‘NEVER LET ANYONE DETER YOU FROM YOUR CRAFT’ – Theresa Oghenetejiri Enemua, City and Islington Sixth Form College.

Dionne Ahmadou-Powell, 32, is a mixed-race female who is a wife and a mother of two who also resides in South East London. She loves to make bespoke outfits for weddings and special occasions and has started her own business called ‘Sew Blessed By Dionne’, she loves taking long walks, especially along the riverside and she likes photography. 

Dionne’s passion for designing started in Year Nine when she was just a 13-year-old. According to Dionne “When I was around 13 years old, I started sewing bags out of old denim jeans and then I’d go into shops such as New Look and Primark and they would have stuff that I liked but they didn’t seem to fit my body, especially my arms. So, I stated making my own clothes that had long sleeves so I could have clothes that fit and from there it became a big passion of mine to make my own clothes” In Year Nine, Dionne remembers making a whole big project with a huge folder, researching different designers etc. She gave it to her career’s teacher. However, she instantly discouraged her (after telling her that project was amazing and could be deemed as A* work) by saying that “I must tell you that not many people make it in this industry so you are better off looking for something that is more doable” and from that moment Dionne decided that she won’t continue stirring up her passion and gift for designing and sewing. 

Since, Dionne decided that she won’t sew anymore, she ended up going to University to study Film and Television Production BSc at West Kent College for two years and then University of Greenwich for one. She made programmes, music videos, interviews etc. She also did a Person of Interest piece on a male of African descent. She remembers following him to Folkestone, Kent to do an episode which was a ‘Day in the Life of’ which is no where related to her sewing passion. At the age of 26, Dionne returned to her first love for sewing after being discouraged by the over price top that she wanted to wear to a church wedding. After hearing the ridiculous price, Dionne went home and decided to make an attempt on the design she wanted. Her design came to life better than she expected. It was that pivotal moment that made her realise that she can make her won outfits and designs. She wore her dress to wedding and people were stunned by her creation. Within a few months after that wedding, she had a customer who placed an order for a dress. The education system currently doesn’t really give young people the emphasis to follow their dreams and desires for performing, creative and visual arts, as its not seem by the UK Government as the best option to follow. Hence why, not a lot of funding and effort is put into subjects which fall in those three categories. Effort is the gone into traditional subjects like: English, Maths, French etc. and unfortunately, it may not be someone’s destiny to follow that course or life choice till their dying day. 

Dionne’s biggest inspiration is her mother, who used to make her clothes when she was younger. “She’d make mine and my sisters clothes and when I look back now, i’m like mum, why would you put us in these in jumpsuits in multi-coloured material. But actually, it was quite cool and I wished that she had kept them because to be able to say I make clothes for my kids is quite and achievement. I love making dresses for Abigail and shirts for JJ and its quite and achievement to say as a parent that I made that so I guess she is my biggest inspiration in the sewing field, because you can have designers who can design for designing sake but you can actually say that some people do it because they actually care”

Dionne’s advice to the younger generation who are interested in designing is “DO IT! There are so many resources out there like YouTube where you can learn and that wasn’t around when I was thirteen. There is a big advantage for younger people now where everything can be accessed through your fingertips. You don’t want to get to that point in your life where you regret and say things like ‘I wish I done this when I was younger’.

Dionne’s last piece of advice is that “never let anyone deter you from your craft, always take your time, make lots of lists, be organised and its trial and error so just have fun with it!”

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Author: Shirley