Nigerian Brand Orange Culture Disrupts Gender Norms with Its SS21 Collection
It’s safe to say that Nigerian fashion brand, Orange Culture is officially on cloud nine as it continues to take the fashion world by storm, not least through memorable and vivid designs for its spring/summer 2021 collection entitled, “The Faces in the Cloud”.
Founder and designer Adebayo Oke-Lawal strives to tell stories that reflect the harsh history of the oppression of androgynous individuals through the wearable art that he creates. His designs are more than just clothes, it’s a movement, as Adebayo puts it.
“The Faces in the Cloud” collection was inspired by a prominent and historical figure in Nigeria named Area Scatter, who is referred to as a gender non-conformist and was known as a witch doctor who disappeared into the wilderness for seven months and seven days. After time passed, he reappeared publicly as a woman and began performing music on national television. Her influence on disrupting societal norms became widespread and has gifted many people the courage to be who they want to be and who they feel they are. Orange Culture is no different. The label defies gender norms and breaks down barriers of the perceived notions of sexuality and the expectations of how it should be expressed.
Adebayo’s campaign for the collection features male and female models wearing orange mullet wigs to convey continuity between both genders, while abolishing the biological nature of gender distinction. The implied message is that gender is not meant to define the type of clothing one should and shouldn’t wear. For instance, in the campaign images, men are seen in flowing, off-the-shoulder blouses and skinny-legged pants, usually considered to be “feminine looks”. Likewise, female models appear in wide-legged pants and button-down, oversized shirts that could be regarded as “boyish”.
From geometric cutouts to eclectic eyeball patterns and, of course, cloud prints, Orange Culture provides a refreshing take on clothing for outcasts to finally be seen and represented in fashion. The garments intricately balance strength with vulnerability, which helps to show the commonality of those traits in all of us, regardless of gender.
The SS21 collection “Faces in the Cloud” by Orange Culture is now available on The Folklore. See the new pieces below and shop the collection here.
Shop the Warning Tunic
Shop the Face in Cloud Slip Dress
Words by Christine Okoro