The past year has brought 19-year-old Nigerian fashion designer Taofeek Abijako a series of successes that do seem, well, unbelievable. He’s gone from doodling designs in the margins of his notebooks to showing his collection at the Capsule trade show in Manhattan and selling in stores internationally. Now, Taofeek has made history on Wednesday, becoming the youngest designer to showcase a collection at New York Fashion Week: Men’s.
His luxe streetwear line, Head of State+, features wide-necked sweatshirts, cropped half-zips, fitted jeans and loungey basics, often in warm, rich tones. But the line also moves beyond the requisite sweatpants to offer social and political commentary. He described his SS19 collection ‘Genesis’ as a “minimalist streetwear approach with social and political commentary”.
“Genesis is the translation of Afro-futurism portrayed by the likes of Parliament-Funkadelic and Sun Ra through the lens of West African youth – while at the same time celebrating the vibrancy of West African youth culture in the ‘70s and drawing parallels to modern time,” he said in an interview with the CFDA.
“The continuous homage to Fela Kuti is also portrayed.”
Abijako was born in Lagos, Nigeria, where his father, Nureni Abijako, worked as an independent fashion designer — and sometimes brought his son along to work. Because he wasn’t allowed to touch any of the machinery, Abijako instead spent hours paging through his father’s sketches. After winning a Visa lottery, Nureni moved to the U.S. in 2004, with the family following in 2010 once they’d saved enough money. A friend living in Albany helped Nureni get settled and the family has stayed.
With tons of more success to look forward to, Abijako says his, “main focus is expanding on the stories already told”.
Instagram: @HeadOfState_|Leila Jacue