Fashion Feature with the founder of Runway Dubai, Modupe Omonze.
Tell us a bit about yourself
My name is Modupe Omonze; I am from Lagos, Nigeria. I am a fashion designer who creates pieces to tell stories about my love for the arts and culture. I have been fortunate to have lived in different parts of the world and studied other people’s culture; this has influenced my designs greatly.
I studied fashion design extensively in Trinidad and Tobago, where my graduation pieces were featured in popular Trinidadian newspapers. This was the beginning of my journey in the fashion industry.
How did Runway Dubai come about?
Runway Dubai started soon after I moved to Dubai. I noticed that there was not a single platform in the fashion industry that supported emerging talent and the creative industry in general. I knew it was my responsibility to bridge the gap, so I took a course in Event Management in the U.K to acquire knowledge on a professional level.
What is the vision and mission of Runway Dubai?
Our vision is to create a hub in the UAE for local and international artists, fashion designers, and creative people to find a common and easily accessible platform that allows them express themselves creatively. On the other hand, our mission is to harmonise humanity with creativity.
Where do you gather your inspiration for Runways?
Every year, I focus on one social challenge that will have an impact on the industry. The people around me that I meet on a day-to-day basis are my source of inspiration. I listen carefully to what is going on around me, it helps me a lot in creating original campaigns.
Tell us about some of your previous campaigns
We proudly presented the Down Syndrome Campaign with Madeline Stuart, a professional model with down syndrome during the Runway Dubai Season 4 show. Our main objective was to highlight the importance of diversity in the fashion industry. We also showcased the importance of confidence and self-belief in women through the mentorship of tennis champion Venus Williams. We have highlighted the Alopecia Campaign with Kimberly Carey, a model with alopecia who led the campaign by speaking on the importance of finding strength through life’s challenges.
Season 6 presented a wonderful opportunity to highlight the autism spectrum with international model with autism, Natalie Oden, who was presented an award as the spokesperson of the year. Natalie is an inspiring model and actress who keeps pushing boundaries.
What is your favourite part about putting together a show?
My favourite part is seeing the designer’s creations come alive on the runway. For me, this is the true meaning of joy. I enjoy the creativity in bringing everyone together and seeing them interact, making lifelong relationships.
What other ventures are you involved with other than Runway Dubai.
Since I'm passionate about globally responsible initiatives, I have launched the fashion sustainability summit- a platform that raises awareness and helps place the fashion industry amongst the top responsibly active industries. We have carried out seminars and practical exercises across the region since the launch of this platform. We have succeeded in initiating schools to strive to contribute to an eco-friendlier world by joining our on-going campaign.
What did you learn from your biggest failure?
I have learned to try continuously. I learned that giving up should never be an option.
If you could change one thing in the fashion industry, what would you change and why?
I would change the negative impact that the fashion industry has experienced through the years with regards to unethical practices and environmental pollution. We have a lot of compassionate people in the industry who keep creating opportunities for change.
How has social media impacted your business?
Social media was made for creative people who love to express themselves and inspire others as well. My social media platforms are one of the secrets to my success, where I design positive campaigns and interact with people.
What can guests look forward to in the next edition of Runway Dubai?
The campaign for 2020 is highlighting the beauty in our differences. Models from all over the world with vitiligo will be on the platform emphasising on their confidence in being unique. This will break a record. Vitiligo is the ultra-modern look in the fashion industry as we keep embracing diversity.
What is that one quote you live by?
The ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world are the ones who do- a quote by John McAfee.
Learn more about Modupe and Runway Dubai: