From a young age, I always knew that I wanted to be able to make my own decisions for my future and to inspire people, so being my own boss was always on the cards. It was important to me to have the freedom of choice and to be able to know that I would not have to depend on someone else’s vision and future. I also started a business because I wanted to be able to empower and inspire more people that being an entrepreneur is possible.
After years in education, teaching children from the ages of 3 to 15 years old, being part of the development of an educational programme used in UK Government schools and becoming a Director of a private tuition company. I knew that although I loved educating children I couldn’t hold back the desire to pursue another lifelong passion of mine to pursue a career in design and running my own business. During my maternity leave for my daughter, and coupled with my self-taught private design work increasing. I decided, that instead of returning back to education it was time to take the leap of faith and start my own business. I knew that I wanted to use my creative talents to empower people and to be different.
I always knew that I wanted to use my creative talents to empower people and to be different than everyone else. So, I first decided to create EBYAK due to the lack of attention to menswear; especially by a female designer – Less than 14% representation. I knew that because of this I wanted to challenge and change the misconceptions of a menswear label run by a female founder and fashion designer. Not only was it important to me that I challenged the stereotypes and changed the status quo that women can also design for men, just as much as men are known to design for women. I also wanted to represent forward-thinking positive change and to inspire other female founders and designers too.
The very popular and much-loved ‘street-style’ inspired clothing is becoming the second largest contributor to the cause of land-fill waste and environmental issues, due to its popular rise and because of some of its fast-fashion processes. Knowing this made me want to start my mission in changing these negative effects by offering a better and on-trend alternative. I set out to design the UK’s first men’s sustainable streetwear line titled – “The Collection” that was also not only stylish but sustainable, vegan-friendly and Pet Approved too – a first of its kind.
I hope that not only will I be able to breakdown the barriers women face within the ‘male-centric’ menswear industry but that EBYAK and “The collection” will help towards solving a bigger environmental problem too. The Collection consists of 30+ modern design pieces ranging from premium constructed t-shirts to sport-luxe style hoodies. All the garments showcased are made using 100% certified organic cotton, GM-Free, and animal-free materials and they are hand-finished in the UK using low ink waste technology.
Starting a business is challenging but taking your own small steps can lead to big amazing new ones! My advice is to think lean, think smart and find something you’ll do for free so when times are hard you’ll still bounce off your bed and start the day!
“All we have is now so inspire, create and just be you” Ashlea Atigolo
Ashlea Atigolo is a British Men's Fashion Designer, Website Designer, AI Developer, and Entrepreneur. Her passion and dedication in using fashion as a way to empower people and the environment through sustainable statement pieces are perfectly presented in her vision for an innovative and distinctive menswear line with EBYAK.@ebyakofficial