THE 23 YEARS OLD NIGERIAN FASHION DESIGNER BEHIND THE STREETWEAR BRAND “HEAD OF STATE”
Taofeek Abijako, a Brooklyn based Nigerian is the creative force behind the fashion label “Head Of State.” His journey is one marked by creativity and determination.
At the age of 12, Taofeek moved with his parents to Albany, New York, after his father won an American lottery ticket. His father had been a fashion designer in Nigeria, which is arguably the source of his inspiration.
“Head Of State” was launched in 2016, while Taofeek was still in senior high school, and at the age of 16. Although initially drawn towards sports, he found his artistic outlet in painting and soon realized his creative potential was boundless.
Taofeek embarked on this journey with no formal design training. Growing up in a modest living space with his family, he started by drawing and painting sneakers on cramped nights. His breakthrough moment was with Amandla Stenberg wearing a pair he had created, and posting them on Instagram. He continued crafting branded t-shirts and hoodies from his bedroom raising $3000, which he used for a water project in his home community.
Originally conceived as a nonprofit architectural firm, “Head Of State” a brand name inspired by Fela Kuti’s album titled “Coffin for Head of State,” organically transformed into a fashion venture. However, his inclination towards community building and giving back is still much alive. His collection, ‘Homecoming,’ had been used to fund the construction of a school in his parents’ village, with the assistance of West African architect Diébédo Francis Kéré.
United Arrows, the renowned Japanese menswear retailer, was the first to embrace his label. Soon, other indie fashion purveyors like Ssense and H. Lorenzo recognized the value of his womenswear collection.
Taofeek’s thoughtful approach to fashion has garnered significant recognition, including winning the top prize of $100,000 in the Brooklyn Museum’s Black Design Visionaries partnership with Instagram. Additionally, he was selected as one of the eight young designers for Kerby Jean-Raymond’s highly anticipated fashion incubator, “Your Friends in New York.”
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