For sure, Nigerian designer Bayo Oke-Lawal is leading the charge of the gender-fluid fashion movement in the country. His collections always encapsulate items both for men and women.
Following his Spring/Summer 2020 show on Tuesday at New York Fashion Week, Vogue caught up with the designer for a feature in the publication.
Oke-Lawal talks about his struggles as a Nigerian designer having to strive through insurmountable challenges and hate including death threats. His brand Orange Culture which he founded in 2011, has been an instrumental vehicle in championing wardrobe androgyny and de-codifying representation of masculinity.
The charismatic, polychrome spirit of Oke-Lawal’s collections has seen him categorized as a menswear designer, despite him championing wardrobe androgyny and a de-codified representation of masculinity. The approach has been an uphill battle, he explains—there were even death threats in the early years.
Oke-Lawal tells Vogue that things are not perfect and that he still has a long way to go.
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.
Things are changing. Nigerians are becoming more self-aware. Our generation is so much more liberated. We just want to be ourselves. I’m here to show this new reality to the world.
Click here for the full Vogue feature.
Photo credit: Orange Culture