Despite OAU Ife degree, tailoring wins his heart

With a public servant father in the employment of the West African Examination Council (WAEC), Yaba, Lagos and immediate elder brother already a Computer Science undergraduate in the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, future of Adetimilehin Michael in either public or corporate world wasn’t in contest.

After the Ondo State indigene had passed his University Matriculation Examination (UME) in 2011, despite two previous attempts, Michael was admitted into the OAU to study Sociology and Anthropology. He graduated in 2015, and is now a proud holder of a Bachelor of Science. Wait for it!

He is currently into tying and sewing clothing materials, a vocation which he, is said, could have embraced after his secondary school and completed within three years. Does he regret his choice? That is a question Michael detests from anyone, because, according to him, his interest in tailoring was deliberate with element of accident.

How? He replied:” I picked interest on the day I took my dad’s big tie to a tailor for slim fitting, and the man did it the way I didn’t expect. He did it so perfectly that I was wondering how he was able to do it because I didn’t know it could be that possible. I got fascinated and told my father that I would return to the man for apprenticeship.”

A father, counting down on his son’s admission to a university, was astonished and speechless at Michael’s proposal. What did he do? He made attempt to scare him with a regular tale of hazards awaiting him in his master’s shop, especially those extra-vocational duties often imposed on apprentices.

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“I listened to him but said I would cope. Then, he told me to go and inform my brother in the OAU, Ile-Ife. My brother listened to me because he doesn’t talk much. He didn’t discourage me. I was happy for his support, which convinced our dad to approve my proposal. I didn’t have problem with mummy at all,” he recalled.

Three months into the training, not unsurprisingly, Michael had picked some basic knowledge of tailoring such that he could cut and sew.

Then, came result of his UME, then followed his admission. The soft-speaking Michael entered his Part One, with additional knowledge, which he hoped to develop, although he had no clear image of how he would go about it.

Then, an opportunity fell on his lap right inside his Angola Hall of residence, the hostel, which officially accommodates fresh students. Angola also shares boundary with the Awolowo Hall, reputed as home of students union activists.

The adventurous Michael sighted a tailor in Angola Hall and approached him to sew some items on his own, using his backup machine not in use. “I pleaded with him to allow me use the second machine but he declined. He later allowed me after I had passed a test which he set for me. I started doing slim fitting for students from that shop and making some money to later buy my first machine. That moment can be called the real beginning of my journey to where I am today,” he submitted.

However, that journey was not laid on a plain terrain, because he had to combine his passion with the usual rigour of academic works. But Michael’s determined mind brought out the ruggedness in him.

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Even when he scored a low grade in class test and assignment, and was thrown into a low mood, he regained his joy as soonest as he returned to his machine, his best friend. Therefore, he effectively married the two wives-tailoring and classroom-and laughed last with a Second Class lower degree after which he was immediately mobilised for the youths service scheme.

“Before I graduated in 2015, I already had my workshop at Awo Hall. At the same time, I had another one in the town of Ife. I employed a stylist who worked like my split image. So, I sought redeployment from the NYSC (National Youths Service Corps) back to Ife to continue with my job because I had many customers among students. I succeeded to be back on campus.

“I later learned how to sew suit from one man in the town. I thank God for how far he has taken me. I also thank my parents and my brother, a computer wizard for their support that made me self-dependent when I should be seeking paid jobs about,” he remarked.

Michael, an Ibadan-based, sits on M-Classy Outfits at Felele axis of the Oyo State capital, where he is adding value to dresses of his customers, male and female.

“I learned how to sew female dresses too. That is why my customers service is gender friendly. The country now demands that youths should think beyond certificate to escape this hard time. I have taken some apprentices because of this reason. I want to distribute my knowledge to others, and that is what I have done in the past years,” he concluded.

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