Don’t give in to stereotypes; Orange Culture certainly didn’t. Playing with femininity and dangling on the edge of masculinity, Adebayo Oke-lawal is creating fashion for the outsiders and the trendsetters. Pink hued suits and delicate jewellery worn with dark hoodies, this collection blurs the gender stereotypes of fashion. Inspired by teenage rebellion, he plays on the idea of conformity. He takes the monotony of school uniforms and gives it a fashionable makeover. He transforms the uniform into something individual, resulting in a uniform that we wish we had in school.
With the use of glorious fabrics such as linens, silks, organzas and coated cottons, the designer stick to his core beliefs and ensures that the fabrics are sourced locally to the Lagos based designer. Using traditional tailoring techniques and influenced by culture (hence the name), this contemporary Nigerian menswear designer describes his brand as “a movement rather than just a clothing line”.
Wonderland had a lovely chat with Orange Culture to pick his brain on all the details of his collection.
Great collection! How would you describe your collection to us?
Thank you! It’s very reflective. It literally takes a stroll back into my teenage years – so it’s one of the most emotional collections I’ve ever produced. In a few words I’d say – emotive, youthful and somewhat rebellious.
What was your inspiration behind it?
It was inspired by my life as a teenage outsider. Growing up and going to school I felt like I was being taught to fit in – stuck to stereotypes and every time I didn’t I was made to feel like an outcast or rebellious for choosing to create differently…which I preferred. So, I wanted to create a collection around that school of thought and explore the beauty in being that outsider. A school were all of us rejects were accepted – this collection welcomes you.
Do you have a favourite piece? Which is it and why?
I love all the pieces – I actually can’t wait to wear them. Love the silk pyjama set, the blue faces of rebellion print square tee, the orange jumpsuit, the shoes hand painted by this amazing young artist @dricky and the jewellery always makes me smile. We made the jewellery pieces in collaboration with a brand called Rokus london – a great talent.
Talk us through what your creative process was like when creating the collection?
It was one of the fastest processes I’ve ever had – I thought about all the reasons I hated my school uniform and built the whole idea behind the shapes – creating a collection of pieces I would have loved to wear. Then the prints we worked on were built around the identity of the modern day Nigerian reject and the things that signify rebellion within various tribes in Nigeria. Once the print and the shapes were done, everything else came about seamlessly because the story was so personal.
Did you face any challenges or even great successes during that process?
Challenges always – mailing because I produce in Nigeria, but more infrastructural challenges. Things I’m glad the industry is helping designers improve on. One of my greatest successes for me was getting the print right. Super exciting.
Who is your favourite designer and how do they influence your work?
My two favourite brands are Kenzo and Acne studios. I admire their business strategy and their creative processes. They inspire me on how to structure and strategise as a business for sure.
If you could claim any person as your muse, past or present, who would it be? Why?
Uhhh I have a few. Please forgive me! Andre 3000, Solange, Fela Kuti, Petite Noir and Pharell Willams.