News / Africa

Young Nigerian Designer Turns Men's Fashion Orange

The fourth in a series on Africa's Rising Stars

Abebayo Oke-Lawal has attracted the fashion world with designs like this green fur-collared coat he wore recently. Adebayo Oke-Lawal directs Orange Culture from his Lagos studio. (Photo Courtesy Orange Culture)
Abebayo Oke-Lawal has attracted the fashion world with designs like this green fur-collared coat he wore recently. Adebayo Oke-Lawal directs Orange Culture from his Lagos studio. (Photo Courtesy Orange Culture)
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Kwame Ofori
  • “Orange culture is a men’s wear label,” says designer Oke-Lawal. “… and it’s the quirkiest men’s label you can think of in Africa.” (Courtesy Orange Culture)
  • Oke-Lawal wants a brand that “speaks volumes in that … you know that it’s Orange Culture.” (Photo Courtesy Orange Culture)
  • Abebayo Oke-Lawal’s goal is to create a niche in men’s fashion “all over the world and representing my countrymen to the fullest.” (Photo Courtesy Orange Culture)
  • “Orange represents the sort of a person who has different interests or interests that don’t particularly pertain to the norm,” Oke-Lawal says. (Photo Courtesy Orange Culture)
  • “We definitely produce clothes for a man who is adventurous, colorful, and loves to express himself,” says Ake-Lawal. (Photo Courtesy Orange Culture)
  • “An Orange Culture boy or girl is someone … who takes a risk with his life or her life,” says designer Oke-Lawal. (Photo Courtesy Orange Culture)
Fashion is the basic fabric of society. It becomes creative when thought and art are put behind the very scissors that create eye-catching street-wear.
 
As the young director behind Orange Culture, Adebayo Oke-Lawal is fast becoming an expert on the process and he and his Lagos fashion house are taking Africa by storm.
 
His company has been featured in major fashion magazines like Elle and Complex in the United States. Orange Culture has been touted by many local and international fashion writers as one of Africa’s up-and-coming clothing brands.
 
Mixing both western and African styles with a tinge of art, Adebayo tells us what Orange Culture means to him.
 
Listen to the interview with Adebayo Oke-Lawal
Listen to the interview with Adebayo Oke-Lawali
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Adebayor cuts the quirkiest label in Africa

“Orange culture is a men’s wear label. Its on-going and I started it two years ago and it’s the quirkiest men’s label you can think of in Africa,” says Adebayo. “We produce clothes that tell interesting stories.

“We definitely produce clothes for a man who is adventurous, colorful, and loves to express himself. So, it’s a strong men’s wear label with a point of view.

Fashion designer Adebayo Oke-Lawal runs his popular line of clothing from Lagos. (Courtesy Orange Culture)Fashion designer Adebayo Oke-Lawal runs his popular line of clothing from Lagos. (Courtesy Orange Culture)
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Fashion designer Adebayo Oke-Lawal runs his popular line of clothing from Lagos. (Courtesy Orange Culture)
Fashion designer Adebayo Oke-Lawal runs his popular line of clothing from Lagos. (Courtesy Orange Culture)
“For me, Orange represents the sort of person who has different interests or interests that don’t particularly pertain to the norm - interests or career paths that are interesting and unique."
 
Adebayo’s designs transcend his own culture where “a lot of people weren’t so interested in fashion and felt like it was an unserious career path. An Orange Culture person or orange boy or girl - for me, then - is someone who is an individual, fun and who takes a risk with his life or her life.”
 
‘Represent my countrymen to the fullest’
 
His greatest achievement is surviving two years in a very competitive industry and achieving major industry recognition. He wants to create a niche for Orange Culture where his outfits are recognized everywhere in the world.
 
Part of his secret is confidence and ambition. “I intend to achieve a lot,” the designer says. “Creating a brand that speaks volumes in that no matter where you see something from Orange Culture - you know that it’s Orange Culture.
 
His goal is not modest. “To create a niche that is definitely known all over the world and representing my countrymen to the fullest.” Thoughtfully, he adds, “Yet still maintain a brand that is internationally recognizable as African and be able to make a difference.”
 
Advice for those who follow
 
At recent Lagos fashion shows, Adebayo impressed an international audience, cementing his brand as a leading power house on the Nigerian scene and in Africa. Nollywood actors like Uti Nwachukwu favor his designs.

For young people ready to take on the fashion industry, he has this to say.
 
“They should just make sure that they are passionate about it. There is so much more to fashion like the drama. People enter fashion for the wrong reasons.
 
“I just feel like it should be something that they are passionate about and something that they have love for.
 
“Don’t just jump because everyone is jumping on the bandwagon. Make sure you do it in your own way. Don’t try to be like anybody else. Just make sure you do it in a way that works best for you.
 
Adebayo continues to expand his brand and attract an even wider audience not just in Africa but also in the United States and in Europe.

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