The High School Student News Site of The American School in London

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The High School Student News Site of The American School in London

The Standard

Just Temi

Temi Otedola (’15) used to sit, her 6-year-old body scrunched on the floor, poring over her mother’s fashion magazines. When her mother wasn’t looking, she would sift through her mother’s clothes, trying on the ones that took her fancy. Although her sisters played with her, they never fell into fashion the way Otedola did. “My sisters would always wear what my mom would give them, but I would always have something to say about it,” she said. 

Now, more than a decade later, Otedola runs a fashion blog, Just Temi Otedola (J.T.O). The site is rapidly growing, with an average of 4,000 views a month from all over the world. She also runs a Facebook page and Instagram account to complement her blog, with 6,282 Facebook likes and over 1,650 Instagram followers.

Most weekends, Otedola spends hours walking around London and doing fashion shoots for her site. Her sister, who is a London and New York City-based DJ, has introduced her to several professional photographers who regularly take pictures of her for the blog.

She says that sometimes, it can take two full days to shoot depending on the number of shots she plans to take. She uses these shots throughout the week so that her website stays active. “Everyday I’ll write a different post, and then I have a diary where I plan what days I’m going to post it,” she said.

Between homework and fashion shoots, Otedola reads over magazines and fashion blogs on the internet: Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, and Coveteur blog. Whenever she likes something, whether it be fashion or nail colors, she prints or cuts it out to put on her mood-board. In this way, she creates content for her blog. “I have a 60s part, casual wear, or makeup looks, or designers I’ve never heard of that I want to research,” she said. “It’s a great way to organize my ideas and it’s inspiration for blog content.”

Although she has grown up in London, she has strong roots in her native Nigeria. Many of her ensembles speak to her Nigerian heritage, evident by the vibrant colors and patterns that her outfits are often composed of.

She hopes that her blog will bring light to the Nigerian fashion world and the talent that exists there. “I think Nigerian fashion is very underestimated, we have a lot of upcoming designers but I think it needs a lot more attention and exposure,” she said. “You would never think that Nigerians and fashion are closely linked, but actually there is a huge market out there.”

She recently started a feature on her blog that did just that. The Lagos Diaries is one of the first features she’s done to showcase local fashion and combine her Nigerian heritage with Western style. The feature has been a big success. “I think a lot of Nigerians were interested in [the Lagos Diaries], so that gave me a lot more followers,” Otedola said, referring to her massive growth of 1,000 to 4,000 site views from December to January.

This is just the beginning for Otedola. In the future, she hopes to become a fashion designer or to run a fashion magazine.

But for now, a fashion blog seemed like the perfect way to start. She cites the growth of fashion blogs and their increasing influence as an inspiration for the creation of her own website. She sees fashion blogs as unique, a medium that is accessible to everyone, rather than platforms such as fashion magazines or designers who are only accessible to high-brow fashionistas.

“You can learn about so many different things through a medium other than designers and magazines,” she said.  “This has a much more personal take because you are speaking about you and your experiences.”

Fashion blogging is a demanding job. Bloggers need to keep readers interested and coming back to the blog for more– this means frequent posting. When the site launched in December, “it was a big thing” and Otedola was being very active. Now, she is trying not to let her viewership decline.  “With school right now, it’s really hard,” Otedola said. “I think it’s very important to post something everyday, but I haven’t been able to do that.”

Right now, her biggest struggle is developing her own individual style and unique taste. From the beginning, Otedola has looked to her mother as an inspiration, particularly for her individualistic and independent style. “My mom has a really eclectic style, and she’s not afraid to try new things. She’s a lot [braver] than I am, and she will just wear whatever,” she said.

Otedola hopes that with her own distinct style, she can develop a brand that will prepare her for the future. “If I want to start my fashion line in the next few years, I would already have a following,” she said. “These days there are so many designers out there, so if I could get my name out before I start a line, that would be very helpful.”

But whatever she does next, whether it be designing or running a magazine, Otedola is excited. As she said, “it is something that I really love doing, it never feels like I am working at all.”

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