Tell us about where it all began. What inspired you to start TemAd Collections?

It all started with the impossibility of fitting into L/ XL trousers even though I was a uk size 12/14 back then.  As a woman of African descent, I constantly struggled to find outfits that fit well.  Though asking for fashionable yet accessible African print clothing may seem like a first world problem, I genuinely feel we should in a diversified country have the choice to wear one without being stared at. I couldn’t bend due to the gaping at the back and it was a constant battle for a shapely person so I decided to go for a “Sew your own dress “ course at Wokingham College, followed by more training at UAL, London and also in Rome. Equipped with some skills and knowledge, I was able to sew and then started to use African print to make my clothes. TemAD as a brand really kicked off having lived in the centre of fashion hub and my desire to showcase African print styled with European fashion. The mix of colours stems from my background in chemistry and I now work with other women hence empowering them and creating a good life for them in Africa. 

What makes your brand unique?

There are many Ankara designers out there with each one doing their best in their craft. For TemAD, we want to be known as a brand that uses colours in unique ways. I believe we were one of the first to design the Cappotti range which is a waterfall jacket lined with Ankara fabric. We are definitely the first to make African print Ankara face mask and snoods. We love to match fabrics from different origins into wearable styles.

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Where do you see your brand in the next few years? Any specific goals or aspirations?

Wouldn’t it be lovely walking into any store to pick up your Ankara dress or coat. It would be a dream to work with Online and High street brands to incorporate Ankara into the fashion seasons and to be able to educate all women about the print (which each tell a story by the way) as well as  make Ankara outfits accessible to everyone. 

As a small business what advice would you give to other small business owners who are just starting out?

Small businesses often think they have to start small and have to do everything themselves. This mindset definitely needs some tweaking because it is impossible to do everything by oneself and we need to collaborate more. I understand collaboration is a term that’s been bashed around and it’s lost its true meaning but we really need to work together, especially as small businesses, and support one another. For example, in the fashion industry, we could share details of suppliers as this is the biggest hurdle to cross when scaling up. Do not be afraid to ask !! I remember having attended the first Pop-up united event in December 2018, by April 2019, I had the pleasure of traveling to Istanbul, Turkey with Damilola Harris on a business trip.

What is your favourite piece from the range and why?

Infusion is our latest collection, our spring summer 2021 range which is all about colours and versatility. We’ve pretty much spent an entire year in lounge wear and sleepwear and I feel this is the time to burst out and hopefully spring further than we were before the lockdown 1.0. It is difficult to pick just one piece from Infusion Collection but if  I must, then it would be the Olivia kimono which is equipped with pockets and a belt because I can throw it on  as a dress, a top, a jacket and even as a beach coverup. The gorgeous print on this black, green and pink pattern means it can be worn in all season. 

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6. What can we look forward to seeing? Do you have any new collaborations or new projects coming up?

We have many exciting events and unique designs coming up. In addition to our Infusion Collection, I am working with on a tshirt summer range with other designers and stylists. We are looking forward to once again showcasing our pieces at John Lewis stores in July as well as showing up at the African Fashion Week London in August. 

7. What is one thing you really want the reader to know about  TemAd Collections

Those that know the brand know that the tag line is #elegantwithanAfricantwist and this came as a result of the compliments I was getting at the start of the business. However I was also often hit with a stare, followed by questions about where I was going. This is because African print is often associated with special occasion and flamboyance. So I wanted to change the narrative whereby prints and colours are carefully selected and designed into outfits that could be worn daily without feeling overdressed. So if there was one thing I want every reader to know about the brand, it would be that we welcome women of all colour. African print isn’t just for the black community and here at TemAD, we use colours that suit all and to show that this is the case, our models and brand ambassadors are of both African and European origin.  

CEO & Head designerTemAD Collections