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Topshop's next chapter

Denim has always been at the heart of Topshop – as has supporting the best emerging talent. So, it's no surprise that Wuzzy Omiyale's patchwork denim creations caught our eye when they blew up on socials last year. The result is the just-dropped Topshop x By.Wuzzy collab – a limited-edition, three-piece collection of handmade styles crafted from Topshop denim offcuts.


For Londoner Wuzzy, fashion is a family affair. Her mother and 90-year-old grandmother are both tailors (the latter still runs her shop in Nigeria), and her great-grandmother was a fabric weaver. Little wonder then, that Wuzzy chose to study at London College of Fashion before going on to start her own label, By.Wuzzy. Last month, we dropped by her North London studio to have a chat and see the design process in action. Read on for what she had to say about getting started in her career, working with denim, and getting insider tips from the Topshop design team...

Wuzzy Omiyale Headshot

By Wuzzy - Wuzzy Omiyale sewing

Can you tell us a little about your story and By.Wuzzy?

I studied at London College of Fashion and graduated in 2019. After uni, I was feeling kind of discouraged and didn’t think I’d carry on with fashion. But then the pandemic happened and no one was hiring, so I thought, let me just do my own thing and see where it goes… I was buying more and more vintage stuff (especially jeans), and one day I just made a denim corset. By.Wuzzy was born! 

What made you want to get into designing in the first place – can you tell us about that journey?


In the past, I was into more traditional tailoring. My mum’s a tailor with her own business, my grandma’s a tailor, and my great-grandma was a fabric weaver. I was used to working with a roll of fabric – so making something out of a pair of old jeans was kind of foreign to me, but something fun I could learn. So I did that, put it on Instagram and it blew up. It happened really organically.


So fashion is in your blood, really. Can you tell us some more about the history there?


My grandparents came to the UK from Nigeria and my grandmother worked as a tailor in Soho. My mum would tell me stories about going to work with her and sewing together. Then they moved back to Nigeria and my grandmother opened her own shop – now she’s 90, and she still has it!


What’s the most valuable thing they’ve taught you?


 I would say precision – getting it right. But also, being yourself. My mum would tell me all the time, ‘No one will be the same, so just do you.'

Wuzzy Omiyale in her studio

By.Wuzzy work

What and who inspires you the most?


Inspiration comes from what I see around me: sometimes social media; I used to go to libraries a lot; and I collect fashion magazines when I travel. I get so much inspiration from going to different places. 


Why did you choose to work with denim in particular?


The main reason when I started was that I didn’t like sewing flimsy fabrics. I prefer sewing fabric that’s more rigid. But also, I just love denim. I was a Jamie jean girl! At one point I had soooo many pairs of Jamie jeans, in all different colours – I was that girl.


You only have to look at your designs to see the work that goes into them – they’re all one-of-a-kind, handmade pieces. Can you talk us through your process?


I think of a design in my head and make the pattern from scratch. Then, as I’m sewing, I’ll change the design as I go. It’s a different route to a lot of designers, because I don’t draw. From the outside it seems harder, but for me it just makes so much sense. Ideas come to me as I go through the process.

By.Wuzzy X Topshop Corset

By.Wuzzy X Topshop Jacket

Can you tell us about the pieces you’ve made with Topshop?


I knew the corset was going to be a part of it – but as an elevated version of my bestseller. I wanted to do something that was different and stay away from traditional blue denim – so we went with these grey and brown tones. The jeans were something I’ve never done before, but I wanted to do something completely different for the collab. Then, the jacket is the second jacket I’ve made. It’s patchwork and reversible. It’s all beautiful – I’m so happy.


What was the process like? 


I've loved it! There's been a lot of support – we’ve had meetings sharing insights and advice on what I can do next. As a small business, you get worried about working with bigger brands, but I love that Topshop wants to help emerging designers like me.