MMSCENE INTERVIEW ORANGE CULTURE STORY with ADEBAYO OKE-LAWAL

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image by Joe Harper
With it’s original take on menswear label to watch ORANGE CULTURE is taking the fashion scene by storm. For our September issue MMSCENE Magazine’s Fashion Features Editor KATARINA DJORIC sits down for an interview with Orange Culture’s designer and founder ADEBAYO OKE-LAWAL to talk beginnings, fashion industry and inspiration.

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You have been designing since the age of 10. What sparked your interest in fashion?

I found that when I taught myself to illustrate, every time I sketched I felt so alive. It became the only place where I didn’t feel shy – I felt confident that I was creating something beautiful and even at the age of 10 it became my way of connecting with the rest of the world.

See more after the jump:

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How did you come to start your own line?

After interning at magazines, shows and every possible link to fashion possible, I saved every dime I had and created a small collection in April 2012 – I literally put in everything I had as a 21 year old to make it work. 

What is your connection to Nigeria today?

It is the backbone for Orange Culture as a brand. It is where the brand was brewed and is our source of inspiration. It is our home. It is also where everything is made. Nigeria is our story and it is who we are as a brand. 

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What sets apart Africa’s fashion scene from the main stages such as Milan, Paris, New York? 

It is more organic. Sometimes I feel the fashion industry everywhere else is so structured that it almost is robotic. With Africa it is so fresh because we are trying to figure out our industry and how to utilize it to tell our untold or most old stories.

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What impact would you like to generate? 

I want people to understand and discover Africa more every time they wear Orange Culture – to be the voice of Nigerian and African menswear. To show that a Nigerian brand can compete globally. 

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What is the philosophy behind your work?

Challenging African masculine stereotypes. We are about individuality, romanticism and vulnerability in the modern day African man. 

What made you switch from womenswear to men’s fashion?

I didn’t necessarily switch because I was doing both. I just decided to focus more on menswear – I found I connected more to menswear personally. Especially considering how innate the inspiration for the brand is.

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How do you accommodate the needs of customers all over the world who might have different fashion sensibilities?

To be honest…everydayI’m learning, but I honestly think it’s the same for every brand. All we do is listen, learn and act accordingly. That’s how we learn to cater correctly to customers far and wide.

Who is the most inspiring person in the fashion industry today and why?

Karl Lagerfeld, his business acumen is beyond! 

What are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work?

Political correctness and how it affects creative work. It affects the discussions we have as a brand especially within the story of our collections.

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What do you think of the fashion system today? 

It depends on where specifically. There’s a whole lot that needs to be dealt with, from race to appropriation…but the most exciting thing is Africa’s voice is getting louder. 

How is Orange Culture responding to these various challenges?

By telling our story ourselves and being very honest about issues in every opportunity we get – but also educating people everywhere. 

What is next for you professionally? 

So much! But we’ll just let you guys know as they happen!


Images from the Orange Culture SS17 Collection

Portrait photo by Joe Harper

Keep up with Abayo on instagram @theorangenerd

GET YOUR COPY IN PRINT $23.90 & DIGITAL $2.90

 

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