Lagos-born and based designer, Adebayo Oke-Lawal never intended to fit into the mould. The goal from day one was to stay true to his sense of style, constantly push the boundaries the African fashion industry had set, and build a truly global brand.
At New York Fashion Week, this year, Oke-Lawal maintained this spirit on the runway, as he showcased his Spring/Summer 2020 collection to an eager audience.
Speaking to press on how his heritage affects his work, the 28-year-old said, “We had, and still have, some problems [in Nigeria]. The way society is in Lagos…we’re used to very specific ways of seeing things. Gender is an exact way of thinking back home and has been for a very long time.”
The designer is committed to the cause of self-expression, telling his story through his designs. “I’ve been doing this for years, and it is working, and it is still growing. If you have a problem with a man wearing jewelry or an oversize blouse or painting his nails, that’s your problem. It’s not Orange Culture’s!”
But who exactly is the Orange Culture consumer? Is it just for the new age “alternative” fashion lover? “People used to say Orange Culture was for the artists or the creatives,” says Oke-Lawal. “But now bankers and lawyers are buying it. Women are buying it. Some moms buy it and compete with each other when picking up their kids at school, like, ‘I’m a bad b*tch now.’”
Opening up a bit more, he says, “The brand is raw. It’s not perfect. We don’t have one million machines. We’re building. We still make everything in Nigeria. And we have a story to tell. This is my own Lagos, my own take of what Africa can bring to the table nowadays. And this is coming from someone who has been in the community and designed based on the community. It is to show what we really are.”