Top image: Orange Culture SS17. Photography by Kyle Weeks
Over the past few years, Africa has emerged as something of a hotbed for nascent menswear talent. Playing host to nineteen different fashion weeks – across Ghana, Lagos, South Africa and more – the continent is building a reputation for exciting young designers and nuanced designs that’s seen it become increasingly visible on the global fashion map.
Merging functional cuts with bold patterns and prints that marry the modern and the traditional, we’ve selected three emerging names with roots in Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire who are making waves. Serving as prime informants of, and unifiers between, the fashion scenes in Lagos, Abidjan, Paris and London, these designers are carving out a path true to their backgrounds but with international repercussions.
Founders New York’s Abasi Rosborough, Abdul Abasi and Greg Rosborough met at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology while studying menswear and tailoring. The pair, of Nigerian and Scottish origin, trained at brands such as Nepenthes and Ralph Lauren, eventually merging their visions in 2013 into a uniform signature that is fluid, conceptual, inclusive and marries minimal casual wear with ornate prints.
The garments can be placed under the umbrella of luxury streetwear. Their approach reimagines relaxed tailoring, using sustainable and recycled deadstock fabrics found in warehouses throughout New York City. Some of the prints borrow elements from Abasi’s Nigerian heritage, an element that has enabled the brand to land on the rails of OXOSI, an online store and content platform promoting emerging African fashion designers.
According to the designer duo, the brand brings together sophistication, modernity and progressive ideas, a combination that transpires in their latest collection for SS18, a project created in collaboration with NASA photographer Justin Brice Guariglia, serving as a commentary on climate change.
Follow Abasi Rosborough here.
Orange Culture is renown for its crushed velvets, silks, earthy tones, eclectic cuts and emphasis on detail and premium quality materials, inspired by influences the designer gathered while dabbling in writing and styling, working with African designers, actors, pop stars and magazines. Conceptually, the brand seeks to formalise designer Adebayo Oke-Lawal’s frustration with hyper-masculinity and prescribed and limiting identities.
It does not come as a surprise that as early as 2014, the LVMH Prize recognised Oke-Lawal’s talent and the brand’s value shortlisting the Lagos-based label alongside the likes of Hood By Air, Simone Rocha, Tim Coppens and Yang Li.
In an interview for the prize, the designer described Orange Culture as a “movement” rather than a clothing line, for a creative class of men who he described as “self-aware, expressive, explorative, art-loving nomads.” The nomadic and global approach to design was the component that enabled it to go on to be the first Nigerian brand to show at London Collections Men.
Now, Orange Culture is moving in the direction of brighter prints, painterly appliques, and hand-drawn accents. Take a peep at their SS18 collection, titled DO YOU TRUST ME?, below and pull inspirations for your spring wardrobe.
Follow Orange Culture here.
Founded by Laurence Chauvin-Buthaud, an emerging menswear designer providing training to workers in her native Côte d’Ivoire, the brand has become one of the cornerstones of the local fashion scene.
The designer behind the brand was schooled in Switzerland and Parisian Studio Berçot, forming an outlook that encouraged to blend the international experience with African roots through a medium that is visually arresting and accessible. Originally experimenting in the realm of womenswear, Chauvin-Buthaud gradually switched gears, channelling her passion into a fully-fledged menswear brand that collaborates with musicians in Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire. After seven years in the making, Laurenceairline now lives between the showrooms in Paris and workshops in Abidjan.
For the designer, the brand serves as a platform to share stories about her life in West Africa. The outcome is highly wearable streetwear that is rich in pattern and colour and focuses on sustainability, longevity and fair trade.
Follow Laurenceairline here.