For years Orange Culture designer Adebayo Oke-Lawal has shaken up the fashion industry with his genderless, vibrant, contemporary designs. As one of Nigeria's most recognized and talented designers, he's been credited by international media outlets for his ability to mix androgyny, minimalism, and his Nigerian heritage to produce collections that are both fresh and universal. Oke-Lawal has also been showered with nominations from prestigious industry strongholds, Woolmark (2018) and LVMH (2015) for his fine craftsmanship and out-of-the-box designs.
Despite his knack for design, which he nurtured since the mere age of 10, the creative talents of Oke-Lawal are not simply confined to the design studio. Orange Culture's visual offerings communicate just as much of a story as the clothes and accessories he produces. Each editorial is curated by Oke-Lawal with the help of local creatives like multitalented photographer and stylist, Daniel Obasi, or photographer, Willy Verse. The integration of homegrown talent and beauty produce striking imagery that cannot be duplicated or lumped into a specific category.
For Orange Culture's latest editorial, entitled The Visitor, Oke-Lawal once again used his home state, Lagos, as the backdrop of a fantasy tale about afrofuturism. The shoot was inspired by the concept of robotics, and as a result, incorporated the industrial sites of Lagos, as well as the less-futuristic natural landscapes of the state. He tapped longtime collaborator Daniel Obasi, and rising South African photographer Jesse Navarre Vos (who also photographed The Folklore's Autumn/Winter 2018 lookbook) to bring his fantasy to life.
Today The Folklore exclusively premieres images from Orange Culture's new editorial 'The Visitor' as well as a Q&A with designer Adebayo Oke-Lawal about the brand's bright future and the inspiration behind his latest A/W18 collection.
The Folklore: What inspired your Autumn/Winter 2018 collection?
Adebayo Oke-lawal: This season I explored the rain and its relationship with humanity. I thought about things like the beautiful release you get when you allow your problems to flow from your eyes. As a child I'd sit by the window and stare at the raindrops fall from the sky, it always felt so surreal to me. It always made me feel like it was here to wash things away and by standing under it I'd feel a sense of freedom, newness or liberty. I can't cry for some reason, cause growing up I would get told off by teachers if I cried. MEN DON'T CRY! Suck it up and be a man. So I thought by not crying, I was strong, I could finally fit in with the GUYS! I wouldn't be such a sore thumb after all. Not being able to cry at least sometimes damages you, you hold things inside and the day you finally get to cry, it's for the most ridiculous of reasons and you feel guilty about it. I look out at the clouds and I'm constantly tearing up.
TF: What was your vision behind The Visitor?
AO: I love the idea of exploring fantasy! I’ve always felt like a guest in my own industry locally. Like I never particularly fit in. So the visitor really is about the idea of being something seemingly odd but beautiful amidst a place of robotic follower-ship.
TF: Where did your love for fashion come from?
AO: I grew up around a family with mixed beautiful cultures. My dad is Yoruba and my mum's Benin. I’d spend a lot of time with my family going back home to visit a lot as a child and we would see so much diversity in clothing, expression and beauty. I found that I was always pulled in by how people dressed to address their cultural backgrounds and that built my love for clothing. I’d see the joy people would have once they wear something beautiful and I wanted to be a part of that process even at the tender age of 10. That love grew into my absolute passion I have now for the industry.
TF: Who is your ideal customer?
AO: My ideal customer is someone who appreciates clothing with a story. Someone who wants to wear creativity and invest in art. Our customer loves to travel and isn’t in love with cliche expressions of culture but wants more. Our customer loves gender fluid clothing and isn’t afraid to experiment.
TF: What do you think your customer will appreciate most about your designs?
AO: There’s an emotional authenticity about our clothing. An individualistic expression of our culture. Our clothes hold its own identity and I think that our customers will appreciate that.
Photography Direction - Jesse Navarre Vos
Styling & Creative Direction - Adebayo Oke-Lawal + Daniel Obasi
Model - Samiko Odunukwe
Clothing - A/W 18 Orange Culture
Jewelry - Orange Culture Collaborations with Pichulik
, Neon Zinn, and Adele Dejak