A Berkshire fashion designer is set to go head-to-head with other up-and-coming creatives in a new BBC show.
Kemi Gbadebo, from Bracknell, will be competing on The Drop for a chance to have her next collection snapped up and displayed in Flannels stores.
The 21-year-old, whose dad Michael serves as deputy Mayor of Bracknell Forest Council, says she is ‘music and art’ obsessed. She studied at Manchester Metropolitan University before launching her brand, Gbadebo, during the coronavirus lockdown.
Kemi has made a name for herself on social media and says her Nigerian and Spanish dual-heritage has played a real huge part in both her life and her brand. And she credits her dad for encouraging her to finally pluck up the courage to start her brand.
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She will now compete against eight other designers in a bid to wow the judges, with Grammy award-winning artist Miguel leading a panel that also includes British artist, clothing designer, skateboarder and model Blondey McCoy, entrepreneur and fashion designer Marc Jacques Burton. The show will be fronted by former Radio One DJ Clara Amfo.
Kemi said: “As a student, I didn’t really have any money to buy new fabric so I started using old jeans primarily and any sort of clothing I get my hands on. It all started in lockdown when all the fabric shops were shut down so everyone was going through their wardrobes, sorting through them and people were just given me bags upon bags of clothes. My whole dining room was packed.
“So then, I just started making clothes and then my brand kind of blew up. From then on, I started learning about sustainability. People branded me as a sustainable brand, before I even necessarily knew sustainability was and then as I got to know about it, I grew a massive passion for it and I thought, you know what, I am a sustainable brand.
“This is something that I really care about. I figured if I’m going to create a business in this industry then I want to contribute to finding solutions to the problems that it already has instead of contributing to the issues.”
— Michael Gbadebo FRSA (@MichaelG_UK)
Kemi says she takes heavily from the 1990s hip-hop street culture style, with baggy clothing among her favourites. She has been inspired by designers such as Christopher Raeburn, with his sustainable fashion something she finds particularly appealing.
She added: “For me, I’ve always worn my own clothes. I will not make anything unless I myself would wear it. At the end of the day, I’m going to make what I love because I know my market and I know what will sell to my people. If other people love that then great
“Come in, it’s a big family. For me, I’m trying to keep Gbadebo authentic to the reason why I created it and the aesthetic that I myself love.”
- The Drop will air across eight episodes on BBC Three and iPlayer from Monday, 14 March, 2022 at 9pm.
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