26yr old Emeka Rodney wins MTN Young Designer of the Year 2013 | Welcome to Linda Ikeji's Blog

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Thursday, 26 December 2013

26yr old Emeka Rodney wins MTN Young Designer of the Year 2013

 26 year old Rodney Emeka, the Creative Director of McMeka, won the MTN Young Designer of the Year competition at the Lagos Fashion and Design Week 2013. He runs McMeka, a Lagos based menswear design label which solely focuses on bespoke tailoring which he founded in Sept. 2011. 

The young PH bred designer came up against formidable names like Waneami, Diana aLa Vid (DLV), Ayo Van Elmar, Reni Smith, Ladunni Lambo, Sho by Adesola Obebe, Tumilla by Tumi Ladega, Kenneth Ize and Siaiano who were also shortlisted as finalists for the MTN Young Designer of the Year. However, his hard work and resilience paid off and he was crowned the winner. Continue to see some of his designs....

 
 

Interview granted Awala of Exhilarate, below...

Tell me a little about yourself. Where are you from? What's your educational background?
My name is Rodney Emeka Igwedinma and the winner of MTN Young Designer of the Year award 2013. I am currently a student of University of Lagos, studying Accounting. I am from Anambra East Local government in Anambra state. I come from a family of seven, of which I happen to be the last born of the house. My parents are Ebenezer and Monica Igwedinma. My dad is a retired civil servant while my mom is a tailor and we are a happy lot.  Growing up, I schooled in Rivers state, Port Harcourt. I attended the township primary school, Oyibo for my primary education while I went to Government Secondary, Oyibo  for my secondary education. As for my tertiary education, I started out at Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) Ogbomoso where I was studying Biochemistry. But when I developed my talent as a fashion designer, I had to leave LAUTECH for University of Lagos, UNILAG where I started seeing things happen for me in my career. Although I spent many years at LAUTECH, I think it was a wise choice moving to UNILAG because it exposed me to a lot of things. I started my career in 2011 after leaving LAUTECH while studying a science based course and was forced to begin my university education afresh in Lagos having gained admission to study Accounting. Interestingly as a kid, I had enjoyed art based classes but due to family pressure I went through school as a science student. My decision to transit to Accountancy was based on my belief that the course would provide the best platform to fulfil my vision as a fashion designer. And it wasn’t hard to switch because I already had a combination of science and arts courses in my O’Level.
How was it competing against other designers who had trained abroad?
I really don’t believe that someone’s background should be a limiting factor in how far one can go. It’s all about what’s inside of you – so I think that was what paved the way for me. During the auditions, I saw a lot of guys come in with swag, and I was challenged, amazed at some of the designs but I wasn’t intimidated. Yea, they came armed with fashion degrees from Paris, UK, Vienna but they didn’t move me.  When I showed my brother what I was up against, we were just laughing. It was like a David and Goliath situation. Most of my friends just wished me all the best. When I made the top ten shortlist, my close friends told me that they won’t shout or celebrate with me and that they only time they would rejoice is when I am crowned winner. This is the extent of belief and confidence which my close pals had in me. This kept me going. I had no fashion qualifications, whether local or international but I believed in my work.
Since you are still in school, what’s your take on the ASUU strike?
The ASUU strike has been a blessing for me. God has a way of doing things.  As a student of UNILAG, if school was in session, it would have been very difficult to find the time to participate in the competition. I was apprehensive when the call time came in because I submitted my application two days before the closing date. Once I got the invite to audition, I began to pray and ask God for his help – make a way for me to win this competition. And so when the strike was announced, I was very happy as it would afford me the chance to compete. While my friends were groaning and complaining, I was thankful. Even when there were rumours of the ending the strike, I prayed that it would happen only after the show was over and I was glad it happened for me.  Making the collection was stressful and it would have been more demanding having to combine preparing for the show with exams looming.  God bless ASUU. (General laughter)
What would have happened if you didn’t win?
It would have been a whole lot of shame for me because I so much believed in myself and prayed very hard for this show. I had the firm conviction that if I was going to do the show, then it would pave the way for me and as God would have it, my fasting and prayer wasn’t in vain.  
Did you get funding to start this business?
I started this business with ten thousand naira and I wasn’t funded by anybody. The first order to design a dress cost me ten thousand naira which was the first capital for my business. I sent the dress over to a dude in Abuja who placed the order and till tomorrow, I still haven’t been paid. It was a painful experience and so I had to start all over again. I made and still make a lot of sacrifices coupled with hard work.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
My dad used to tell me that the ants usually gather their food during summer and then in winter, all they do is sit down, enjoy and eat. While staying with my uncle, he would say to me every morning that you must follow the early morning moon wherever it goes, follow it. When the time comes for you to enjoy, you will. My victory has inspired a lot of my friends.
What would you do with the 4million naira from MTN?
Well the money is not for Rodney Emeka. It belongs to McMeka. It would be devoted to pushing the brand.
What is the story behind your brand name, McMeka?
Well my name is Rodney Emeka, so it was derived from my native name. Mc gives it the British feel.
Are you married?
No. I am twenty six years old and happily single.
Has your boyfriend or girlfriend played any role in all of this?
Laughs. Girlfriend please. Well, she always encourages me to keep my dream alive and she is very understanding with my busy schedules. She is very patient and inspires me a lot. We are two different people who understand ourselves. We have been through so many things together and she knows what I’m capable of.
Is she into fashion and design?
She likes fashion but she doesn’t design. She is among my closest allies who are my backbone of support and pillar of strength. When I was growing up, my mom would usually call me to come and examine her looks. I would check her out and say mom I don’t like this. She is that kind of person who I can call on.
What would you say about the MTN Young Designer of the Year Award?
I think the initiative is a good one. I so much appreciate the fact that the organisers of the LFDW are working so hard to bring out young talents in Nigeria’s fashion space. They are giving young talents a voice. Josh, who won last year is doing well. McMeka will also do well.  
If we walk into your wardrobe, what are we likely to find more?
Something that has the highest number in my wardrobe will be… Shirts! Shirts! Shirts!
Are you a jewelry person, like blings, chain or even wristwatches?
No. I love the minimalistic approach to my dress sense.
What fashion item do you love so much that you will love to have no matter how expensive?
That will be shoes and more shoes.
What are your favourite colours?
I love colours like burgundy, orange and grey
Which car is your dream car?
Mercedes Benz G wagon.
What is your favourite food?
I love pounded yam and nsala soup of 10 lives.

