295 Views

How I Started The Plus-size Movement In Nigeria – Temi Aboderin

Before there was much attention on plus-size fashion in Nigeria, Temi Aboderin had been pushing for recognition and a space for curvy women.

Having struggled to find fitting and appealing outfits as a teenager, Aboderin was determined to, someday, create a platform for women like her.

Due to the fashion dearth for plus-size women in Nigeria, Aboderin launched JP Kingdom in 2012, offering styling service, image consulting, and training of plus-size models.

She would later establish a fashion line called JP Kouture, and much recently, in 2017, she launched the Plus-size Fashion Week Africa.

In this interview with TheCable Lifestyle, Aboderin talks about the inspiration for her work, challenges and a fashion line which she describes as a hobby.

How was it starting a movement for plus-size women in Nigeria?

When I started in 2012, there was almost nothing about plus-size. We kept going, even when we got laughed at. At shows, you’ll hear people saying, ‘what are these people going to do?’, ‘they’re going to fall’. So at first when we started there was the hostility because people will think ‘oh, you’re promoting obesity’. That’s the primary thing you will always hear. Or ‘can these fat girls walk?’ or ‘will the runway break?’ Over the years it has improved because with our persistence in doing plus-size, suddenly around 2015, everybody and their grandmother started doing plus-size. By 2016, it was everywhere and then other people decided that’s what they wanted to do and they now want to say they are the ones that had started it, which is not the case.

What motivated you to get on this path?

I’ve always grown up being plus-size. And my father James Olubunmi Aboderin of Punch used to call us princess. So that was what gave birth to my initial brand, James Princess Kingdom. Prior to that, my mum has also been quite fashionable so I’ve always had that stylish feel. Obviously, growing older and becoming a mum, I haven’t really kept up with the way I used to be excessive with fashion. But I’ve always had that love for fashion. It was one of my friends in England that told me, back when we were still there, that ‘you need to show people that they can be stylish and plus-size’. That was what gave birth to the JP Kingdom. I was still very much UK-based then. So 2012 was when we did a physical launch over here. The truth is when we started, nothing like that was around. When I was in secondary school in Nigeria, I remember that I could never buy anything from here. I would have to find something from abroad and even then, it was still limited. It really isn’t that case now. Now it’s everywhere. Almost every high street store abroad has a plus-size section now.

Your designs are flamboyant and shiny. Why is that so?

I like things being shiny. I think I mentioned before that this is like my hobby. I’m not actually looking at what is in demand. When it comes to JP Kouture, for me it’s living vicariously through fashion. It’s just me doing what I like. I can turn around and keep doing ankara which I tried to do with that but as you can see I still threw shiny stuff on it. I’ve been told that I need to think like other people but like I said, it’s a hobby. If I was thinking along the lines of it being wearable, then maybe I would do the other stuff that people want to wear. But for me, it’s just having fun.

Why are you just coming out as a plus-size fashion pioneer?

I’m an introvert. I’m not a person that goes out and networks. I’m also very reserved. Permit me to say, in Nigeria, we brag a lot. People brag a lot and even those that don’t have brag. I don’t believe in that. I believe that substance is quiet. I’ve been in England all my life, and having that upbringing is very different to how things are here.

In the UK, nine out of 10 times, your work will speak for itself; end of story. But in Nigeria, one out of 10 times, your work speaks for itself. The rest of it is noise and plagiarism. I believe that what I do speaks for itself but I can see in this environment, it is not enough.

Tell us about Plus-size Fashion Week Africa

There are so many plus-size designers who don’t have a platform of visibility so that is what Plus-size Fashion Week Africa is. Both designers here and even the ones internationally that want to expand their brand can come and showcase. So it is for both international and designers who would not be known if they didn’t have this platform.

ALSO READ  Checkout New Photos Of Former First Lady, Hajia Maryam Abacha

That’s the aim of the platform and it has also inspired a new generation of plus-size designers and another thing I liked about our show is that designers who do normal standard sizes — when they saw Plus-size Fashion Week Africa — were excited and they extended their range to the plus-size market. It is important because it is not just about my brand it is about the plus-size community. It is about everyone and that is why at the beginning of everybody’s runway show, you have a video of the designer talking.

What challenges have you faced in your quest to promote plus-size fashion?

Since 2016, I have felt like I wanted to pack up shop and go because, you know, it was like I wasn’t getting any recognition for what I’ve been doing.

That was when I felt like ‘oh I don’t even live here, this is not my country’. It very bad last year(2017). It was a lot of work to put the show together. It wasn’t smooth sailing. The fact that the event happened and it happened successfully is by God’s grace.

I was confused as to how people were easily manipulated to absorb the negative as opposed to the positive. I also felt like I had wasted my time coming back to Lagos. I think that was the breaking point for me.

