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.
From a young age, Ashlea always knew that she wanted to be able to make her own decisions for her future and to inspire people, so being her own boss was always on the cards. It was important to her to have the freedom of choice and to be able to know that she would not have to depend on someone else’s vision and future. Starting a business is challenging however for Ashlea she really 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. Ashlea knew that although she loved educating children she couldn’t hold back the desire to pursue another lifelong passion and pursue a career in design and running her own business. During her maternity leave for her daughter, and coupled with her self-taught private design work increasing. Ashlea decided, that instead of returning back to education it was time to take the leap of faith and start her own business. She knew that she wanted to use her creative talents to empower people and to be different.
Ashlea always knew that she wanted to use her creative talents to empower people and to be different than everyone else. So, she first decided to create EBYAK due to the lack of attention to menswear; especially by a female designer – Less than 14% representation. She knew that because of this she 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 her that she 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. She 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 her want to start her mission in changing these negative effects by offering a better on-trend alternative. She 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 Peta Approved too – a first of its kind.
Ashlea hopes that not only will she 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! Ashlea’s three key advice rules are to think lean, think smart and find something you’ll do for free so when times are hard you’ll still want to bounce off your bed and start the day!
“All we have is now so inspire, create and just be you” Ashlea Atigolo