By Kriti Sarawgi, Grade 12
“What I find most interesting in fashion is that it has to reflect our time. You have to witness your own moment.” - Creative director of Louis Vuitton, Nicolas Ghesquière.
Fashion is an instant language that constitutes a visual commentary of who we are and what our history is.
Tolu Coker, a British-Nigerian fashion designer, has always been fascinated by identity and the role of apparel in navigating and perceiving oneself and others in society. At 24, she launched her eponymous fashion label in 2018 and has used it as a vehicle for mounting equity and social change. Coker was recently named one of the 25 creative leaders of the future by Theaster Gates for her work that creates supportive, inclusive, and diverse spaces where people can explore autonomy in fashion. Her label is rooted in community, craftsmanship, and cultural inclusion, all while supporting ethical practices. The collections are locally manufactured, using sustainable methods and upcycling waste materials when possible.
Fashion is one of the most evident and tangible means to trace and influence societal change. However, the industry tends to design around consumers that we are expected to assimilate, but don't exist. Rather than catering to these unrealistic ideals, Tolu Coker draws inspiration from authentic experiences and interactions, making her work the epitome of cultural identity in fashion.