Photo Credit Neil Watson (10Leaves)
Acclaimed menswear line Ikiré Jones and creative director/designer Wale Oyejide return to challenge European perceptions of African men with the FW16 After Migration editorial – a collection of text and photos that translate the vibrant garments, epic journeys and social standards at the core of the brand. Shot in Florence ahead of their turn at the Ethical Fashion Initiative‘s “Generation Africa” show at Pitti Uomo, the campaign features first-time models recruited “through a local settlement organization that houses asylum seekers.”
“I thought it was important for many reasons to put them in front of the camera, not as props, but to convey their unique perspectives,” Oyéjidé says of his models. Many western designers use Africa and Africans as backdrops. By placing “an emaciated model wearing high fashion in front of country people in some remote village” says Oyéjidé, these designers fail to give Africans agency.
“There were also other underlying issues I wanted to address—the lack of black models in high fashion, the lack of employment opportunities given to migrants/asylum seekers from all over the world, and also providing an opposing view to the negative portrayal of migrants in the media. It was a multi-layered concept,” he says.
The editorial is a bold move by Ikiré Jones to challenge the lack of diversity in fashion while working to humanize and properly compensate African migrants in parts of the world where they are often seen as “invaders.” View the complete FW 16 collection and purchase garments via ikirejones.com. Get more on Ikiré Jones and After Migration via Okayafrica.