Wale Oyejide’s Ikire Jones has become a staple at the Pitti Uomo’s ethical fashion initiative sponsored Generation Africa menswear showcase featuring African born designers. Last year he shared the stage with Nigeria’s Orange Culture who debuted a collection he eventually showed at the Lagos Fashion and Design Week 2015.
This year, Ikire Jones showed alongside South Africa’s AJKP designed by Keith Henning and Jody Paulsen, Lukhanyo Mdingi and Nicholas Coutts and their eponymous line and Nigerian born designer Gozi Ochonogor of U-Mi-1.
Riffing off his last collection which was inspired by African story telling, Oyejide’s Fall 16 presentation was influenced heavily by the concept of migration, a common thread that tied all the designer’s showing at the Generation Africa showcase. This is unsurprising in the wake of the several crises across Africa and the Middle East and the consequential refugee influx into Europe.
He represents this in the sartorial choices and the styling of the collection. Nearly every one of the fifteen looks has either a shawl, a cape or a printed scarf, the kind of practicality that you would expect from a worldly traveler. Oyejide has always celebrated prints and he continues to do so with this collection, this time marrying ‘washed out’ watercolour paintings of heavily made up samurai flirting with Geisha, with Baroque Italian paintings and abstract mud prints that bring to mind the Nsibidi shrine paintings.With such visually arresting prints, Oyejide doesn’t need to go overboard with the silhouettes, and he doesn’t; opting instead for minimalism and basic cuts. There is nothing that cannot be pulled on or off with minimal fuss. The prints are the centrepiece and they are unique enough to serve as the sole centerpiece. The result is a tableau of clothes that represent many cultures but stay firmly rooted in the present.
Photography by Giovanni Giannon
Taken at ITC Ethical Fashion Initiative’s “Generation Africa” presentation during Pitti Uomo 89.