Nigerian Multidisciplinary artist – Taofeek Abijako considers himself more than a fashion designer, but rather an artist who expresses himself through various mediums, one of which happens to be clothing. On the 14th of February which is Lovers’ Day, Taofeek through his New York City-based clothing brand – Head Of State – took the 2023 New York Fashion Week Runway with Nike to present an ode to his beloved father – Nureni Abijako, who is also a fashion designer and has been a remarkable influence on his works.
Titled Memories Of Home, Head Of State’s FW23 collection is an artistic conversation between two journeys: a combination of Taofeek’s memories of home as he emigrated from Nigeria to the U.S. with his father who had first taken a journey from Nigeria to Spain illegally in the early 2000s to find greener pastures but had to return home and then later relocated to the U.S. after winning a visa through a lottery system as well as Taofeek’s assimilation into the western culture after immigration.
On his journey, Nureni had vivid dreams of home: the air, the textures, the conversations, and the architecture which became references for this collection as well as the textures he experienced in the desert, the waters he sailed across borders, and the lands he saw. Taofeek hopes this show will transport his audience into a different universe, one where they’d experience Lagos – Africa’s Fashion Capital.
Expectations were high given how impactful Taofeek’s debut collection, “Homecoming” had been: described by ESSENCE as an eternal moment that celebrated Blackness and beauty within the familiarity of home. Styled with Nike footwears, this time Taofeek’s storytelling prowess deeply moved his audience, climaxing with barefooted models who depicted the “on foot” journey to its final moment where his last model rocked a sustainable outfit that was disintegrated by water. Stepping into the water booth at the centre of the runway was a vivid spiritual moment that sent chills down the viewers’ veins. Created by producer Donis, the show’s soundtrack, was a major part of the messaging with traditional sounds from Nigeria and the serene introspection of water and nature.
Taofeek gave ESSENCE exclusive access to his runway show. Hit the ▶ button below to watch a short behind the scenes clip and go to essence.com for the full video:
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