From lawyer to designer: one student’s global journey to hone her passion

Thu, Dec 12, 2019

Kwantlen Polytechnic University student Rita Nwokolo has a pretty impressive resume. She has lived and travelled around the world, obtained a few degrees and worked in fields that are very different from one another.


Now she’s embarking on another journey, one that she believes will make a difference to active women or women in sports.


I have always been very interested in apparel design from when I was a child but studying that was not an option available at the time.


It’s a story many students can relate to: her parents were both lawyers and wanted the same for her. So, she obtained her law degrees and worked in corporate law in Nigeria. But she didn’t give up on her passion. She also studied fashion marketing and fashion design in London.


While doing that I discovered functional apparel – i.e. athleisure – and that was when I developed an interest in this field because it is basically being able to design for the future.”


After studying on two different continents, Nwokolo says she wanted to be truly international.


“I specifically applied to Wilson School of Design because it has an impeccable reputation in the functional apparel industry and offers a good blend of theory and experience.”


But along with starting at a new university in a new city pursuing a new career, there were challenges to being a mature student.


“It was certainly difficult because I had worked so hard to attain a certain position and having to start all over again was a daunting task. However, the truth is that when there is a will there is always a way. My decision was strengthened by my determination to pursue my dreams of becoming an apparel designer.”


On Friday, December 13, 2019, Nwokolo, along with six other students will present their final designs at the Technical Apparel Design Grad show at the Wilson School of Design.


Nwokolo has created a bra for women with large breasts who play high impact sports.


KPU design grad Rita Nwokolo has created a bra for women with large breasts who play high impact sports.
“I discovered that women with large breasts struggle to find sports bras in their size that control breast bounce and it has a negative effect on their ability to practice high impact sports.


“My design is unique because it provides an innovative point of control to limit vertical movement of the breast, which is the most significant movement. This ultimately reduces breast pain.”


Her end goal is to start her own company but for now, she’ll be gaining work experience in the industry. Nwokolo offers the following advice for students hoping to try their hand in tech apparel:


“Keep believing, keep dreaming, and no matter the challenge, keep moving forward.”


Learn more about the technical apparel design program.