From the Gram to the Catwalk

Seems like celebrities will always sell a name ahead of the real people. But then where does this generation of young entrepreneurs stand?

A decade ago, the fashion industry had been and still is, conquered by a roster of well-known and talented brands such as Gucci, Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood etc. Even socialites such as Rob Kardashian, Megan McKenna or even Sophia Richie who have no form of experience at all, have managed to jump straight into their own labels, whatever happened to the saying ‘A dream doesn’t become reality through magic’. Must be nice having the power to be whoever they want to be – a lawyer today and an actress the next. 

Becoming a designer has always been a dream of mine but in order to get where I want to be, I have to put in 101% effort because it’s a tough world. Celebrities get it so easy when others have spent time and effort studying, practicing and experimenting with fashion.

– Alexandra Roberts, a student at the University of Arts

Whilst doing research online it seems that there’s a rise of new designers spiraling from Instagram. The photo-sharing app which was first launched in 2010 can be seen as the modern way to network and give recognition to start up businesses. Many famous models, singers and even designers were discovered on this platform, however, how far can Instagram really take you without an education?

Tumisola Ladega, a young fashion designer and current student at the University of Westminster, had her life pretty much sorted. At the young age of 15, she had already done shows in Europe, America, and Africa, showcasing her extravagant designs from Tumila (her clothing brand). The success of her brand she achieved with the help of Instagram as a creative platform to get her work out there.

We invited the young entrepreneur Tumisola Ladega, who is now in her second year studying Fashion design, for an interview to tell us how she started her own successful label through social media and why she felt the need to go back to University.

At the young age of 15 was inspired you to start your own fashion label?

Initially, I only started doing it for fun and for my own need, like I would go shopping and realised the sizes don’t do my figure any justice as I am a woman with extremely long legs. So from there, I thought I try something one day and design a pair of trousers, surprising they turned out great. My mum had helped with the stitching though, can’t take all the credit, she laughed.

Photo by @tumiila via Instagram


How did ‘Tumila’ get popular within the space of a few months?

‘Till today I don’t even know how to answer the question myself. I would have to say Instagram became a massive platform that contributed to Tumila’s success. People saw my designs and began to post supportive and repost it on Instagram, I really didn’t have to put that much effort in.

Photo by @Tumiila via Instagram

What type of recognition did you achieve from Tumiila?

Wow, where do I begin, well firstly as a young black woman, I was invited to Nigeria to feature my collection at Lagos fashion week. I was so excited,  my first catwalk! in addition, I received a bursary award from Jimmy Choo, one of my greatest achievements yet. It was amazing meeting professor Choo face to face. I was also invited to showcase my work at Africa fashion week in London, I was also invited to various shows in Vancouver and Paris.

How important was Instagram to you in helping you build Tumila?

It was extremely helpful, it got Tumiila where it is today. Also, I feel like in modern-day fashion, having a platform is a necessity. My tutor always talks about how it’s not only down to how God you are as a designer but how you are as a  person, people want to get to know the person behind the brand and social media like Instagram helps in taking you way beyond your reach.


Photos by @Tumilla via Instagram




So after all this, why go back to university?

Photo by Whitney Ajudua

To be honest, even though I knew that if I push myself more I could have made Tumiila a well-known brand but I just felt like there was so much more I need to understand in terms of the technical aspect of fashion. That’s not something you can learn overnight. Even though I self-taught myself most things I feel university has definitely enhanced my knowledge. There’s only so much social media can do.

Lastly, what are your thoughts about celebrities having the upper hand in fashion?

Personally, I feel like celebrities will always have more of an advantage in the fashion world, which is why I wanted to go to university, learning and understanding fashion, in my opinion, gives me the upper hand. They just wave a magic wand and BOOM! they have a perfectly designed dress online, only thing is we all know they didn’t design it.

What do you hope to achieve when you graduate?

I hope to make Tumiila an international label. I want to walk outside and see people wearing something I designed, that would be a dream come true!

To see more of Tumila’s design follow her Instagram page @tumiila and go visit her website


Words: Whitney Ajudua | Subbing: Miriam Cocuzza

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