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Sustainable fashion can help combat climate change – Babatunde

Sustainable fashion can help combat climate change – Babatunde

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As stakeholders seek answers to the impact of climate change globally, there’s an increasing call for the fashion world to embrace designs sourced from discarded and dated materials like old clothes, buttons, PET bottles, paper clips, rubber bands, and newspapers among others. There can be a diamond in the rough in some abandoned and discarded items says Omolara Babatunde a sustainable fashion enthusiast who lives by the credo, ”nothing should ever go to waste” and is committed to being ‘MAD’, that is, Making a Difference.


How long have you been producing fashion items from waste materials?

To be honest, the Sahara Group end of year party in 2022 which had sustainability as its theme inspired me to explore how I can transform otherwise discarded materials into designs that can be stylish and timeless. This is the future of fashion, that is sustainable fashion and it is fast gaining mainstream momentum across the globe. I got quite some orders from my colleagues at Sahara who wanted special outfits for the party and I had so much fun and inspiration making every piece. From the sourcing for the material to pre-production and post production, it became even much clearer to me that we can save the world from environmental pollution by reusing and recycling old and used materials to produce entirely new products instead of disposing them. This is good for the environment and also creates an ecosystem of small businesses that do not need huge market entry requirements.

How do you source your production materials?

Sourcing raw materials can be quite hectic but I find it adventurous as each exercise leaves me with more ideas of how I can use and reuse my materials as well as ideas on how I can create future sourcing streams riding on partnerships and trends within my immediate environment and the type of orders I receive. So for this kind of activity, you will find scrap dealers quite useful and also patronize people who have access to used PET bottles. Some materials are available from discarded old clothes, although this can be pricey depending on where one is buying from and the state of the item. Overall, the most important thing is to have an eye for what you need and establish the right partnerships that will facilitate hitch-free supplies. Also you need to bear in mind that  you have to find a way of he materials you use are devoid of any form of filth and stains to make your products outstanding and stunning.

How do you get your inspiration

I have always loved to create things from old newspapers, polythene carrier bags, bottle covers, and the like. I would hinge my main inspiration on a charge in the bible, “let nothing go to waste”. This is in John 6:12. So, my default setting is always to see how I can extract something unique from what people would ordinarily consider useless. Jokingly while to growing up, my older sibling will call me “chief recycler” as I used to turn our left over white rice to jollof, my mom’s old aso oke to bag or dress or even shoes. In my head I call it ” lemon to lemonade” I do not appreciate wastage.

Which is your most cherished piece of design and why?

That would be the popcan set (earings and bangle) and the paper clip chocker because it’s giving a full jewelry vibe that you can hardly tell it’s made from “trash”. I have worn the paper clip choker outside the event, you can hardly tell its scrap.

How do you feel contributing to sustainability through recycling and creative designs?

It makes me feel very satisfied that I am contributing significantly to the preservation of the planet we all call home. I am particularly delighted at the fact that after transforming waste to something unique, people end up paying for the end-product, thereby affirming my creativity. Each time I make a piece and see them on display, the joy I feel is indescribable. I am literally seeing my dream come true, letting nothing go to waste and making something from it at the same time. Each day, I keep pushing myself to see how far I can stretch my creativity to extend my work to new areas of design. It’s quite challenging but the spirit of making a difference which Sahara Group instils in its employees is one that I have embraced. This spirit is alive everywhere the energy conglomerate operates in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. We call it being MAD and I dare say, I am happy to be MAD when it comes to transforming waste to stunning sustainable fashion items.

How would you describe the financial returns so far, compared to what you have invested?

It has been quite rewarding. I was able to sell over 60 pieces of the recycled accessories even within the short period I had to introduce my products to my colleagues and friends. But beyond making money, which for me, is important, I am more gratified by the fact that I am making a difference and helping the environment. This is something we must all live for to ensure we leave a healthier and more prosperous planet earth future generations

Do you have plan to run a fashion outfit?

Currently, in my spare time, I design and make outfits mostly for women. Right now,  I have not been able to run it as I would like to as I also need to focus on my job. However, I see prospects ahead and ultimately and by God’s, I plan on running an outfit that handles ready to wear, aso ebi, custom made outfits, made with majorly African materials and prints like adire, Ankara,kente, isi-agu, aso oke and so on. Of course, with my sustainable fashion advantage as my unique selling point. Working in Sahara in Sahara Group actually exposes you to a culture of impossible is nothing and excellence, I see this driving me along all the way.




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