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Toluwalase Oyedeji’s Journey to Living a Fulfilling Life

Toluwalase Oyedeji is a creative director, fashion designer, communication, marketing, and PR boss as well as a model. She has carved a space for herself in the creative industry and we’re discussing that in this chat. 

Hi Toluwalase, How are you doing today?

I woke up strong today and it has been a regular day. Currently, I am on the set for a major campaign shoot. While waiting out the setup to begin the campaign, I’m also catching up with different things I need to tend to during the day.

For people who do not know you, how would you describe yourself and what does a typical day in your life look like? 

A couple of words I can use to describe myself would be interesting, tenacious, work-driven, passionate, diverse, creative, spiritual, and maybe cool (my assistant thinks so lol), I also like to think I’m almost funny.

My days are not so typical because no two days in my life are ever the same. Day one could be virtual meetings, another day physical meetings, and another day fabric shopping. Some days start earlier than others, I wake up, say my prayers, I don’t always catch breakfasts, I do a geeky dance to feel good on the days I don’t feel great then I get work done. Some days are louder than others,I don’t have a particular structure but I definitely get work done.

How do you manage to balance your creative direction, design, communication, marketing, and modeling, and what motivates you to juggle all these tasks while maintaining a clear distinction between work and personal life?

Considering the many hats I wear, I like to incorporate a calendar. I don’t take on more projects than I can handle at a time, I am not greedy and I don’t like to do too much. At the core, I am a creative and I have trained myself to understand the administrative part that comes with being a creative. I am very passionate about the idea of making money from creativity and I encourage other creatives to monetize their work and build a brand. I know it takes time but it is worth it. I’m committed to building sustainable brands and when I find one that is sustainable, I am more than passionate.

Honestly, a large part of my cooperate job comes from things I am passionate about so it is hard to draw a line. Even when I am relaxing and I find an article, I find myself wanting to know more. Not because I like to read but because I love to research. But when I am with family or hanging out with friends, I like to do less work and stay in the moment. A lot of these relationships I have, I like to think of it like people that God sent to me to get through in life so I make an effort to not steal any time to work when I am spending time with them.

What have been the biggest challenges in your industry, especially as a woman? How have you been able to overcome this? And what’s been the highlight of your career? 

One of the biggest challenges I face is when people hear me over the phone or in a virtual meeting and expect me to be naive and young. They somehow conclude I am not capable because I am young but they think differently when they meet me in person.

Overall I am very confident in myself. I have this little voice in my heart that constantly reassures me that I can do whatever I put my mind to, even from a young age. I have my father to thank for instilling that belief in me that no matter what it is, I can do it if I put my mind to it. I mean I have taken up big projects and I survived them.

About the highlight of my career, I can’t pinpoint one but I have had interesting breakthroughs. I have worked well with brands and people, filling in roles that are considered a big deal. I meet interesting people all the time and that really gets me. The bit about creating opportunities for people and letting them know there’s more to fashion than designing is always a highlight. I also appreciate the fact that I own and run an ethical clothing brand. I love that I can gift people my skill set, It is indeed very fulfilling.”Who or what have been your biggest influences? And how do you distinguish yourself in your industry? 

I am strongly influenced by women of substance. Women like Omoyemi Akelere, Lisa Folawiyo, Andrea Iyamah, Fisayo Longe, and Bidemi Zakariyu and the work they do.

I’m inspired by women who are passionate about change. The people I am surrounded with also inspire me at different levels. My friends, family, and every one I get to relate with. I have never had a problem with standing out. I think it’s because I like excellent work so I put my heart into my work and work attentively. I am not mean-spirited, I am bubbly with positive contagious energy. I work very passionately and I will not do anything that doesn’t feel right to me.

How has technology and the internet influenced your work? 

Positively, tech has influenced my work in many ways. Thanks to technology there are tools out there that make my work easier and faster. The internet has also made learning easy as research can be done faster and you know me, I love my research. Digitally, I have understood that there are more exciting ways to go about work. Things we consider as basic, social media has made it more especially with me. I grew up in a small town so my access to the internet really exposed me and taught me many things.

Negatively, with the internet, you’ll find that there’s a lot of noise so sometimes if you’re not conscious enough you can get carried away by other people’s ideas of creativity without fully exploring what your idea of creativity should be. Also, from a PR perspective, social media is good and all, but one wrong move and you might have a messy situation.

What opportunities and projects are you creating or looking forward to creating? Any collaborations? 

My brand is taking a new direction. I’m working on producing custom prints in ethical ways and relatable fabrics. I am collaborating with other creatives to produce some of these new designs because, at the end of the day, the goal is to collaborate and be more

ethical. The brands and projects I’m currently on are evolving and have new work soon and I’m really excited. I also have exciting projects in community building that I’ll share very soon.

How do you like to rewind and practice self-care? 

I really enjoy the beach and spend an uncomfortable amount of time there. I love wine and hanging out with people I care about. I also like to go gallery hopping to see new artists and installations.

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Omotola Saba
Omotola Saba