In Yoruba culture, twins are coveted as royalty, and their births are seen as blessings. Ibeji is the name used for an Orisha, or a spirit, representing a pair of twins, and their statues were worshipped just as twins born in Yoruba land were. The firstborn of the twins is known as Taiyewo, or Taiwo, and the second is known as Kehinde.
Growing up in Lagos, Fruché’s creative director and designer Frank Aghuno and his twin brother, Dricky, experienced the superior treatment firsthand. “People would be elated whenever they saw us and would even come up to greet us simply for the fact that we are twins,” he says. Aghuno drew on this cultural phenomenon for the spring/summer 2021 collection from the Nigeran-based brand Fruché, appropriately titled “Ibeji”. As 2020 brought a lot of anxiety and uncertainty, Aghuno took some time to remember and reflect upon his childhood, referred to as his “happy place.” He used his memories of his brother, their favorite TV shows and their creative experiences as inspiration for “Ibeji”.
Aghuno’s nostalgia acted as a framework for Fruché’s newest collection. In his reminiscing, he had vivid images of summer vacations, cartoons and his favorite childhood television shows such as Papa Ajasco and Company, Ed, Edd n Eddy and Codename: Kids Next Door. He remembered Boy Alinco’s striped shirt and suspenders combination or Papa Ajasco’s button-up shirts with a neck-tie and how he and his brother would wear T-shirts similar to these looks. In his new collection, Aghuno created lurex and cotton Aso Oke-striped garments channeling those quirky outfits that he was surrounded by growing up. The incorporation of toy car earrings also reflects the creative nature that Aghuno shared with his twin, as he remembers one summer when they attempted to build a go-cart that never made it out of the driveway.
Looking back to his childhood also reminds Aghuno of the importance and power of youth. “I don’t think I’ll forget because looking back now it really challenges me to keep pushing,” he says. The discrimination and anger he and his brother felt as kids reminds him how we can’t stop fighting for what we believe is right, no matter our age. “Let the youth live and express themselves freely.” Aghuno also dedicates this collection to the Lijadu Sisters, identical twin sisters who were a popular musical duo from the mid-1960s to the 1980s and who hoped to serve as a mouthpiece for the underrepresented and oppressed. He wants his work in this collection to hopefully act as a form of activism and empowerment for the youth and for any others who feel underrepresented.
See all the looks from Fruché’s spring/summer 2021 collection below and shop select styles from the brand here.
Creative direction and styling: Frank Aghuno
Set installation and art: Dricky Stickman
Photography: Bolaji Odukoya
Makeup: Wura Salvador Beauty
Models: Kharis Adama & Favour Edwards
Words: Claire Blaha