Enugu – A Nigerian fashion designer, Erimma Obayi, says she has trained and mentored no fewer than 4,500 children within the country on fabric skills, style patterning and fashion appreciation.
Obayi, who is the Founder of Erimma Designs, disclosed this in an address on Saturday at the opening of a month-long Fashion Designing Appreciation and Mentoring Programme at The Little Angels School, Nsukka with a population of 568 students.
She noted that within the last three years, eight schools in Enugu State and beyond have benefitted from her training, especially during school holiday periods, while the population for these schools ranged between 350 to 600 students.
She said that her fashion designing outfit had been making significant changes in the life of young people by taking up the mantle of teaching and inspiring children in the art of fashion design.
According to her, by imparting these knowledge and skills to young minds, I am nurturing their creativity, encouraging self-expression, and shaping the future of fashion in its entirety.
She said that teaching children fashion skills, provided an avenue for self-expression and encouraged the development of their unique artistic abilities.
Obayi said that her training comes through classes, workshops, and mentorship programmes, adding that these children tap into the creativity world; thus, empowering them to translate their ideas into tangible designs.
“In the training, children experiment with fabrics, colors, and patterns; while fostering an environment where imagination and innovation flourish.
“Fashion is not only about the clothes we wear; it is also about how we carry ourselves and embrace our individuality. Teaching children fashion skills empowers them to celebrate their unique style and embrace their individuality.
“Through the process of designing and creating their own garments, children gain confidence in their abilities and learn to express themselves authentically.
“This newfound confidence extends beyond fashion and can positively impact various aspects of a child’s life, promoting self-assurance and a sense of identity,” she said.
Obayi noted that fashion design is a combination of artistry and technical know-how even as introducing children to the technical aspects of fashion, equips them with valuable skills that can be applied in various creative disciplines.
She said that from understanding fabric properties to learning sewing techniques, children develop a solid foundation in garment construction and design principles.
“This hands-on experience not only enhances their technical competence but also sharpens their problem-solving skills as they navigate challenges and find innovative solutions during the design process,” he said.
On what drives her passion to teach and train children on fashion design, Obayi noted that teaching fashion skills to children help them in gaining knowledge and nurture the next generation of fashion leaders.
“Some children may develop a deep passion for fashion and pursue it as a career, while others may harness the transferable skills they acquire to excel in other creative fields.
“Regardless of their career path, the lessons and experiences gained from fashion education empower children to think critically, embrace creativity, and become innovators in their respective domains.
“These fashion skills will create an avenue for fostering creativity, self-expression, and confidence among the young minds of today as well as providing them with the tools to express their individuality, problem-solving abilities, and understanding of sustainability.
“It is also shaping a more creative, conscious, and inclusive future for the fashion industry,” she said.
Obayi added that as we witness the positive impact of fashion education on children, it is clear that this trend is much more than just a passing fad — it is an investment in the creative potential and well-being of the next generation.