Emmanuella Yiadom-Boakye

FAD is an award-winning charity which supports creative young people through innovative workshops, competitions and specialist careers advice. In the past 20 years since it’s inception, FAD has worked with over 2,000 volunteers to give 9,600 young people, from diverse ethnic, social and economic backgrounds, the skills, support and opportunities they need to overcome obstacles and get ahead.

FAD’s goal is to champion improved diversity and representation and that is the motivation for its flagship project – Fashion Futures.

Fashion Futures is an award-winning, industry-focused fashion programme, which offers underprivileged teenagers residing in London a hands-on insight into the fashion industry. Mentored by experienced fashion professionals, the programme teaches key professional skills including research, design, pattern cutting and garment construction. In addition to this, the programme helps participants develop confidence, stay motivated and harness their creativity.

Monica Hoilett.

This year, 20 of the Fashion Futures participants showcased their collections at London Fashion Week in collaboration with Fashion Scout. Two young ladies emerged winners.

In an interview with Blanck Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief, the recipients of the award for 2018 – Monica Hiolett and Emmanuella Yiadom-Boakye discuss getting selected, challenges faced, and the eventual victory.

Tell me, how do you feel about winning today?

Emmanuella: Oh my Gosh! I feel incredible. Err… A bit overwhelmed. I’m quite surprised. I didn’t think I’d win. I’m just extremely happy.
Monica: I don’t know what to say. I feel honored. I feel really honored. I feel blessed.

 It took you guys 5 intensive days to actually come up with your garments right? How was the experience? How were you able to pull this off?

Monica: I don’t know. I had the support of like, an amazing friend by my side, who I managed to win with as well. People, you know, the whole charity, they were so supportive. Also determination. Because there are so many things that went wrong with my piece, that I had to do over again, but in the end…

Winning designs. Left – Emmanuella’s creation. Right – Monica’s design

How old are you?

Monica: I turned 19 today it’s my birthday

Happy birthday. What birthday gift have you received?Monica: This is a wonderful present for me. I’m going to stop my graphic design as well starting from today.

Were you scared at some point, that because of the setbacks, you might not win?

Monica: No. For the whole process, I wasn’t thinking about winning. I was just thinking about doing my best.

So this has come as a pleasant surprise for you then?Monica: Yeah. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t know my talent, and how amazing what I did was. I knew I did well, and whatever the result was, I knew I did well.

Talk to me about your experience with the whole project, you know, working with the whole FAD team and the volunteers? How has this helped you personally?

Monica: It helped me because, there were times when I was thinking, I can’t do this. I really had moments where I was thinking of not doing this at all. It took up some of my precious time and that was what made me keep on going because it was precious time that was going to help me grow as a person and I put so much amazing effort into what I was doing, that’s what made me keep going at the end of the day. So I knew that the time I was putting in helped me to keep on going.

Emmanuella: My experience has been amazing they’ve been extremely supportive the fashion industry as shown to be this unfriendly group, but that’s the complete opposite. they are so supportive so ready to help you and it doesn’t really matter what stage you are. I didn’t know anything about fashion going in. They were still supportive no matter what stage you’re at and I really appreciated that.

How were you scouted for this? How were you selected as the top finalist? How did you get involved in this project?

Monica: I got involved by my college. They said that every single year, they put people in for the fashion competition for charity. I just happened to sign up and I got in.

Give me a quick background about your heritage?Monica: My background is Jamaican and English. I’m just really into positivity and self loving. Just loving yourself, that’s something I really wanted to do. It was kind of a reflection of what my style is. I had a black woman with a beautiful Afro and that is just something I stand for, just being yourself I don’t know if I’m going too deep.


About the collections that you showcased tonight, how did you come about the collection? what were your influences? where do you where did you get your inspiration from?

Monica: (Didn’t really hear what she said) and then it got better from there. I don’t know if you seen my piece but if you look at it is it’s got a leopard’s face on the front of it it’s very subtle but it was based off of that. It looks like an armored jacket. It supports my idea of self love and just empowering yourself and all that.
Emmanuella: I loved it because I love designing, finding inspiration from anything. My gowns are an ode to Ghanaian culture, I am Ghanaian. That’s what I loved about them, and I stitched the hem as well.


That’s amazing. if you want to think if you want to think back, what would you say is that unique quality about you/your design that actually made you win tonight?
Monica: I think it was that it started off being not as meaningful but then I related it to something that’s important to me, something that I really really care about. I don’t know if that was the same for anyone else but me with everything I mean I wanted to be important and mean something I guess. that’s one thing.

Emmanuella: Because my work was bold and authentic to me. I’m not saying that the others weren’t, but my work was a real representation of my heritage


Have you always wanted to be in fashion? Is fashion what you have always dreamed of in terms of your future? Do you see a future in fashion?

Monica: I’ll be honest with you. Fashion is something I’ve wanted to really go into and I’m so sure about it. I’m not going to lie right now right now my main thing is art. I’m an artist. I’m more of a painter. I design things, that’s my honest truth but the whole fashion thing I will definitely going to do because I knew that I have a gift for it.

Emmanuella: I’m not sure what specifically I want to do, but I want to get into fashion full time.


What is the one thing you are going to take away from this experience?

Emmanuella: definitely to be bold and not be afraid to do what you want to do but also like ask for help when you need it and just be determined

If you were to talk to all the young people that also have dreams in the hope of making their dreams come true, what would you say to them?

Emmanuella: I would say definitely don’t be afraid, have some faith in what you make. You know, even if some people don’t agree with your vision you should have complete faith in what you want to do and the right people who have faith in it.

Do you have any final words of gratitude

Monica: I want to say my biggest thank you to obviously the charity that helps but also to Emmanuella that was that was by my side the whole time. I’m just glad she won as well.

Emmanuella: I want to say thank you to Franka Joanne, Maria and all the other kids who were selected and my family.

Amazing. Did you guys meet during the show or were you friends before the show?

Monica: No, we don’t know each other, we didn’t even talk to each other in the first part, until when we got through to the final round. We were just drawn to each other and we spoke every weekend then we also lived around the same area that was very weird as well.


All Images via FAD

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