We caught up with lawyer/writer/founder/concept-creator/Africa-enthusiast, Aji Ayorinde.
He shares what he's currently working on, his inspirations and the odd proverb from his South African tailor.
Are you currently working on a personal project?
I run a legal diversity project named The Law Collective (TLC) - we provide a safe space for young black lawyers with training contracts to connect with each other, in turn encouraging them to remain in the profession for longer. We also connect them with the next round of students who are looking to apply to the firms that they are at.
I am also in the process of co-writing a dystopian fiction book.
However, my main project is Made in Africa (MIA), a clothing project and fashion start up. The idea behind The MIA Project is to showcase formalwear handmade by highly skilled tailors based throughout Africa. We are also positioning ourselves as the go-to people for connecting with other creatives based throughout the continent.
The long term plan is to be in collaboration with at least one tailor in every African country. We're currently operating in South Africa and Zambia and are looking to move into Nigeria next.
Have you always wanted to work in the creative industry? If yes, can you tell us why? If not, how did you land your current position?
I've always been a creative person, or at least a person who needs a creative outlet. I thrive off novelty and have always loved building things from the ground up, whether that's my career, a business, or another venture or challenge.
What has been your biggest achievement to date and why?
Qualifying as a lawyer. It was a real test of endurance - a marathon, rather than a sprint, and it confirmed to me that I have the resilience necessary to build the business that I have started too.
What would you describe as you biggest obstacle so far?
Balancing feeling like I am not doing enough with feeling like I could be doing more.
Taking a lighter note what and who inspires your creative process?
The community of people around me. I consider my peers my mentors.
What three tips would you give your younger self?
Take risks; Be bold; Be Unapologetic.
What words of wisdom do you have for other creatives?
In the words of my South African tailor, "your vision must be bigger than you".
If you had the opportunity to get a message across to a large group of people, what would you message be?
Africa is ready to compete on its own terms
What legacy would you like to leave behind?
Black generational wealth. I'd also like to be remembered for staying true to myself the entire time.
What’s the next step for you on your creative journey?
The Launch of MIA's e-commerce site later this month.