• Gillian Simmons

Local Fashion Designer Fulfills Her Dreams (Hampshire Life)

Fashion seasons come and go, but it is not very often you find a designer who has been inspired by their origins for their collection. Yemisi Olaiya is the founder of Semande, a Portsmouth based women’s wear fashion brand with its roots in African culture and heritage.

Yemisi studied at Portsmouth University with the aim of becoming a pharmacologist but after graduating in 2009 after becoming pregnant with her daughter, her pregnancy spurred her to embrace the art of creating and telling stories with stitches and fabrics. Her love for fashion made her pursue a career as a designer, which earned her a BTEC Diploma, with triple distinction, from Highbury College, Portsmouth.

Yemisi said “Each collection is inspired by totally different things, my last was the nostalgia of Nigerian children, their toys and their pure wonder of everyday items. I love what I do as I am naturally a creative person and I enjoy using vibrant colours, and will travel to London and sometimes abroad to source my fabrics. All of my collections are ethically produced to reduce waste.

I am very excited about the future and since completing the Abri Create Course I have a better understanding of the complexities of running your own business. I want to continue designing and one day I want to have my own unit where I can start a cottage industry of fashion designers helping other struggling designers overcome some of the challenges I faced when I started.”

When you visit Semande website it explains the story behind each collection, in 2019 the collection called Osin which means water. The fabric and the designs mirror this, with loose fitting and flowing fabrics.

If you are interested in Yemisi’s designs please visit her website, she is always moving forward and being inspired by so many different things.

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