Another thing I found out when I came back to Lagos is everybody was saying ‘oh yeah if you’re not on the island then it’s not happening’. That kind of mentality also shocked me a bit. Because as a kid, people lived on mainland, island and it wasn’t a problem.

And then certain people will send spies to come here to try and understand what our training program is like and our to copy our designs. Then I thought to myself that if they keep sending people here, it means there is some value here that even I am not seeing. So I have no other choice but to keep to keep going because there must be something here. Instead of backing away, we’re now standing our ground so I’m practising what I preach.

What impact has the Plus-Size Fashion Week Africa had?

A lot of standard size designers are also opening their doorway into the plus-size market. Another standard size designer who just travelled was saying that someone in the US ordered her piece off the runway at Plus-Size Fashion Week Africa.

So the truth is; it is working. Even if some plus-size people want to be petty and do whatever they are doing, the truth is, it’s going to open the doorway for all the standard size people who want to expand.

Why did you start training plus-size models?

I’ll try and say this with all humility nobody trains plus size models like me. That is a fact. Take it and pay into an account I am the best when it comes to training plus size models because it was something I wanted to do myself and because I’m a perfectionist there’s a way that I have mastered that craft. I don’t shy away from any challenges.

At a recent plus-size fashion show, it was only the models trained by my agency that the crowd clapped for on the runway. Not my show, this is another show. There is a difference in how we train our models and how other people do.

Since your fashion line is a hobby, aren’t you worried about plagiarism?

I trademark everything. I’m British. Everything is trademarked and copyrighted. Only the ones that are popular, not every design. You can tell a design that is popular. A design that gets an interest the most. Then you go ahead and trademark. You can’t do it for every single piece that you have. It will be too expensive.

That is not my primary focus and that is the British person in me talking. It is for me to have fun. Even though people are telling me I need to reprogram my thinking when it comes to fashion but for me my business or what I see as the business is this Plus-size Fashion Week Africa. All the training initiatives we want to put in place for the new age of designers and then obviously the modelling competition that was part of the show is designed to bring out a plus-size model from here and take her international stage. This has never happened before.

Did you take a course in fashion?

I went to London College of Fashion. I actually did two courses there. I also went to a couture school, learning how to put pieces together.

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Latest Posts

“Why I Killed OOU Student And His Girlfriend” – 29-year-old Cultist Confesses
Shocking
57 views
Shocking
57 views

“Why I Killed OOU Student And His Girlfriend” – 29-year-old Cultist Confesses

MT - June 24, 2018

29-year-old Muritala Babatunde, the killer of Oriade Adebisi aka Oh Dollar, 22, and his girlfriend, Julian Eke Imaga, 18, both students of the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ogun…

Viral Photos of Comedian, MC Tagwaye Who Mimics President Buhari Spotted at APC Convention With ‘DSS’
Best of Nigeria
77 views
Best of Nigeria
77 views

Viral Photos of Comedian, MC Tagwaye Who Mimics President Buhari Spotted at APC Convention With ‘DSS’

MT - June 24, 2018

The Nigerian comedian who manages to perfectly mimic President Muhammadu Buhari has been spotted at the APC convention with his own 'DSS'. Obinna Simon, the Nigerian comedian,…

Here’s the Face of a Very Young Nigerian Kidnapper Who Abducted Some Residents in Rivers State (Photos)
Shocking
56 views
Shocking
56 views

Here’s the Face of a Very Young Nigerian Kidnapper Who Abducted Some Residents in Rivers State (Photos)

MT - June 24, 2018

A young kidnapper was apprehended by security operatives along with his gang members after abducting some residents along Port-Harcourt/Owerri road in Ikwerre area of Rivers state. The…

Ramsey Noah the Face of Blue Band Margarine at Age 8 (Throwback Photo)
Entertainment
70 views
Entertainment
70 views

Ramsey Noah the Face of Blue Band Margarine at Age 8 (Throwback Photo)

MT - June 24, 2018

Veteran Nigerian actor, Ramsey Noah, has spilled some secret we never knew all these years. Sharing a photo of Blue Band margarine, Ramsey Noah disclosed that he…

There Will Be No Christians In Nigeria In Next 25 Years; According to NCEF
Religion
64 views
Religion
64 views

There Will Be No Christians In Nigeria In Next 25 Years; According to NCEF

MT - June 24, 2018

A group of Christians under the aegis of National Christian Elders Forum, NCEF, being championed by a former Minister of Defence, Lt. Gen. Theophilus Danjuma (retd.), and…

The Real Reason Why Senator Abaribe Was Arrested Finally Explained
Politics
59 views
Politics
59 views

