Meet Oli The 365 Days Ankara Woman.


"If Voltaire had been here today he would have said, if the UN did not exist, it would have been necessary to invent it". Didier Reynders.


This is the first of my experience at the recently concluded First Session of the Ife Model United Nations, IfeMUN held at the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife Osun State Nigeria where I was privileged to serve as president of the General Assembly.

The whole formal and informal debates, lobbying, caucusing, moderated and unmoderated sessions did not deter me in observing this amazing doing lady who stood out with her choice ankara dresses. She made sure they conformed to the conference standards and I could not help be engage her in a conversation at the end of the Closing Plenary when the whole frenzy had died down.

Meet Olileanya Ezugwu a final year student of International Relations at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife. 

She loves photography and has a rich passion for promoting the Ankara brand. I asked her few questions and she obliged.

The 365 Days Ankara That's what she called the project.

How did you come about the whole idea?

It's a personal challenge to wear Ankara clothe for a week, a month, up to a year. Ankara clothes shouldn't just be worn in Fridays and Sundays. Many people disregard our African fabric, because they don't know that it can be used to sew any style, including dinner gowns, and cooperate wears.

So I challenge myself to get Ankara materials, since i can sew, i will sew them to desired style and wear them everyday for a year. Everyday, I copied some styles, I originally designed some myself. I am Ankara freak, even though I am a final year student of international relations, with excellent grades, i can't stop designing and sewing.

Drawing, being creative, designing and sewing are things i can't so without. I redesign things around me that I like with ankara materials; slippers, notebooks, earrings, bangles, purse,school bags, pen holder, and other things. I'm really an Ankara freak

What is the objective of the whole exercise?

The objective of this project, is to get people to love Ankara and African material again. People should know that they can sew desired styles with Ankara material, and it will come out very beautiful. Whenever people see me wear the Ankara clothes, they're always like ''...Oli i want to sew, I have Ankara materials in my room that I've been keeping since''  ''...when should I come so you'll measure me....''

Where does your Inspiration come from?

I got the inspiration from my lecture that never dressed on English attire, all days that he thought us. I challenged myself that I can do it for a year too. It also equally gets money to me, because i sew. And i love it So everyday, I take pictures of each days outfit, and i post it on the project Instagram account @365_days_ankara.

 Any obstacles and challenges?

I got the challenge of fund. I've had this idea since December 2016. So I've been saving a lot, to buy materials, and I was limited by the materials to buy, because I didn't have enough money, so I made use of what I have. Also, people wonder when I sew the clothes. I do it during breaks, I stay back at school to sew the clothes, I only go home during Christmas break and then too, it is usually late. Again, I have the problem of combining my academic work with the sewing plus other extra curriculum activities that I'm doing in school

Right now that I'm doing the project, people are 'wowed' they love the idea, it's very challenging and an inspiring one. The only question that keeps coming is '... for 365 days? 

Are you sure you can complete it' '... how do you manage it with your academics...' But they anyways love it

After this challenge, what next?

I want to study Fashion and designing. I also wish to continue wearing Ankara clothes on 'unusual days', if not everyday.

What are you studying ans what level ? 
International Relations. Final year

Why International Relations?

It is because that's the only course i could do, if not Fine Art I wasn't interested in any other course. I wished to study Fine Art, but couldn't get support from family. So i had the only choice of International Relations.

Any final words?

At first, people doubted that I can do, with some that I shared the idea with, they questioned where I'd get the money, whether I'll give up at some time, and how I'm going to manage it with school works. Some encouraged me, knowing creative ave wired i could be, they thought it is a wonderful idea. One of my friends said that I should go on with the project, '... at the end, you either learn, or earn'' that kept me moving.

More pictures 

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  1. Replies
    1. Dear Austin, that is the essence of sharing this piece. We are glad you found it inspiring.