As a child, she sat at the feet of a great and watched him skilfully execute the tricks of the trade. Then as a model, she benefitted from having an up-close and personal view of the fashion world for years. No wonder then that Aishatu Adams fell in love with all things fashion related and decided to venture on a journey as a fashion designer.
“My love for the fashion industry led me to my career in design. In my late teens, I was a model with the late, great Kingsley Thorne. So watching the designers with their amazing outfits motivated me to become one,” told Today’s Fashion.
She recalled: “My father, Courtney Brathwaite, was a tailor from the early 70s. I used to watch him as a little girl and when he wasn’t home, I would sneak on his machine and make little outfits. I never stopped stitching throughout my teen years and into my twenties.
“Being a daddy’s girl, everything I made I would show my dad, and he encouraged me to go to school and learn to do it professionally. In 2015, I decided to resign from my job to go to the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic and pursue studies in Garment Technology. I was 24 years old and ready to start my new adventure.”
Aishatu’s business, Vanity By Rose Designs, started in October 2015. It is a home-based business located in Bairds’ Road Weston, St James.
“Vanity by Rose was created based on my nickname. My friends call me Rose. My friend and I were brainstorming for business names when we first started our businesses and this one stuck to me.”
The 29-year-old confessed that while there were some challenging times in the beginning, she has no regrets.
“Since I started my business while at school, it was a challenge. The busy days and some nights as well as studying and trying to be my best in class were hard because at that time, my son Azari Griffith had just started infant school and we hardly got to spend time together but he understood.”
She continued: “One of my first customers actually made me cry. She wasn’t satisfied with what I did and got upset. I apologized and tried to offer a different solution, but she was headstrong. After she left, I cried terribly because I thought I was a failure and had terrible luck. A friend comforted me and said ‘some people you can’t please but don’t let that stop you. You know what you did wrong and the next time, you will get right. Do not give up.’ That got inside my brain and inspired me to do better. I have no regrets since I took this career path. I’ve met some amazingly beautiful people and wouldn’t trade my clients for the world.”
It is because of that experience and many others that she can tell those looking on to never give up.
“To anyone who wants to pursue a career in fashion designing, please be patient and never give up! Those long nights pay off. It’s not like other skills where you always finish in a few hours, but that is the best part about it. You make something come alive from a piece of fabric.”
Vanity by Rose specialises in swimsuits. Services offered are uniforms, leisurewear, casual wear, semi-formal dresses, kids clothing, African wear, business wear and lingerie/sleepwear will be added to the list soon.
“I love doing swimwear but I’m versatile when it comes to stitching. I try my hand at everything because nothing beats a try. My designs are based on today’s fashion trends. Even though it’s best to always set the trend, nothing is wrong with mixing my idea with a client’s idea and creating something beautiful. I always sit down with my customers to hear their ideas and draft them so they can see what it looks like on paper.”
Aishatu has designed bridesmaids dresses, maternity leave, dresses for baby showers and photoshoots, promotional outfits for events, career day outfits for children and semi-formal dresses for dinners and birthday events.
“My customers range from six months to let’s say 65 years of age. I strive to make my new clients feel comfortable, trusting me with their ideas. I love when they are comfortable because it makes me comfortable. As long as they are happy, I am happy as well.”
Were it not for the COVID-19 global pandemic, 2020 would have seen her biggest accomplishment to date. The business owner was getting a chance to design a costume for a Crop Over band. “I was so excited to showcase my costume designing but I guess I’ll have to wait until next year,” she lamented.
The former student of Christ Church Foundation is also a certified bartender and waitress. She loves mixing drinks and meeting new faces.
Aishatu said she hopes to see her business reach the international market. She wishes to have her work showcased in Africa. In the meantime, she is grateful for the growth and exposure the business has benefitted from. She admits that during peak times she just puts her head in the game and “keeps pushing forward”.
“If not for my customers, I won’t have anyone to endorse me and if not for social media, I won’t have the platform to showcase my work on. I’m grateful for both of them. I also have to commend my photographer, Ryan Ramsay of Pon Di Scene Productions, for always being ready and eager to work with me and help push and promote our businesses.”
The entrepreneur said she would have been a pastry chef if she hadn’t chosen fashion. “I’ve always had love for the kitchen. I bake a lot at home, always trying new treats and desserts and always watching food channels and vlogs.”
Aishatu’s hobbies include baking, reading and watching YouTube. At night, she sometimes watches a documentary about animals after a long day.
For her, the things that make her who she is are the intangibles. “Professionally, my love for the industry motivates me to be better with everything I do. I have my truest friend, biggest critic and my number one fan who never gives up on me and that friend motivates me personally. What matters most in my life are my family and friends. Support and encouragement is what we all need at times,” the fashion designer said. (IMC)