Nigeria…this search ended when all I got was a paid internship with a well known Fashion training institute -OSC ,to be a pattern maker for the Mass production unit and a pattern drafting instructor for the beginners at the school.
This I did steadfastly for three months and it opened my eyes to see that I indeed loved the training and production part to the Fashion business.
After this stint,I assumed I was ready to start my business and run it smoothly until I had few hitches down the line in my “made to fit” line.Another decision was made to seek paid employment and as the Universe would smile on me,I got a good one with Mai Atafo ,it was a dream come true-now I would be contributing greatly to the success of a brand as big as Mai Atafo!?Being the Head of Womenswear and a production manager came with a lot of challenges,inspirations and frustrations but I threw myself into it totally,working hard to do my bit to ensure a smooth run of the business.I was pushed beyond certain limits I had built for myself before then…I grew bold and confident in my abilities and skills gotten over years,it was a great time!
Until,it finally dawned on me that I wanted to do more with others-to impart knowledge and to also show what can be done within the garment manufacturing sector of the industry.
Now,I teach young to middle aged women at a local fashion school in Ojodu Berger area ,I also do some consulting work at the HCDC center,Apapa,a government Initiative aimed at building human capital for the Garment manufacturing sector and also run VATHISWA by Keji, a ready to wear line that makes affordable and functional clothing for women.
In all of these,I have found a voice to express my deepest desires of seeing others empowered and building a more sustainable Fashion Industry where skilled artisans thrive and our economy is grown with less imports and more exports.
So,in the last two weeks ,i have questioned my motive,these dreams of mine and I am gently nudged by Him,to whom I have cried out earnestly ,to do!To do the little I can muster daily,day after day,week after week,month after month and year after year.For indeed,little drops of water make a mighty ocean!
Below,I share a few of my student’s work from my #teacherChikeSeries (inside joke with my friends of me being a teacher)