58 comments:

Phaeton Phoenix said...

LMFAO! Is that a kilt one of the BLACK judges is wearing?! Well then! Well then!

Anonymous said...

Congrats keep up the good work and don't forget God be thankful to him.

doby said...

Congrats

doby said...

Congrats

IKWERREBOY said...

These are the forces... why not quit school and focus on your design or change department from accounting to art something related to design... next time don't pray for assu strike ooo congrats.

Apoti Eri said...

Congrats!!bt is dat d cloth he won with?cos I hav beta designs dan dis#jessaying b4 libers go eat me raw

diamondblinqZ said...

Wow congratz! Success is gud! Kip flag flyinq. I am inspired. Once aqain congratz dude

Anonymous said...

Linda dey post my comments plss na.
Ehya! Emeka,Asuu was a blessin tu ya,congrats


'YTE'

Teemah Salau said...

Lol!...@ 10 lives...congrats dear...

Anonymous said...

Congrats! He is damn good.he design my suit n shirts for me n has a good client servces relationship.McMekas abeg no increase ur price as level don change for u now.so happy for u bro!

hilary obiorah said...

Wow! Love that jacket!

temmytope bayode said...

Big congrats 2u bro

Anonymous said...

Huh! I c a man wearing a skirt

Adesoye Richard said...

big congrats to him

Anonymous said...

Congrats

temmypink said...

Yh yh yh! #teamlautech! I cld remember he designd davinci crew merchandise! Congrat rodney

Gozibe said...

Lol! Interesting...congrats dude!

Efe Curtsy said...

Nice one, Boy! @EfeWithHumanCurtsy

iam_joybyata said...

Congrats the guy is good

Anonymous said...

Congrats! Your story is inspiring..

Eugenia Ekeji said...

Congrats bro.

Amarachukwu said...

