Nigerian menswear brands all seem to follow a tried and true formula; start off as a bespoke menswear line churning out ‘classic’ suits in ‘interesting’ silhouettes. They trudge along this route for a few years before being forced into changing tack by a small pool of potential buyers and the relentless tactics of older and more competitive rivals. From that point there are only two channels open to a menswear designer, become a concept driven design label with a strong clientele (ala T.I Nathan) or step away from the race and build a private client base who place far more value on excellent, repeatable tailoring instead of exploratory design.
Emerging design label Tai.Lore has done the unconventional, it has taken elements from both approaches and forged his own path. His debut collection ‘Eko’ is one of the myriad collections inspired by the colossus that is Lagos and its distinct aesthetic. Instead of crippling itself by trying to encompass all that is Eko, the label settles for metaphor instead, choosing a single symbol to represent the city; an embroidered multi-hued Gouldian Finch, one of the few natural birds that have in it’s plumage all the official colours of Lagos state.
Considering this specific breed of finch is indigenous to Australia, it is a bit of a gamble but one that pays off. Emblazoned on excellently tailored suits in a myriad of colours, it is the perfect artistic counterpoint to a very utilitarian collection. With Few Model’s Onwuka Wilson and Ford Model’s Queen Onyemaechi fronting the campaign, and creative direction by Tosin Ogundadegbe gets the best representation of his brand.
We’ll expect better research from the brand for its next collection, it might not be so lucky with a such near misstep.
Photography: Tomini Tai Osagbemi
Makeup: Beauty by Bellamere
Models: Queen Onyemaechi and Onwuka Wilson