With an eye for fashion from an early age of ten, Adebayo Oke-Lawal, creator of Orange Culture never shied away from expressing fluidity in his fashion pieces, he has become the go-to designer as regards capturing the different forms of masculinity. His consistent bold fashion collections have earned him a place in Nigeria’s fashion hall of fame. He is one of the designers selected to champion Budweiser’s game-changing campaign tagged, The King’s Stitch, targeted at showcasing and celebrating the individuality of Nigerian youth.
Find an excerpt of the interesting chat we had with him…
We are aware that you started designing at the tender age of 10. What drew you to designing at such an early age?
I’ve always been intrigued by clothing and the way people respond to clothing. How a garment can literally amplify a person’s ego, or push someone to confidence or improve their self-worth. I watched this happen even as a kid and so I wanted to be a part of that process. I wanted to use clothes to impact people’s lives! I saw fashion as my tool and I decided to work with a message that I could relate to.
When did your love for fashion evolve from a hobby to a full-time job?
Even as a little child I loved fashion. I would literally draw on everything. My teachers will concur. For me, it was a lifestyle! It felt like part of what made me who I am. So it’s never been just a hobby.
What are the major challenges you had to overcome to become the successful designer you are today?
Infrastructure in Nigeria isn’t set up to support fashion business. You literally start off with no community support system especially when I began. Problems ranging from unskilled labor, lack of education to a drought in financial support.
You are one of the designers headlining The King’s Stitch campaign. What attracted you to the campaign?
I love what it stands for. My brand has always been a fighter for the outcast, for the individual, for the unique and for various forms of self-representation. This campaign celebrates all those things, so of course, I got involved.
How does this campaign impact you first as a person and as a designer?
It allows me to see that my vision over the past 9 years is finally being taken seriously and it allows me to open up my story to a whole new clientele.
The message of the King’s Stitch campaign is to encourage Gen Z’s to awaken their individualities despite societal inhibitions. How has your style promoted this message?
I mean look at the brand and look at me, Lol – I think that literally is self-explanatory. My brand story is genuine and honest. I think choosing self has really been a part of promoting the idea that being a king isn’t about fitting into stereotypes! It’s about being yourself, unapologetically.
How do you get your inspiration?
I’m an emotional person so inspiration comes from an emotional connection to something, someone, a conversation or even an occurrence.
You have described your style on a few occasions as unapologetic and fluid – can you explain further what you mean and what inspired this?
I don’t care. Lol. I wear what I want, how I want and in what color I want. I don’t believe in blue is for boys, pink is for girls. I explore how I feel and what the clothes make me feel
How do you manage to always achieve duality and interchangeability in your designs?
I guess by being myself through the process of design. Also, time and experience have helped me find balance. All the good and the rejections have helped me build an understanding of the brand and who our customer base is and could be
What is your creative process like?
I literally feel, try to pull together pictures, music, visuals that inspire-then print design and eventually sketch out what I have in mind. It all starts from a story
Who are your role models in this industry?
Omoyemi Akerele. She is such an amazing woman. Lisa Folawiyo, Mai Atafo, and Lanre Da Silva.
Any message for the Nigerian youth?
Be you and be proud. Don’t let anyone box you into any stereotypes. Also, work very hard, it’s important.