The Real Reason Why Senator Abaribe Was Arrested Finally Explained

MT - June 24, 2018

Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe’s Lawyer, Mr. Chukwuma-Machukwu Ume, SAN, has said his client was picked up by operatives of the Department of State Services, DSS, for allegedly aiding…

How Rapper Eedris Abdulkareem Made Me A Decent Woman: Laura Ikeji Reveals
Entertainment
62 views
Entertainment
62 views

How Rapper Eedris Abdulkareem Made Me A Decent Woman: Laura Ikeji Reveals

MT - June 24, 2018

Nigerian fashionista and sister to Nigerian most paid blogger, Laura Ikeji, just took to her Instagram page to heap encomiums on rapper, Eedris Abdulkareem, revealing how the 'Nigerian Jaga…

How Nigerians Are Wasting Money On 4K Ultra HD TVs
Best of Nigeria
58 views
Best of Nigeria
58 views

How Nigerians Are Wasting Money On 4K Ultra HD TVs

MT - June 24, 2018

4K UHD TVs are the best display TVs in the market but it's not for the Nigerian market! What am I even saying ? It's not even…

5 Best Cities To Search For Employment In Nigeria
Best of Nigeria
87 views
Best of Nigeria
87 views

5 Best Cities To Search For Employment In Nigeria

MT - June 24, 2018

Unemployment is one of the major challenges in Nigeria. Graduate youths increase at Geometric progression annually while job opportunities increase at Arithmetic progression. Thus making the labor…

Why Peter Bought A Range Rover For Me – Lola Omotayo Shares [Photos+Video]
Entertainment
66 views
Entertainment
66 views

Why Peter Bought A Range Rover For Me – Lola Omotayo Shares [Photos+Video]

MT - June 24, 2018

Lola Omotayo-Okoye has shared how she felt when her husband, Peter Okoye A.K.A Mr P surprised her with a Range Rover 2016 SUV at their house in…

Why Nigeria Cannot Win The World Cup – Former Arsenal Coach, Arsene Wenger
Sports
97 views
Sports
97 views

Why Nigeria Cannot Win The World Cup – Former Arsenal Coach, Arsene Wenger

MT - June 23, 2018

Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has given two reasons why Nigeria will find it difficult winning the 2018 World Cup and this has nothing to do with…

7 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Agreeing to Marry Him
Romance and Love
94 views
Romance and Love
94 views

7 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Agreeing to Marry Him

PH - June 23, 2018

Before saying the words “I do”, which would plunge you into a lifelong commitment, there are a lot of things you should already know about your partner.…

7 Signs Delivery Day Is Around The Corner
Food and Health
76 views
Food and Health
76 views

7 Signs Delivery Day Is Around The Corner

PH - June 23, 2018

Towards the end of pregnancy, anticipation is at its peak and expectant mothers are on the lookout for any sign of the delivery day. For the first-timers,…

Nigerian Writer, Anietie Isong Shortlisted For UK’s Biggest Literary Prize Fund
Art, History and Culture
88 views
Art, History and Culture
88 views

Nigerian Writer, Anietie Isong Shortlisted For UK’s Biggest Literary Prize Fund

PH - June 23, 2018

Anietie Isong, a Nigerian writer, is among those in the running to benefit from the UK’s biggest literary fund of more than £98,000. The Society of Authors…

Corps Member Wins $2,500 Afriture Painting Competition
Art, History and Culture
78 views
Art, History and Culture
78 views

Corps Member Wins $2,500 Afriture Painting Competition

PH - June 23, 2018

Julius Agbaje, a 26-year-old National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) member, has won the 2018 Afriture Painting Competition. Our correspondent reports that Agbaje, who is serving with Silverbird…

Aremu Afolayan: It Is Impossible To Own A House In Lekki Through Acting Only
Entertainment
95 views
Entertainment
95 views

Aremu Afolayan: It Is Impossible To Own A House In Lekki Through Acting Only

PH - June 23, 2018

Is Aremu Afolayan trying to convey something? He has just stated that it is almost impossible for actors and actresses who has their only income from making…

Nobel laureate Soyinka Reproaches Obasanjo, As He Calls Him An Hypocrite
Politics
98 views
Politics
98 views

Nobel laureate Soyinka Reproaches Obasanjo, As He Calls Him An Hypocrite

PH - June 23, 2018

Soyinka reproaches Nigeria's former president as he calls him an hypocritical leader whose only ambition is to pleas himself. He has also  threatened to release a book…

Victor Osuagwu Gives Reason For Using A Truck As Wedding Vehicle
Entertainment
114 views
Entertainment
114 views

Victor Osuagwu Gives Reason For Using A Truck As Wedding Vehicle

PH - June 23, 2018

Guess life is not really about caring about what others might say or do, but about achieving your goals in the way you can without hurting anyone.…

Loading...