Congratulation Boy.

Anonymous said...

Congrats McMeka. God bless your works.

Eugenia Ekeji said...

Can't stop laughing at the guy on suit.

victor vicsly vicsly said...

Congrats bro big money tins
#WorldfamousVictor

Anonymous said...

Love Fashion and into it already but their fee these days are way too high(fashion school) and of cause still which to be in one. You see, sisi linda why I needed to ve won your recent 100k **jess saying**signs* pls post####Bukkenny

Zion Zukki said...

Smart boy! I love ur courage and adventure! While other asuu-fg victims where bizi commenting on LIB and LLB u took a different turn and made it big. Congratulation bro. More blessing.

Anonymous said...

Dat guy dressed like a Scot made a total failure of it. The coat/suit/blazer is too big, then maybe the skirt too. E dey hang shoulder dey clap make shoulder pad nor go reach elbow.

Melinda mbah said...

Isn't this the jacket IK wore on Music meets runway

karen H said...

Saw this dude during the show...he looked humble and I could tell he's a hardworking man...pray you keep it up Emeka..loved ur designs...you are good oh...I was impressed.. Congrats well deserved

Anonymous said...

If person wan price that shirt and trouser for that hanger na #300k them go tell you.I go kukuma go buy materials #2k for eko odumota come give baba ibeji #1thaazan to sew am for me.

Anonymous said...

Jesu what the fuck is that judge wearing lmao. Lord have mercy. Its Nigeria not Scotland idiot.

rosy kay said...

Lolzz wow! I'm happy for him. Congrats dear, I wish u all the best u'll go places .

Anonymous said...

Am so inspired

ADERONKE AROGUNDADE said...

Nice.

chemmywalata walata said...

Hahaha ok nice he's from my side Anambra east

slimzyose said...

Congrats dear,kip up d hard work

Anonymous said...

Congrat. Beta things ahead. @ Zenki brown

Anonymous said...

He s 26 and happily single, and yet gave all these descriptions of his girlfriend. I m confused.

mike Oshios said...

Big congrat 2 him

Anonymous said...

I'm also congratulating him from here. But how long can Emeka Rodney Go ?

wumy said...

Thumps up,kip it up dear,lookin 4ward 2my own clothin line as well.

Anonymous said...

Lmao @ Idumota and 1thaazan..u funny dude

Anonymous said...

Something must be wrong with ur thots/thinking pathway.. How u go advise am to quit skool?.. U sabe how many jamb im write before im enter unilag? Talkless to enter the accounting department of unilag?..

Anonymous said...

Lol my dear don't let abj ppl and their empty swag run your biz down o,yes they have money but most times 2 bring it out and pay you is a problem. Well you'v already learnt a vital lesson :) next time na cash and carry o!

bbjayone said...

Congrats bro!

chizzy jeremiah said...

Congrats Mcmeka... U r an inspiration to young fellas out there ... Cos with God all tinz r possible

Boye said...

congrats to you.

Boye said...

congrats to you.

Boye said...

congrats to you.

Boye said...

congrats to you.

Boye said...

congrats to you.

Anonymous said...

I luv ur designs Rodney ASSU really favour u die kip it up man.God will alwayz c u through. U go dash me 1 of ur jacket so? Abi u no get 4 females, congrats bro

Anonymous said...

Congrats I luv ur designs. Rodney I admire ur courage n u realized ya talent on tym while me never discover my own o, smiles. ASSU favour u die I swear. Abeggii u no get female jacket make u dash me o

micheal kobi said...

Happy 4 you man,..my turn z comming.....

Jordan Abiola said...

Proud of you man, you actually just got me inspired. Waow. Many a times,we bump into each other at Tinubu Square in Lagos! Either at a material shop or a Tailor's Shop. I saw you one too many times and here you go. Your hardwork plus God's Grace paid off! Keep it up man and jex endeavour to know what your priorities are,so as to know how to disburse the money wisely.Proud of you Emeka! Your Fluent Yoruba tho! Well done.

Yebo Stephen said...

Single as in "not married".

Anonymous said...

There where better designers that day. Didn't see any thing special dear. Linda, why now? This happened months ago

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