REBECKAH APARA, Founder - EMBELLISHED TALK
Transitioning amidst the noise of life; is where Rebeckah found herself after achieving honorable fashion textiles degree from London College of Fashion, London in 2007; were diminishing daily. The turning point came during when a close relative suddenly fell ill and instantly realised that she has only one chance to fulfil her passions and with a new urgency she decided to take the leap. We can all definitely relate because we too don’t want to look back on life, regretful.
We’ll continue to delve into Rebeckah’s story we’ll focus on her journey to start Embellished Talk in early 2016. In short Embellished Talk is an online platform and textile haven with aims of building a strong community including students, graduates and those already working in the textile industry. She has ambitions to arm the textile community with knowledge to highlight the diverse roles of the textile designer today.
LIFE BEFORE EMBELISHED TALK: I’ve had many jobs after graduating in 2007, It was really difficult to find a job in my field; one because I didn’t have much experience and two because there wasn’t any guidance. Subsequently, I had to figure it out on my own. For several years I had stints of working as a production assistant providing jersey samples with the Arcadia Group, H&M & Primark, being an office admin and I also ventured back into the education sector but this time on the UK’s exam board. I wasn’t done with education yet so I ventured into teaching English as a foreign language. I enjoyed being aware of the different academic dimensions education has.
Not too long after I qualified I quit my job to move to Paris for 6 months but I realised I was always home sick so I moved back to be with my loved ones to yet again figure out my passage on the upcoming journey I would embark on.
ON THE IMPORTANCE OF FOUNDING EMBELLISHED TALK: Throughout my university experience, I was taught to research particular skills and to practice this daily using embroidery, print, beading etc All of which I made an integral part of my everyday life. The student experience really stirred my passion to start something specifically for the textile industry because the techniques used can crossover into many sectors and you can actually get paid. I want to the realistically ask the questions to students who Looking back over my working life, I perhaps could have nurtured some of those years but it transformed my work ethic and I apply that today. I look at Embellished Talk as a redemption to my previous experiences.
ON HOW SHE TOOK THE LEAP: Each day I was spending working for someone else was day less of living to my full potential. After I qualified to teach English to foreign nationals I realised that I was yearning for another experience. I was in Paris for six months and it was such a good experience plus it stabilised me before coming home to London. And nothing felt like home although travelling to Ghana and exploring my mother’s heritage further solidified my reasoning to embrace textiles even more.
HOW HER HERITAGE HAS INFLUENCED HER: As a thirtysomething, and an avid traveller; I drew interests from my home town of London. Exploring fabric and embroidery shops – That’s’ where most of my money goes! But significantly my culture ties to Ghana & Nigeria, I was able to experience Ghana with my family and boyfriend properly. It felt like home and my heart was content, I was less emotional so everything just felt right to start. My trip to Ghana propelled me toward a new thinking after a melancholic time; I was learning everyday whilst exploring my rich heritage. The opulent fabrics, textiles and the effortlessness of the artisan’s techniques I was fortunate to be surrounded by. I did not want to let go of what I’d grasped so back in London I continued my story in essence through Embellished Talk.
HOW SHE SECURES HER CONTACTS: I’ve always wanted to spark conversation among the textile community so I normally contact textile designers through social media; mainly Instagram and then I’d meet up with them and we’d converse over Skype or phone. I find it empowering after hearing people’s stories of mainly progression. It aids my research database and widens my audience. I also follow their work via their website and we keep in touch via social media. It’s amazing to see what current projects they have going on… That sparks even more conversations!
FUTURE AIMS: In 5 years time I would love to continue our focal point of Embellished Talk, which is talking with one another. We will carry on our conversations and practical help for emerging designers, invest in student’s career & work prospects, to become unrestricted and transparent in our approach. I aim to become a reliable resource for the textile community. I also want to maximise my skills as I try to stich everyday so I would love to sell my prints. I think it’s important to document my journey through this platform for others to be inspired too. I would love to also branch out into the African market and perhaps an in depth exploration into Ghanaian textiles.
KEY WOMEN WHO SHE LOOKS UP TO: I always have women around me who inspire me but I am most motivated by this generation of women with unique stories such as Sophia Amoruso, Founder of Nasty Gal and #GirlBoss – Phoebe Lovatt, Founder of The WW Club, Leandra Medine, Founder of Man Repeller I admire all these ladies because their brands speaks to me. But my all-time person who tops the list is Solange – She is set apart and 10 steps ahead of time. I love that everything she does unapologetically. I aspire to do that with my friends and build a team of embellishment.
HER LOVE OF VINTAGE: Referring back to my time in Paris, where I bought a heap load of vintage items for myself. I love that a fashionable city like Paris have a totally different perspective on vintage. It was so cheap! But realised that when I came back home that it could not fit anywhere ha! So I became a market seller in Spitafields and other markets around London; trading my items to buyers and customers who could house my collectables. I love that somebody’s garment is passed to you and I can continue the story through every seam.
ON INSTAGRAM: I am very consistent with my Instagram, I post every day because I want to raise awareness and remain visible to my community that I am building. I don’t want them to forget me or the story I am telling!
KEYWORD FOR 2017: Flourish – To grow in a luxurious way. I stole that from one of my inspirational women Phoebe Lovatt; the way she explained it resonated with exactly how I want my year to be. I just want to take charge do something that I love!
You can find out more about Embellished Talk here.