Pinch us, it happened. A historical moment in our young brand’s life: we did our first fashion show!
On February 19th 2022, we turned heads at London Fashion Week in collaboration with Fashions Finest, an inclusive and diverse platform for graduates and emerging designers, that’s been running since 2010.
Is it all smooth sailing behind the scenes? Let’s rewind…
A day in the life at London Fashion Week
1pm - Step into the scene
Storm Eunice may be tearing through London, but it’s not stopping us. We arrive at St John’s Church, Hyde Park Cresent, its stained glass windows and towering ceilings give us a breathtaking respite from the rain.
Chairs are being placed in neat rows, creating a runway from the alter and for the first time, it starts to feel very real.
Excitement, nerves… all of the emotions are building for our founder, Bola, and her sister (AKA dedicated assistant for the day!), Tumi.
Sound familiar? Toomey & Koko is a spin on one of the many nicknames Tumi and Bola were given as children. In fact, all of our pieces are named with significance, which you can read more about in this blog post.
1.20pm - Clothes
We gather our looks and hang them on rails to the back of the church, to see our Adire fabric in all its handmade glory.
Designers, assistants, volunteers and staff whizz around, and we group our bold clothes by look in preparation for their first model fitting. It’s not long now. Will everything fit?
Music blasts from the speakers, filling the grand space (and us!) with excitement. But the fittings are running behind. It’s fashionable to be late, right?
Thanks to Fashions Finest, those showcasing are given models, makeup artists and hairstylists, a dream come true for an emerging brand like us.
2.15pm - The backstage buzz builds
Our fitting was meant to be at 1.45pm but they’re not ready yet. We take the opportunity to soak it all in.
“I’m running through the looks in my mind, trying to see how it will all fit together and troubleshoot any potential problems.” It’s a big moment for Bola.
2.30pm - Fitting time!
The moment of truth; our fitting is called.
Backstage is a whirlwind of energy. Clothes are being tried on, fitted and their lineups agreed. Bola has the blinkers on; it’s focus time. Our clothes must look their BEST!
Deep breaths as the models line up, they look just as fierce as we could have ever hoped. We switch up the order to get it just right. The Odogbulu Blazer Dress, Ife Trousers and Eko Blazer, the Bodija Over the Shoulder Top all need their moment to shine, and we add a simple strappy gladiator heel to bring it together with a fiery attitude.
3-6.30pm - Checks and more checks
Does everyone have their outfit? Is the order right? Have we missed anything?
It’s a waiting game as the teams prep, steam, and organise. It’s the calm before the storm!
But the energy is high and smiles are out in full force, we’re all here to celebrate our difference. The models take to the runway now to rehearse and wow, we can’t wait for the show to start.
6.30pm - T-1 hour until showtime
The last-minute rush is upon us as Bola heads backstage for the designer briefing. Just one more check.
Seats start to fill up with influencers, singers, buyers and the VIP of the day; Muyiwa, Bola’s mum!
Excitement may be building throughout the church, but backstage? It’s chaos.
7.34pm - Organised chaos
Did we really think we’d start on time? Of course not!
This is the final chance to make changes now, as the lights dim and the music fills the room.
7.45pm - SHOWTIME
This is it.
The show is a blur of emotion. One by one, designers send their creations out onto the runway to face the crowds.
4th up, it’s us.
To a soundtrack of Savannah by DCQ BEATZ, our models strut the runway in our debut collection and now it’s Bola’s time to walk, hand in hand with our showstopper look: the Ikeja Wrap Top and Ilesa Flare Trousers. A power combo to leave a lasting impression.
(Credit: Fashions Finest. Makeup: Academy of Freelance Makeup Artists (AOFM) lead #mua Mandy Gakhal. Hair: Amy Tasker, Annie Berry. Nails: Julie Bryan & team. Creative Director: Tanya Beresford. Lead stylist: Leighanne Krystal. Assistant Stylist: Raahim Khan. Student Stylists: College of North West London. Photographer: Gokhan Goksoy)
Cheers erupt to celebrate our show! This is a moment that we’ll never, ever, forget.
9.30pm - And just like that, it’s all over
What a rollercoaster!
Emotions run high as the show ends. There’s so much love in the room for the diverse talent we’ve all just seen. Friends, family, Muyiwa, everyone is beaming with pride.
In Bola’s words: “Being able to present my premiere collection at London Fashion Week is a dream come true, and I’m so grateful to be given the platform on Fashions Finest to do so.
“The whole experience has been overwhelmingly positive and a chance to bring Toomey & Koko to a new audience. And through these amazing fabrics and designs, show a bit of “African Magic” to everyone.”
For a full rundown of each and every designer that showed on the day, head to the Fashions Finest website (spoiler alert: the photos are amazing).
We’d like to give a huge thanks to all of those involved in making our debut show, with our debut collection, a reality. And to you, we couldn’t do it without you.
Bring on the next show!