Designer Tolu Ojesina’s Gift of Authentic African Fashion Accessories
By Nicole S. Daniel
The Birmingham Times
Tolu Ojesina’s headwear and beanies offer a clear description of who she is and what matches her moods.
“Some patterns are bold and lively. Others are more understated. All are beautiful,” said Ojesina, founder and creative director of Moadacrafts, a collection of African print headwear and beanies.
All of her products are handmade by a 25-year-old seamstress in Nigeria, where Ojesina grew up wearing scarves.
“These are traditional clothes for Africans,” said the owner of the business, who can be found selling her headwear at events across the metropolitan area.
Most recently, Ojesina was at this month’s African Heritage Festival at the Birmingham Museum of Art and the Caribbean American Carnival Festival in Bessemer, Ala.
“African and Caribbean festivals are my favorite because I connect with Africans from the diaspora to the homeland in a very concrete and meaningful way,” she said.
During the appearances, Ojesina teaches about various aspects of African culture, such as clothing, food, coming-of-age rituals, traditional wedding ceremonies, and more. She also discusses the origin of African print fabrics from Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana and other countries.
Ojesina also offers demonstrations on how to fold headgear. Asked about her technique, she said, “Wrapping and folding is all you do. It takes about 20 seconds on average. There are two pieces: one piece is a belt and the other is a cap, and this one doesn’t need to be tied, just wrap it up and tuck it in. »
Headwear has been a timeless fashion trend in the lives of African women for centuries, and its popularity has transcended African culture. Head coverings are stylish and give a stylish look to a woman’s face, come in a variety of colors and are very practical. While many may wear them for fashion reasons, scarves and beanies have become essential for women of color who choose to wear natural hairstyles.
“When I was living in Boston, [Massachusetts], the cold was something fierce,” said Ojesina, who moved to Birmingham in 2015. “I wear my hair natural, and it started falling out and breaking. Headwear was the solution. My natural hair has started to thrive.
Ojesina, who grew up in the West African nation of Nigeria, is one of four siblings; she is the second child. Early on, his parents instilled the virtues of hard work and integrity in the children. “My family wasn’t wealthy, but my siblings and I bonded very well and knew we were loved,” she said, adding that she had a great childhood.
Both of Ojesina’s parents were at home, but her most vivid memories are of her mother’s voice as she sang while cooking. At the age of 10, she started cooking so she could sing like her mother.
Ojesina was a sickly child and her earliest memories go back to hospitals. The visits, although frequent, were pleasant. She would always see a nice pediatrician from India who was her main inspiration to pursue a career as a doctor.
Ojesina earned a medical degree from the University of Lagos in 1998. A few weeks after her marriage, her husband enrolled at Harvard for graduate school and the couple moved to the United States.
In 2008, while Ojesina was still living in Boston, her mother died in Nigeria. “She was the most caring mother ever,” Ojesina said. “She was an old-school primary school teacher, strict discipline.”
To honor her mother’s legacy, Ojesina began designing and creating authentic African print fashion accessories, such as sleeping caps, scarves and bow ties, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. 19 in 2020.
feel like a queen
Moadacrafts headwear is made with African prints in colorful cotton on the outside and soft satin on the inside. Wraps can be used to protect a woman’s head from the heat of the sun and can also be used as a protective style for women with natural hair.
Its cups are unique because they are designed with wide headbands to provide edge control, as well as plenty of room to fit comfortably over large curls and large protective styles like braids. The caps are easy to put on to protect the hair at night or to use as a fashion accessory on a bad hair day. Moadacrafts bonnets are made from 100% satin to seal in and retain moisture in the hair while you sleep. Satin has many benefits, Ojesina explained, as it protects hair from dryness caused by friction between hair and moisture-absorbing materials, such as cotton. The material also keeps hair hydrated and reduces breakage, tangles and thinning.
Hair wraps and sleep caps play an important role in protecting natural curls, braids, and other styles just as much as other products used in a natural hair care routine. In addition to preserving hairstyles, satin headwear and bonnets maintain much-needed moisture in the hair.
“When I wear my headband, I feel like a queen, Nefertiti, and resurrected like the African that I am,” Ojesina said.
For more Moadacrafts headwear and beanies, visit the Facebook store at www.facebook.com/Moadacrafts.