With this years London fashion week going digital and gender-neutral the boundaries on traditional ideas of fashion are changing, opening doors for brands that have always gone against the grain. Nigerian brand BLOKE is a genderless artisanal label bringing together elements of traditional African culture with unique artistic expression outside of gender. BLOKE is pure art and fashion uncensored and unconcerned about the gender constraints in the fashion industry particularly present in African culture. One aspect that makes the brand so unique is their hand made pieces including handmade patchwork slippers, knitted tops and dresses as well as silk patchwork trousers. Each item is made delicately and with sustainability in mind using locally sourced materials and engaging a small community of knitters, diverse textile artists, local artisans and design groups in Nigeria to create with their ethos in mind sharing with every customer a piece of their identity.
Bespoke hand made items are becoming more and more popular in fashion not just because it feels good to own something handmade but it allows more transparency between brands and customers more attention to detail and craftsmanship as well as being generally more ethical and consciously made. This also matches with the brand’s ethos of spiritual consciousness, this inspires every aspect of BLOKE, from the designs, the making of the garment and treatment of customers and employees.
The label founded by Faith Oluwajimi who is also the creative director of the brand references African spirituality and the idea of everything being sacred throughout the brand. On one post on his Instagram Faith Oluwajimi writes “ In Africa, there is a proverb which says “ however far a stream flows, it will never forget its origin.” Also, “when the music changes, so does the dance”. In relation to a graphic tee posted written ‘everything is Sacred’.
Being recognised for their hard work and artistry the label became a recipient of the LAGOS FASHION WEEK Fashion Focus 2019 Fund as well as previously being selected within Vogue Italia’s 200 fashion brands changing fashion globally. BLOKE has been seen worn by Naomi Campbell, Mr Eazi and various other individuals and magazines. We are seeing more and more fashion brands emerging out of Africa and receiving global recognition, with the industry opening its doors to welcome African talent now is the time to showcase your talents and put yourself out there.