being a creative, there are so many ways to express yourself and so many ways to show your strengths through art. we are also tested daily to see how well we can use the gifts we hold and how we can challenge ourselves.
in 2014 i was a freshman in college, young and broke. always looking for ways to make money to sustain myself in school while i went to class. mainly because at this time in my life i was solely responsible for myself and taking care of myself. getting a full time job was out of the question because it would have interfered with school. so instead i got a needle and thread, and on this day i found out i could sew clothes for some cash. i remember learning a few techniques of sewing with a needle and thread in primary school when i still lived in lagos. but now it was different, i was in america in college and this was going to be my savior to put some money in my pocket to pay for a few things.
with some change in my pocket i drove out to target, looked around and found some needle and thread. as i was about to leave the store i saw a scarf like fabric and a plain t-shirt, and all of a sudden it clicked. at this time in the year there was a trend going around with fashion, most people wore these extended shirts that had a piece of fabric attached to the bottom of the shirt. so i thought to myself, maybe i could try this, maybe i could make a sample and see how it comes out. it was a challenge i had accepted and mostly because this was looking my last option, i had to do everything to make it work.
it had been years since i sewed anything, and the last thing i sewed was a piece of fabric that i was supposed to make into a table cloth. i had a scarf, a t-shirt, needle & thread and scissors. i was nervous, because i had one of everything and if i messed up, that was it. i had just used my last money to buy these things. a risk i took and eventually would be proud of it.
i got back to my dorm room and i started cutting. first i cut the scarf into half, so i could have two pieces for both ends of the shirt, then i cut a little bit from the end of the shirt. i aligned the scarf and the shirt together, said a prayer and i started sewing. it took me about 30 minutes to get the first one on. but it worked. and trust me i was probably the most excited person that day. i took a 5-minute break because at this time my fingers began to hurt, but i continued and eventually got the second piece on. i was done! finally, i was done! i had the biggest smile on my face and i couldn’t wait to try it on.
it wasn’t perfectly sewn, but it looked good. for that whole day i wore it round the school and getting a lot of compliments. the next day i met with a friend and we were discussing how we would like to have multiple streams of income one day. and it came up that i had sewn this shirt with my hands. he was very impressed and asked if i could do it again, and with full confidence, i said “yes!” so we went back out to target to buy a few more shirts and scarfs. and of course, i wore my newly made shirt.
as we got to target there was a guy who walked past me, but came back and said “excuse me, if you don’t mind me asking, where’d you get your shirt?” huh? was my initial reaction, but in my head of course. but i responded with a smile on my face, “i made these, you like it?” he responds, “what?! for real? they are hard. are you selling them?” very soon i said. he asked for my number and Instagram handle, so he could know immediately when i released them. this boosted my confidence level. we got what we needed, i went back to my dorm and i kept sewing and selling, over and over again. eventually, i got my sewing machine and started my brand – AZIF.
Watch Wavy the Creator’s video for her single, Body Deep here