“My name is Oluwatobiloba Kolawale-Olutade; I tend to shorten it to Tobi Olutade because that’s a mouthful. I make awesome attires and clean up the environment. I am a freelance digital project manager, a multifaceted designer, and the founder of Revival & Resurrection. I utilize Nigerian solid waste through conceptual, experimental design, basically creating statement pieces that look great!”
Tobi believes Nigeria has an urgent waste problem that could lead to new and severe health risks if ignored.
“What if I told you, Lagos alone produces 14 to 15 tonnes of plastic waste a day, not a week, not a month, A day! Now imagine it raining in Lagos, people driving and walking through flooded roads dodging traffic and waste at the same time, it is chaotic, and this issue is affecting the livelihood of Lagosians.”
Her Revival & Resurrection is an eco-friendly fashion brand that uses design as a powerful tool for enhancing social and environmental change. Established in 2019, R&R is creatively up-cycles and recycles Nigeria’s solid waste into statement designs while preserving traditional African craftsmanship.
Having left a career in politics to pursue the R&R passion because she felt something was missing, she is in fashion full time now. She believes the void has been filled since R&R is tackling social, environmental issues through its fair production system. Politics is still very much in her system, though, since R&R creates awareness on environmental issues that are not being addressed.
Why politics and not fashion? “I guess I get it all from my mother; if you go to the first post on the R&R page, you will see a picture of my mom modeling back in the day. She was a fashion icon, a guru, and she was very into the fashion scene.”
“She used to translate her confidence and values through how she dressed; she was very stylish, making a statement every time and using her charisma to challenge societal norms. But being an opinionated woman can be a lonely road; despite feminist movements and social progression, there is still a lot that needs to be done,” she says.
“Let’s take a look at the recycling industry in Nigeria which is a very male-dominated field. Picture me in a room full of men sometimes when I speak, the men do that thing where they think it’s okay to speak over you because you are a young woman, but I am quick to correct them, “no, I was speaking”.
How does she fight the bias in the industry?
“By being unapologetically me. If I am taking up space in a room, that means the space was available, and I am not going to apologize for that.” – Tobi