Adeju Thompson looked to tradition — and his ancestry, which stretches from Nigeria to Britain — for this collection that examined the encoded messages that clothing can transmit.
The Lagos-based designer nodded to British history and tradition, working English tailored clothing into this lavish, nonbinary collection with a dandy-ish twist. It made sense: Members of his family live in Britain, and he describes himself as a huge “Downton Abbey” fan.
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He also used the Ojude Oba festival in southwestern Nigeria, an annual event that sees the Ijebu people — and others across the country — honor the local king by making and wearing clothing with special colors, patterns and cuts to signify their family ties, culture and life events.
“I wanted to fuse both cultures,” said Thompson, who sourced some of the fabrics from the Sudbury, England, mill Stephen Walters & Sons and made the hats in the U.K., too.
The collection was made mainly of wool, a natural choice as Thompson won the 2023 Woolmark Prize. He blended it with silk for blouses with statement cuffs and bows at the neck, and layered them under solid or flower-strewn waistcoats adorned with hand-cast brass buttons.
A knitted hoodie with a windowpane check was paired with flared pin-striped trousers that revealed a flash of cobalt blue when the model walked.
The outerwear was also full of drama. Colored flowers blossomed across a long coat, which Thompson teamed with gray tuxedo trousers that had a white stripe down the side. The look was a festive riff on a posh school uniform, and a real show-stopper.
A blue and cream one-shoulder cape with thick fringe also had star appeal, and a regal aura. The encoded message here? Pure joy.
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