Hello Style Revolutionists! We are back with another edition of Designer Focus (#OBDesignerFocus).
The fashion game in Nigeria has really come a long way. Fashion designers in Nigeria continue to push boundaries and release spectacular collections for public consumption each year. From the mainstream traditional clothing to western like wears, the Nigerian fashion industry is now one of the fastest growing industries in the world.
Last week our spotlight was on talented Nigerian Designer , Ogugua Okonkwo.
When he was 17 years old, Adebayo Oke-Lawal wrote an essay for a writing class entitled An Orange Boy. Growing up in Lagos, Nigeria, and attending an all-boys high school, he had grown frustrated with the hyper-masculinity and prescribed identities surrounding him. He wanted to open a conversation about what it could mean to break with preconceived ideas of how a Nigerian man should be.
An Orange Boy was his first tentative step in that direction, and his teacher asked if it could be published online. Oke-Lawal agreed and was soon inundated with people writing to him saying that the article had touched a nerve — that they felt the same, or had experienced similar things growing up. The experience stuck with him, and after school he pursued a career in fashion, creating his own brand — Orange Culture — in 2011.
Garnering international acclaim for its androgynous style and willingness to push boundaries, Orange Culture was a finalist for the LVMH prize in 2014 and the first Nigerian brand to show at London Collections Men.
While Orange Culture started out as a unisex brand, Oke-Lawal has since said “I felt a huge connection between my personal life and the clothes I was making for men. I felt the need to make an impactful statement with clothes, and noticed a huge gap in the menswear industry – I truly felt Orange Culture was the one to fill it. So I decided to focus on menswear and to change the perception of the African man.” Oke-Lawal finished by adding that while the clothes are majorly androgynous he always has the Orange Man in mind when designing.
The designer’s personal style strongly mirrors that of the Orange Culture brand — eclectic, heterogeneous and diverse. He has worked with many African designers, actors, pop stars, and even fashion & style magazines. Some of his popular clients include Rita Dominic, Tiwa Savage, Mochedda, Noble Igwe, Ebuka Obi-Uchendu, Idia Aisen, Maleek Berry, Davido, Denola Grey and many more. Hollywood Actor, Lupita Nyongo has also been spotted in an orange culture tee.
Oke-Lawal was awarded The Future Africa Awards prize for fashion and designing in 2016. In 2017, Oke-Lawal showcased at London Fashion Week AW17, launched a capsule collection titled ‘If’ at Selfridges in collaboration with Davido and showcased at the Heineken Lagos Fashion and Design Week.
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