South London mum left her 20-year law career to become a fashion designer

A South London mum of four, who quit her successful career as a barrister to become a designer, is already stocked at one of London’s most prestigious stores.

Adaku Parker, a mum-of-three from Lewisham, is determined not to let anything stop her from doing it all.

The 44-year-old, who is currently pregnant with her fourth child, spent twenty years as a barrister before she started her clothing brand, Dovetailed London.

Adaku told us: “I like the idea of proving that as a single mother, you can do it all and pivot throughout your life – you don’t have to stay still.”

Her journey to becoming a designer began at Southwark Adult Learning Centre, where she took night classes in African fashion whilst on maternity leave.

Now her line is stocked in one of the capital’s most high-end stores – Liberty London. “That was huge – they approached us and placed four orders,” she commented.

Adaku (wearing Camille Long Khaki)

Adaku said she’s also down at Portobello Market every Saturday, trying to convince every beige-clad passersby that they should give her vibrant patterns a try.

“Lots of people don’t think they could ever wear colour,” she explained.

As well as adding some life to people’s wardrobes, Dovetailed is a sustainable and ethical business.

Recently, Adaku was named as one of this year’s top 100 female entrepreneurs, as part of the campaign to celebrate the multi-achievements of women running businesses in the UK today.

The f:entrepreneur Campaign was set up in 2017 to give more recognition to the women who run businesses in the UK. The aim was to raise awareness of the positive impact female business owners have, whilst inspiring the small business community.

image e1707914095793Dovetailed, London.

“It’s like a big boost of confidence telling you you’re going in the right direction.”

Reflecting on their choice to change careers, she was ‘amazed’ to find out her grandmother had been a seamstress too – “She owned a sewing school in Nigeria.

“It has been completely affirming to learn that after having been a barrister for nearly 20 years and having fallen into sewing as something to do while on maternity leave, it’s actually in my blood.”

Following in her grandmother’s footsteps, Adaku has just published her second sewing book, in the hope of teaching others what she has learned.

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