February 17th, 2014
Black Designers, Blacks in Fashion, Fashion, You Should Know
You Should Know: Orange Culture
By The Fashion Bomb Staff

If you haven’t heard of Orange Culture yet, now would be a good time to get acquainted. The menswear label, spearheaded by 23-year-old Adebayo Oke-Lawal, has made it to the semifinals for LVMH’s Young Fashion Designer prize, and will be heading to Paris in a few weeks to compete against 29 brands for a chance to make it into the final 10 eligible for one of three packages that include 300,000 Euros (or $409,750) and a year-long mentorship to help develop the line.

Orange Culture Mens 8

Oke-Lawal has been designing since the age of 10, and since officially entering the fashion industry, he’s dabbled in writing and styling, working with African pop stars like Tiwa Savage and Mochedda. But design is his greatest passion, and since starting the label in 2011, he’s been hard at work trying to bring Orange Culture to the world. It’s hard to believe, with all he’s accomplished, that he hasn’t even lived a quarter century.

Adebayo Oke-Lawal

Adebayo Oke-Lawal

Oke-Lawal describes Orange Culture as a “movement” more than a clothing line, for a creative class of men who he describes as “self aware , expressive, explorative, art-loving nomad[s].”  The label previously produced womenswear options, but Oke-Lawal says he’s since decided to focus on the fellas. Combining classic and contemporary western silhouettes (like collared button-ups and lapel-less blazers) with African sensibilities,  Oke-Lawal creates offerings for modern men who like a little flair, and of course: color. It’s certainly hip, as anything coming from a 23-year-old might be. Who but a youngster would whip up asymmetric hems on printed collared tops, or pair a suit with Nike sneakers?

Orange Culture Mens

Orange Culture Mens 5

But even with his credentials and apparent talent on his side, Oke-Lawal admits he was a bit nervous about participating in the Young Designers contest to begin with. He says he got the idea to enter the contest from a few of his colleagues and supporters, namely Hautefashionafrica.com‘s Wadami and an organizer of GTB Lagos’s fashion and design week. “I read through it frightened, but with the support of family and good friends, I just decided to try out – I had nothing to lose,” he told us. “I just believed in the story that orange culture had to tell and hoped they’d see it too.”

Orange Culture Men's 6

And they did. Adebayo is gearing up to present a collection to a preliminary judging panel that includes Pat McGrath, 10 Corso Como founder Carla Sozzani, Carine Roitfeld, Patrick Demarchelier, and more, fighting for one of 10 spots in the finals, where he will show his line to Marc Jacobs, Raf Simons, Phoebe Philo, and Karl Lagerfeld, to name a few. “It’s not been an easy 2 years plus doing this,” Adebayo said. “[I'm] just thankful that a global brand (that I’ve dreamt about) saw something special in my brand. 30 out of 1221 [applicants, I'm] thankful – praying to get to the top. That mentorship program would be a privilege.”

Orange Culture Mens 2

Orange Culture Mens 7

We’ll definitely be watching Orange Culture’s next move, and wish Adebayo luck.

What do you think?


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9 Responses to “You Should Know: Orange Culture”

  1. Ready says:

    Nigerians are ready to take our spot in the fashion limelight. WOohoo! Thanks for the feature, Claire. I’m always stoked to see a Nigerian designer on your site.

  2. JOON says:

    Yes!!!!! And he styled my first ever fashion show…amazing amazing designer!!!… Proud of him!

  3. AB says:

    #teamOrangeCulture #teamBayo

  4. JustMariklo says:

    I had to look at this several times before taking in the fashion…I couldn’t get past those handsome dark chocolate men!! The pieces were amazing as well!

  5. Natasha says:

    Lots of print mixing! Favorite one was the mustard print suit with navy robe (insert 25 exclamation points here)

  6. Dobe says:

    As always, thanks for shining light on new designers! I wish him well.

  7. Eva says:





    I thought blacks knew BETTER

  8. Jay says:

    Good pieces brother, what collection is this under?

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