- LAGOS Fashion Designer KEHINDE OLAYIWOLA Tells City People His Story
On Thursday 19th July 2018, the unveiling and dedication of Kenny Jones Designs ultra-modern showroom took place in Abuja. The brand new showroom is located at 32, Libreville Street, Off Aminu Kano Crescent, Wuse 2, Abuja.”
It was a colourful event, as many men of God, businessmen and politicians stormed the event. The man behind the Kenny Jones brand, Kehinde Olayiwola revealed how he had waited on the Lord for the past few years for directions on when to open the Abuja showroom. “I have been praying to God for months and I was expecting to hear from him and when it came late last year, God asked us to go ahead this year to set it up.
How you would know that the Lord is great is because I did not take any loan or borrow money to do this new show room. Its all from our savings”.
On why he decided to open the Abuja showroom, he said it is to cater to his customers in Abuja and up North. “For quite sometime now our customers have been disturbing us to come closer to them in Abuja.”
We have been ready to go to Abuja for close to 10 years but we had to wait on the Lord. Gods time is the best. So we had to wait before we opened the Abuja branch.”
“What does the Abuja showroom offer its customers? “We offer a lot of clothes,”, he said. “If you go into our showroom you will see a lot of beautiful designs, Kaftans and natives. We also have lovely corporate suits. Whatever you want in Lagos you will get in our Abuja showroom. We have replicated what we have in Lagos in Abuja.
The only thing is that our factory is in Lagos. When our Abuja clients walk into the showroom they can pick what, they see and if they have specific orders to make our staff will take their orders, measurement or fabrics and they send them to Lagos.”
“I frequent Abuja at least once a week to attend to customers its God that directed me on how to do it. I have been praying to God about it and he answered last year that we should go ahead. We went to Abuja when God said we should.”
The roll call of guests was impressive. Vice President Osinbajo sent two representatives Gen. Ayoola commissioned the showroom.
Hon. Olugbemi came from Ibadan. Hon. Kayode Opeifa was there Hon. Adaranijo, the Agege House of Reps constituency representative came. Deji Hassan was MC. Others in dude Mr. Ife Oyedele, Oye Twins from Lagos.
Kenny Jones is a popular Lagos fashion label, which caters to many celebrity customers. Kehinde Layiwola is the face behind Kenny Jones. He designs for very many great men of God like Evangelist Ebenezer Obey, Bishop David Oyedepo, KICC Pastor Mathew Ashimolowo, Pastor Kalejaiye of Redeemed Church, Pastor Wale Adefarasin and many more. He also designs for Vice-President Osinbajo. He designs all his major traditional outfits. But he usually does not make noise about it. He will never tell you who he sews for. He is quiet about it. He is a cool and calm person.
Kenny Jones attributes all Glory and Honour to God because according to him, “without God I don’t think I can achieve all I have achieved today. I also give thanks to all the men of God that have always been there for me. Their words of advice and encouragement help me in no small way.
“Let me mention some of the inspiring words that have impacted my life may be you too can learn something from it. They have all been a source of blessing to my life.”
Bishop David Oyedepo once told me not to pray for money but to always pray for wisdom.
Baba Obey as you all know, gave me the name Kenny Jones of the universe. He once told me that if I am receiving (50,000) and I can not save out of it, when I start receiving (500,000), I will not be able to save anything. He made a Yoruba proverb “Omi tere tere l’ondibu” meaning –little drops of water makes an ocean.
Pastor Kalejaiye told me when we were dedicating our show room in 2011 that “If I am loaded I will be needed” that I should prepare and load myself everyday so that I would be needed and he also prayed for me that day and my life has never remained the same.
Pastor Wale Adefarasin taught me how to love and pray for my nation. One day I was with him and he asked me, Kenny are you praying for Nigeria? He didn’t ask me whether I am praying for myself. Since then my mentality changed, concerning my dear country in terms of prayer.
Pastor Paul Adefarasin once called me and when I got there he said, “Kenny sit down, I want to talk to you.” That was in 2012. He said “Experience is in 21 days and normally I am very busy with no time to waste. But he said, do you know that you must not fail Christ because you are an ambassador for Christ and that if you think like a tailor, you will drive the car tailor drives, you will raise the child a tailor raises. By now, I want you to think as an entrepreneur, like the Chairman of a Multinational and International business man. For three days I couldn’t sleep and uptill now I have not recovered from that word.
Pastor Mathew Ashimolowo gave me some international connections.
Pastor Femi Paul, the Pastor of Grace Assembly is a person I met who made and opened my eyes to more details on my job because he is a man of details. I want to throw this challenge to my colleagues. Anybody that is qualified as a good designer that can sew for him the first time without amending such cloth I will give such person (N500,000) cash through Pastor Femi Paul.
He is not a complainer but a details person because he will show you an obvious mistake that you didn’t pay attention to. Sometimes when I worship with them I don’t feel like going home again.
Last November, Taiwo & Kenny Olayiwola celebrated their 45th birthday and 25th anniversary of Kehinde’s fashion label Kenny Jones. “I still remember how I started 25 years ago”, explained Kenny Jones. “I started by sewing suits then. I used to sew suits for men and skirts suits for women.”
“My journey started at 13/14, Oyewole road, Araromi area of Iyana Ipaja in those good old days. Then I moved to work at 58, Opebi road, at Jendors Place owned by Oga Jendor. They call him Jide of Jendor. I did my IT there for 1 year.”
“After IT, I went to work at 21, Ola Ayeni Street, Ikeja, close to Fela’s former shrine at Computer Village for some months. I then went on to set up my own. I started my own fashion label. The journey has not been easy. So challenging it was that some of those who started with us have left because they could not cope. That we are still in it is becuase of the grace of God and Mercy of God. Our beginning was rough. The hardship that we experienced, made it difficult for us to even eat 3 square meals.
It was a big problem. We lived in a single room at Gowon Estate with 5 of our friends. Despite all these predicaments, we still created time to praise God with our voices and instruments. Praising God is our secret to success”.
City People can authoritatively reveal that Kehinde and Taiwo come from a humble background. They are not privileged to have wealthy parents who can easily finance their education but they developed themselves through the teaching and impartation of undiluted words they received from Evangelist Ebenezer Obey and Bishop David Oyedepo.
And these helped them to re-shape their lives and today Kenny Jones has become a household name that designs fabrics for the great minds in and outside the shores of Nigeria and his twin brother, Tiawo, is an outstanding talking drummer. He is also doing great as an interior furniture decorator. They debuted with an album entitled PRAISE GOD two years ago. And now they have a brand new one titled GOD BLESS NIGERIA. They are innovative composers with ability to draw from traditional Nigerian sounds.
When he became City People Fashion Designer of the Year, he thanked all these men of God.
Kenny Jones’ passion for God and his respect for anointed men of God, many of whom he designs for, is common knowledge. He talks about God and the men of God he knows closely, all the time.