Orange Culture’s showcase at the 2015 Lagos Fashion and Design Week was a conversation starter.
Opened by Kwen Akomaye in one of the signature pieces from the brand’s Spring 16 collection Etched Journey, all flared pants and bright yellow v-necked sweatshirt, Oke-Lawal continued to promote his most experimental collection yet. The collection debuted at the 2015 international tradeshow Pitti Uomo as part of the ethical fashion initiative’s African menswear contingent. So the collection was a tad familiar.
The collection had been downsized with several key pieces taken out of the line up. The styling was different, favoring a more hipster aesthetic. It all made sense when Uju Marshall came down the runway in an Organza blazer from the Etched Journey collection and tasselled flared pants that weren’t. There were less and less of the pieces from the collection after that.
Halfway through the showcase, we realise that Oke Lawal has pulled a masterful bait and switch on us.
The second half of the collection is new. As in never seen before new. It riffs off the Etched Journey collection but is completely separate from it. Damilola Oguntoye opens the second half of the showcase in a pleather wrap jacket with sleeve cut-0uts and flared adire pants.
Adire is a major theme in this new collection, another nod to the Orange Culture archive. The new collection is younger, and is as daring as Bayo’s early work. There are wide leg tasselled pants, fit and flared pants, cut-out adire shirts and jackets and see through bomber jackets, the kind of aesthetic that was rife just outside the LFDW tents. Oke-Lawal announced later via Instagram that the showcase was his debut for a diffusion line, Orange by Orange Culture.
Orange Culture also used the showcase to debut a jewellery collaboration with multidisciplinary artist Azubike Ononye, a necklace/brooch hybrid net pendant that was inspired by the Etched Journey’s muses, the fishermen of Lagos. This brings the collaborations on this collection to three; there were already accessories collaborations with ethical accessories brand Tree Fairfax and O’eclat.
It is a relief though, that after several seasons of wrestling with ways to incorporate sheer into his work, Oke-Lawal finally cracks the code of using organza without turning out something stodgy or worse, unwearable; oversize embroidered tunics. It is a formula we hope he doesn’t stray from.