In Conversation with Walé Oyéjidé

In Conversation with Walé Oyéjidé

Publié dans Design

Walé Oyéjidé uses fashion design as a tool to dispel biases and stereotypes about marginalized populations such as African migrants. With his label Ikiré Jones, he combines West African aesthetics with European tailoring to create collections that tell a story. He values the impact of his clothes on people who wear them and feel the freedom to express themselves authentically.

Drawing on his immigrant history, Oyéjidé talks about the importance of connection and cultural acceptance. “As a Nigerian American, I know how easily the term ‘African’ can slip from being an ordinary geographic descriptor to becoming a pejorative. For those of us from this beautiful continent, to be African is to be inspired by culture and to be filled with undying hope for the future”, he says.

In the series After Migration (2016), Oyéjidé tells the story of African asylum-seekers living in Italy. The fashion designer employs models who are themselves migrants to illustrate the strength in people’s unique identities, and to celebrate the resilience, beauty, and life experience of those who’ve suffered. Subjects of irregular migration are shown as nuanced contributors to their new societies, while journeying in search of safe places to call home.

By employing migrants as model, the designer wants to challenge their negative representation in global media and the shortage of employment opportunities for migrants settling in new places. “It has become my purpose to rewrite the cultural narratives so that people of color can be seen in a new and nuanced light, and so that we, the proud children of sub-Saharan Africa, can traverse the globe while carrying ourselves with pride”, Oyéjidé says.


Publié dans Design  |  mai 15, 2021