Sholly Jaay

Shola Ajayi’s dual nationality and background (born in the united kingdom with ethnic background from Nigeria) gave her the opportunity to develop her fascination of fusing traditional and contemporary fashion. She draws influences from her background without completely relying on it for direction.

Mother of 3, With a background in Accountancy, Shola decides to pursue her long time ambition of becoming a fashion designer after working at several places, the last being the Revenue and customs where she worked as a Revenue Officer for over five years.

She graduated from Ravensbourne University with a first class BA (Hons) in Fashion womenswear. She was shortlisted for the Ethical award at Graduate Fashion week and emerged as a runner up.

She collaborated with Livia Firth (Eco Age) by supplying the fabric (traditional hand woven fabric) for the Green carpet challenge which she wore to the Toronto film festival red carpet event.

The vision is to continue to look for innovative ways to evolve and merge traditional fabrics by collaborating with marginalised artisans.

Amalgamation Synopsis

Louis Vuitton’s quote ‘every journey begins in Africa” inspired the journey to this collection. Research into contemporary western designers such as Vivien Westwood emphasised her ‘made in Africa’ awareness – this leading into a deeper investigation of giving back to Africa.

Referencing the hand woven traditional fabric ‘Aso Oke’ worn by the southern part of Nigeria played a big part in the realisation of this collection.The inspiration manifested itself in the choice and mix of fabrication used. Traditional hand woven Aso Oke mixed with leather, rubber, plastics (with the use of vacuum forming) and silks.Referencing the famous African headgear, Shola achieved her silhouettes by offering a non-literal interpretation of the organic way in which the headgear is wrapped around the head, resulting in elegant soft and hard drapes, showing skilful appreciation of the female form.

Focusing on this concept, aesthetically challenging designs were created.The merge of these combined themes led to an elegant ready to wear and conceptual eveningwear collection. The range comprises of dresses, tops, cape, Poncho, trousers, jumpsuits and skirts.Accessories also feature the fusion of traditional and contemporary mix of fabrication; recycled Wellington rubber sheets, wood, rubber, leather and Aso Oke are used in the form of elegant clutches and bags.

The collection has been developed using the simple palette based on nudes and neutrals with an injection of bold colours through the accessories.The muse for this collection is a strong independent woman, edgy and confident. She is a woman who knows what she wants and knows how to get it. She is not afraid to make a bold fashion statement with a distinct sense of style.This collection will be the launch of who Shola is as a designer.

Currently looking for stockists for this collection.


The Sacred Engrave – 2011

Ancient Egyptian inspired the journey to this collection. Researching into the history and life of the ancient Egyptian led into deeper research onto hieroglyphs, which means ‘sacred’ and ‘engrave’.Looked for a parallel between the ancient and modern to make research relevant to the here and now.Thus looking at modern sacred architecture, which leads to the ‘Lotus Temple’ in New Delhi, which later played a big part in the realization of this collection.The inspiration manifested itself in the choice and mix of fabrication used.The interpretation of these themes leads to a strong, futuristic, edgy collection featuring harder edges, structured layering, fabric engraving and stripes.The muse for this collection is a strong independent woman, edgy and confident that knows what she wants and knows how to get it.She is not afraid to make bold fashion statement with a distinct sense of style.Collection consists of garments that features hybridised fabric with the combination of luxurious silk grosgrain sewn on a ribbed fabric (used for the underlining of spacesuits which have aerodynamic and astronomic uses) to give a ribbed, ripple, stripy effects.Fabric used consists of Silk velvets, cotton velvets and Lycra velvets, featuring hieroglyphics engraved on them.Printed grosgrain fabric featuring hieroglyphics.This collection is the fusing of Art, history and fashion.This collection is the launch to who I am as a designer and hope to produce a stronger collection next year.