19-year-old Taofeek Abijako, recently showed his new collection under his brand, Head of State+ at New York Fashion Week: Men’s. He became the youngest designer to present a collection at this year’s NYFW’M. Abijako showcased the brand’s collection, “Genesis” on July 11.
The Nigerian-born designer Abijako founded his clothing line, “Head of State+” two years ago, at the same time he made the move from Nigeria to Albany, NY. The NY fashion community first became aware of Head of State+ after a representative from the luxury retailer “United Arrows” found Abijako’s self-produced look book on Twitter. Shortly thereafter as he was completing his senior year in high school, The New York Times Style Magazine labeled HOS a “brand to watch”.
He has shared that his approach to the clothing line has been like it’s “less of a brand and more of a case study.” “It’s me digging into my cultural upbringing while trying to have a firm grasp and understanding of it. My belief is furthering a philosophy of thoughtful, inconspicuous and honest design across the board,” he further explained.
He describes the Genesis collection as “minimalist street wear approach with social and political commentary.” The Spring/Summer 2019 collection, which features light-weight trucker jackets, tailored pants, and fitted knits, has attempted to pay homage to 70s era afro-futurism while also blending the vibrancy of West African youth culture. “Genesis is the translation of Afro-futurism portrayed by the likes of Parliament-Funkadelic and Sun Ra through the lens of West African youth.” He has also cited socio-political activists and artists such as Fela Kuti with influencing his work and also continues to pay homage to Fela Kuti, as Head of State+ is named after a song by the afrobeat legend. His designs seek to understand and demonstrate the influences of European styles that have been adapted by traditional African designers.
Abijako also notes that being a young designer comes with the challenge of constantly proving himself to others but this history making moment proves he’s well on his way and one to keep a close eye on.
Check out Head of State’s full summer/spring 2018 collection here.