There are literally only a handful of Nigerian design labels that have delved into knitwear, augumenting their predominantly sewn collections with innovative knit pieces. And as far as exclusive knitwear labels go, Oluwajimi Faith’s Bloke Ng stands as a single player in a field with much potential.
Debuting in 2014 with it’s Resort 2014 collection that was shown at several fashion showcases in 2015, Bloke quickly made itself a reputation as a niche brand, a tag that it hasn’t quite shed even though the brand has had two high profile collaborations with in-demand Nigerian menswear labels Maxivive and Tokyo James for their fall 2016 collections.
This collection is inspired by concealment focusing on the idea that human beings tend to cover up their flaws rather than letting it bloom.
The label is seeking to do just that with it’s Resort 2016 collection ‘Masked Holes’. The collection looks nothing like any other collection released this year, leaning heavily on elements of deconstruction, androgyny and a general rejection of convention for it’s edge.
Working with lightweight synthetic materials like twine and rayon yarn and unafraid to spin the colour wheel for inspiration, the collection works elements like features knit dresses with raglan cuts, knit shorts with unfinished hems and wispy sweaters with deliberately dropped seams and oversized sleeves (a technique that Oluwajimi employs in his work for Tokyo James and Maxivive). Anyone with even a cursory knowledge of knitwear will appreciate the complexity of the work that has gone into Bloke’s resort collection, and the technique that ensures it looks accidental instead of deliberate.
But this almost fanatical pursuit of high concept is also the collection’s biggest flaw.
For a menswear label, many of the pieces are too far out to successfully integrate into a buyer’s wardrobe. Compounded by the question of appropriateness for knits (we only have a max of five months a year where knits work) and the fact that the collection is deemed a ‘resort’ collection. We wonder how well guided Oluwajimi is. His talent is undeniable, but his trajectory is wonky. And clothes that cannot translate from high concept editorial to everyday life have already failed the litmus test.
Styling and Art direction: Oluwajimi Faith @blokeoluwajimi
Photography: Babajide Osho @_Babajide& VERNA.CULAR @verna.cular
Models: Tobiloba Oke @tobitwigy of @isismodelsafrica and Olamilekan Osho @_olamilekan
Collage: VERNA.CULAR @verna.