Menswear is constantly changing and has always been a delicate part of fashion. Many times, our dear fashion industry has crossed the line with bold statements and outrageous designs. You can be the type to never back down from a challenge or you can appreciate stylish garments with a nice touch. That latter introduces the touch of Nigerian designer Wale Oyejide for the Ikiré Jones brand/label.
It looks like something Solange Knowles might have created. Beautiful gather in an industrial setting that seems to exist solely to juxtapose the bright shades of their perfectly tailored clothes. The promotional film titled “The Untold Renaissance” was in fact created by Walé Oyéjidé creative director behind the menswear brand Ikiré Jones.
Named one of the “Best Dressed Real Men in America” by Esquire magazine, this Nigerian-born musician, attorney and fashion designer describes Ikiré Jones as “a marriage between Neapolitan tailoring and African aesthetics.” Along with musician and bespoke tailor Sam Hubler, the two men formed Ikiré Jones because in their words: “we know that someone has to make things better, and that it might as well be us.”
Lacking formal fashion training, Oyéjidé draws from his heritage using African wax-printed fabrics combined with British wool. Utilizing Huber’s training in pattern drafting and garment construction, the team itself is a metaphor for the brand: African inspiration combined with precision tailoring. A symbiosis further illustrated by the fact that the brand is named after Oyéjidé’s father’s village in Nigeria, and his wife’s maiden name.
Creating a range of handmade sport coats, coats, shirts, scarves and pocket squares – each piece from Ikiré Jones has its own history and unique identity to be remade by the owner.
“It is our hope that these small pieces of (often-invented) history will give the wearer a story to tell, a place to visit, and a new memory to create.”
Painstakingly dedicated, Hubler spends nearly fifteen hours on the creation of each jacket. Committed to craftsmanship and business with a conscience, Ikiré Jones stands against the ubiquity of “faceless workers who have been left little choice but to accept subservient wages while shovelling mediocre products out the door”.
Escape To New Lagos Collection
"An imagining of Lagos in the year 2081 A.D. The Great Crude Explosion has just occurred; leaving oil flowing freely through the streets of the slums. Politicians have been exiled at the heels of bomb blasts and the populace’s uprising. The building of a new Center of the World has begun, much to the bewilderment of Western nations. This is the birth of New Lagos…and men of taste are wearing."
Escape to New Lagos is a collaboration between Vigilism (Lekan Jeyifous, a Nigerian-born, Brooklyn-based architect, artist and designer) and menswear designer Wale Oyejide.
The Untold Renaissance
This collection pays homage to 18th century textiles and tapestries while exploring the absence of persons of color in Medieval and Renaissance-era European art. Borrowing from the sampling method employed in hip hop culture, each reinvented piece tells an satirical narrative from the perspective of Africans who have been placed in an alien context. Through this reverse lens to the past, the present circumstances of individuals who feel displaced and alienated may also be considered.
David Evan McDowell
The photographer behind “The Untold Renaissance” collection, David Evan McDowell, lists legendary photographers Irving Penn and Richard Avedon as his influences. Creating striking images that swim above the sea of forgettable visuals on the internet, McDowell also collaborated with Ikiré Jones on the “Escape to New Lagos” 2013 collection. Based in Philadelphia, McDowell’s interests span from film and analogue cameras to hip hop and travel.