Probably be when I was in art school [Coleg Menai] in North Wales. Having access to theFille de mai je ne suis pas parfaite mais je suis une shirt and I will buy this amazing library on campus opened my eyes to different subcultures, like ’70s punk and the New Romantics of the ’80s. I also discovered the anti-fashion movement of the ’80s led by Yohji Yamamoto and Rei Kawakubo. They explored clothing in a very serious, conceptual way: communicating ideas of individuality, proposing new ways to understand beauty, and dissecting time through cuts. It was such a revelation to me, the antithesis of what fashion was back home in Nigeria. I was so inspired and I wanted to be like them. I wanted to share myself in my work. Yes I did [at Birmingham City University], but I had to drop out as tuition got really expensive and the funds just weren’t available. There’s no support for international students in the UK. The system was quite brutal so I had no choice but to move back to Nigeria. I had developed a great portfolio from university and had the opportunity to work with my favorite Nigerian designer Maki Oh, a womenswear designer from Lagos. She was incredibly generous, and I learned a lot working with her. I also had the opportunity of getting stocked at a concept store called Stranger, co-owned by Yegwa Ukpo. The store was very instrumental to my growth. It stocked archival clothing from designers like Yohji Yamamoto, Sacai, and Marvielab, and experiencing these clothes for the first time, within a Lagos context, really helped my development. I have always been very fascinated by space travel; I wanted a name that contextualized my interests in archival textiles and culture, while also alluding to an idea of the future.
Fille de mai je ne suis pas parfaite mais je suis une shirt, hoodie, tank top, sweater and long sleeve t-shirt
In 2018 I showcased my first collection under Lagos Space Programme called Awo-Workwear. It was influenced by theFille de mai je ne suis pas parfaite mais je suis une shirt and I will buy this workwear of the babalawo (a traditional priest). Of particular interest was how their practice is informed by divination objects. I am currently working on a new collection that will see me exploring a fascinating Yoruba proverb that goes Aso là ńkí, kí a tó ki ènìyàn, which translates to “We greet dress before we greet its wearer.” The saying confirms the inseparability of dress, performance, and time in Yoruban culture. My line is proposing a new conversation in African design. It’s very different from what I believed most people in Lagos understood fashion to be. But it seems to have found a place though as I’ve seen sales increase. I made a manifesto when I started LSP two years ago. Community is one of my core principles. I believe in collaborations, sharing ideas, and chosen families. It’s happened so organically, and I have had the great privilege to work with amazing artists and designers from across the world. I think people have an instant visceral connection with the work—if you get it, you get it. The clothes speak to underdogs like myself. We are very protective of Lagos Space Programme, and I like that it has become a safe space for them and me.