Growing up, Oparel designer, Etii Opito Joseph was never the “cool” kid. He didn’t play sports and barely had friends so he also didn’t talk much.
The shy and timid young man also lacked the ideal grades by his teacher’s standards. “All these made people under look me,” he narrates with a tone of voice undoubtedly displeased.
However, the young Opito did not allow perceptions from his peers to put him down. He instead debunked the low public expectations to soar into a creative with a remarkable sense of fashion.
“These circumstances led me to dressing classier so as to find a sense of self-worth. That is how I was drawn into the world of fashion,” he said.
Originally from Lira, 20-year-old, Opito now boasts of a budding career in fashion with the aim of penetrating the global market as a fashion icon.
To attain his goal, Opito jumped at the opportunity to apply for the MTN Pulse and Arapapa by Santa ANZO mentorship program last year, after he had set eyes on a call for application on one of his friend’s WhatsApp status.
“I applied for the program because I believe in the power of my work. I needed a platform to showcase my work and inspire the world and the mentorship program was a great starting point,” he says.
MTN Pulse Arapapa mentorship program
Opito is one of the mentees that took part in the three-month mentorship program organized by MTN Pulse and fashion mogul Santa Anzo of Arapapa by Santa ANZO. MTN Pulse is a product of MTN Uganda tailor-made for the youth. It hosts an array of products and services crafted to perfectly address the needs of the youth.
During the mentorship, mentees underwent extensive training across different aspects in the fashion industry including entrepreneurship such as commercializing the business, being authentic, marketing in the fashion industry among others.
According to the scholar currently undertaking an online bachelor’s degree in Commerce and majoring in strategic marketing at Monash University in Malaysia, the MTN Pulse4Fashion Arapapa mentorship program was life-changing.
“In particular, I was touched by Santa Anzo’s story of having to stay positive about her dream even when the tough Idi Amin times took away the luxury to dress classy and participate in fashion. This didn’t stop her from pushing for what she believed in and now we have Arapapa,” he recounts.
Valuable life skills course
The Oparel designer also says the valuable life skills course was the highlight of his journey through the mentorship program for it illustrated how a creative person needs to persevere and stay afloat in the fashion industry.
His unique and bold sense of style bolstered the young man to emerge the first runner-up in the MTN Pulse Arapapa mentorship program, taking home a cash prize of UGX1.5million.
Opito (Oparel designer), who has worked in the fashion industry for two years, mostly as a blogger and part-time stylist, hopes to launch his brand after education.
Applauding MTN Pulse and Arapapa for encouraging him to appreciate his talent and utilize it to benefit the community, Opito said the mentorship has scaled up his journey towards launching his own brand.