Nigerian wonder brand Orange Culture debuted its Autumn/Winter 2020 collection during New York Fashion Week, part of a week-long event hosted by The Folklore and curated by CEO & founder Amira Rasool. Taking over Brooklyn's Museum of Contemporary African Diaspora Art, CEO Adebayo Oke-Lawal and creative partner Derin Masha presented a vibrant display that saw Oke-Lawal’s command of leisure-wear, tribal influences and master tailoring reaffirmed.
Dubbed ‘The Flower Boy’, this season picks up where the Spring/ Summer line left off, with an emphasis on jewel tones, technical patterns, and androgynous silhouettes. Last season's crystal-accented hats and cut off tees were traded in for long-line shirts and multi-dimensional leather pieces in an African sunset-inspired color palette.
‘The Flower Boy’ was the second NYFW presentation for the Lagos-based brand who debuted at the event last spring in association with Studio One Eighty-Nine. This year’s show saw guests pack into MoCADA’s intimate gallery space where diasporic video installations and art lined the walls, helping to put the show in context. DJ Akili King spun Africana rhythms that brought a moody optimism to the show. `
“For me, the passion and dedication through insurmountable circumstances reminds me of a flower; blossoming, the insistence on being delicate sometimes through the uncertainty of weather, and the hope it offers a multitude of people just by having survived” explains Oke-Lawal. Some of the highlights from the collection included: a black leather asymmetrical top with an over-sized black leather flower attached, a red silk matching set embellished with floral rhinestones, a ruched violet dress, a quilted A-line dress, a pattern blocked trench coat and knee-length short set, and a green over-sized floral leather belt.
The show marked a new chapter in materials. Quilting appeared across shawls, dresses, and skirts. Textured silk went into matching sets and skirting. Each fabric, in its dimension and technical composition, underscored the need to address issues of gender, race, and nationality, not as one-note topics, but as layered, multi-dimensional issues.
Always seeking to combat the restrictions on male identity, male models donned earrings, expressive hairstyles and wore gender-bending garments with ease. Models of all genders wore unexpected cuts, delicate draping, and asymmetrical silhouettes which were offset by pearlescent deep water blues, tropical greens and earthy shades of brown.
“Every day we are surrounded by stories about unrest and marginalization around the world, and are familiar with the extremes certain institutions will go to debase the humanity of people,” says Oke-Lawal. “In Nigeria for example, there are many ways government and institutions attempt to silent voices. They want to take away our freedom of speech, our freedom of movement. And with that, I became very curious about how this could be addressed. And in thinking of the emotional, the scared and the alone, I wanted to create something with emotional resonance, as if to say: we see you, you are not alone, and we are not going to give up until we are all safe.”
Fresh off of a collaboration with Davido for Selfridges and Pachulik for jewelry, the designer introduced new collaborations and partnerships in his collection. Grapes Pattern Bank created patterns that mimic bricks and flowers--to highlight the contradictions of the world. Bags were made in collaboration with Nosakhari, leather shoes made in collaboration with Sunni Footwear, and belts made in collaboration with Kiing Daviids.
Ghanaian photographer, Joshua Kissi helped to capture the moment. Other guests included Nigerian photographer Josef Adamu, Senegalese Scholar and entrepreneur Amy Sall, American and Ghanaian entrepreneur Amarchi Nwosu, Nigerian influencer Nneka Ibeabuchi, and New-York based stylist Solange Franklin.