Years ago, I went to visit my best friend in Indiana, United States, and coincidentally, her children were having their cultural day in school. Her mother and I were responsible for showing her children and their classmates Nigeria’s rich culture, and aside the beads grandma brought from Benin, Nigeria, there was also gele available. We did our best tying for the girls in the class, and they all loved it. Truth is, as happy and as excited as they were, not one of the several ones we tied looked anything close to Taiwo Adebiyi’s type.
Who is Taiwo Adebiyi and what is Taiwo Adebiyi’s type? You ask? Well, Taiwo Adebiyi is the CEO and Lead Stylist of Taiwo’s Touch International, and his company specialises in the art of styling the Nigerian headgear known as gele, catering to individuals worldwide.
In 2017, Taiwo burst onto the scene. The young man possesses exceptional skills in the art of tying gele, displaying his mastery and finesse in this traditional Nigerian headgear.
Talk about precision and expertise, Taiwo seamlessly transforms yards of that fabric into a beautifully sculpted masterpiece that gracefully adorns the wearer’s head.
Curious to see him in action, I was delighted to see the videos he sent to me when I reached out to him to hear him tell me of his love for the art of gele tying.
It’s in how he maneuvers his hands deftly, easily manipulating the fabric, showing the artistry in making of the intricate folds. Then check out the twists and pleats, done with outstanding dexterity. For the design that requires knots and tucks, he does it effortlessly, and the final result is a head-turning fabulously styled gele.
It is certainly not a surprise that he has tied gele for the likes of H.E Nana Shettima, Oludolapo Osinbajo, Folorunsho Alakija, Folashade Okoya, Bella Disu, Bola Shagaya, Olori Shekinat Elegushi, Olori Ivie Emiko-Atuwatse, Mo Abudu, Tiwa Savage, Toke Makinwa, Omotola Ekeinde to mention a few.
One distinct skill Taiwo possesses is his ability to know what style of gele fits different faces, shapes, and head sizes. His attention to detail extends to understanding the nuances of each individual’s features.
From regal and voluminous to sleek and modern with an aura of tradition, Taiwo’s clients always come out fabulous!
In summary, this young man’s outstanding gele tying skills encompass technical mastery, creative flair, adaptability, and excellent client service. His talent and dedication elevate him to the ranks of the finest gele stylists, leaving a lasting impression on all who have the privilege of experiencing his artistry.
The gele is a head tie worn mostly by women in Nigeria and West Africa. It is popular amongst the Yoruba-speaking people, but its easy adaptability has made it a favourite even with non-speaking Yorubas.
It is inspiring to see how well Taiwo has embraced his craft, and how he is serving us as we demand.
Originally based in Lagos State, Nigeria, Taiwo’s enterprise has expanded its reach across the entire country and even ventured outside the shores of Nigeria such as the United Kingdom, Italy, Kenya, Ghana, and the Benin Republic. He has become the go-to stylist for various occasions, including weddings, birthdays, award ceremonies, and corporate events.
On why the decision to follow this passion diligently and his parents’ opinion, speaking exclusively with Women’s Hub, he said “I like beautifying women. It’s a passion of mine. My dad never knew I could tie gele because he always wanted me to be a Lawyer. I started by tying my mum’s gele as a child, and I could also braid hair since my childhood, but my dad would always wonder why I cared about beautifying women like I did.” Taiwo stated.
Trust me when I say he kicked off this profession officially on the right note. How do you get to tie the gele of Africa’s leading media mogul, Mo Abudu, CEO Ebonylife Group, and in ‘local’ English parlance ‘you no go blow?’ Like…how?
“My first was Mo Abudu, CEO Ebonylife Group, and I’m grateful to God to have come this far. Getting the opportunity to tie the headgear of celebrities, CEOs, business moguls, politicians across Nigeria and now all over the world, this is such a huge privilege that I don’t take for granted, and I am motivated to achieve more” Adebiyi revealed.
Ask Taiwo what makes his gele tying unique, and with a stint of pride without airs, he would readily tell you “My style is classy and elegant. It is very different from others, and when you see my handwork, you can just tell the difference.”
What makes Taiwo’s story even more endearing is that, as previously stated, he has gone international. He attributes this feat to his dedication to his gifts when he says “The bible says in Proverbs 18:16-17, that a man’s gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men. Gele tying has taken me around the world to UK, Ghana, Italy, Kenya, and Morocco to name a few. It has also expanded my network and I’m just beyond grateful for the opportunity.”
If you think you are a big dreamer, Taiwo has got his dream too. Guess whose gele he wishes to tie next? Hear him mention them “I want to tie gele for Pastor Folu Adeboye. I would also love to tie gele for Beyonce, Kim Kardashian’s family, The First Lady of Nigeria Oluremi Tinubu and Queen Camilla.”
With these few bold words of his, in the words of my American friend, “Kemi, I ain’t playing”, permit me to say, as long as Taiwo’s wish list is concerned, he ain’t playing!
Indeed, you are allowed to dream and dream big! You lose nothing for dreaming and you don’t pay taxes for dreaming (But when your dream materializes, when you start making money, pay your tax!)
To the youths who are willing to dare to dream, Taiwo has this message for you.
“My advice to any youth is that they should first work on themselves to be the best at whatever they are doing. Then they should work on having a positive mental attitude toward the opinions of others and never let opinions kill their dreams, visions, and purpose. They should see challenges as opportunities and stepping stones to greater things.
As a youth who wants to earn a living with their gifts, make sure you are selling value not skills because anything that’s valuable will be bought at any price, just the way the price is not on the metal, but the price is on the value which is gold (the refined metal). Don’t get drowned by your humble beginnings because all great things start small.”
When you are male, young, gifted and intelligent, with such apt and smart responses, even when you confirm to me you aren’t Taiwo Adebiyi, I will tell you, you sound just like him.
With a strong presence both locally and internationally, coupled with his extensive social media following, ‘Taiwo’s Touch’ is poised to maintain its position as one of the foremost leaders in gele styling within the Nigerian fashion industry.
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