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Ikire Jones is not just a fashion brand. It is a creative project that enriches fashion with an aesthetic ideology of storytelling.

At the helms of affairs are Walé Oyéjidé who is the creative director and bespoke tailor Sam Hubler. Both men live and work in Philadelphia.

Over the years, the duo have established a reputation for finding points of intersection between fashion and stories. They see garments as “three dimensional objects” that adorn the body but that can also serve as spaces for literary experimentation.

A few years ago, they curated a series of images in which African cities were re-imagined as futuristic science-fictional worlds. [See it HERE]

Last year, they gave a shout out to African literature by naming a sport coat in honor of Teju Cole. [Read here if you missed it.]

In the Spring/Summer 2016 collection, titled …& Other Stories by Our Stolen Children—photographed by Rog Walker—we see a mixture of colors and print inspired by contemporary African stories and renaissance-era iconographies and aesthetics.

Several of the silk scarves—like the one titled “An Angel Returned to Chibok”—reference the story of the girls abducted by the daredevil terrorist group Boko Haram.

The short lyrical story that accompanies the photographs opens with the statement:

“The youngest of us were forcefully taken from our classrooms. Spirited away by ideologues who believed only in what they could wrench from the praying hands of people who sought peace. Elsewhere.”

But the story goes beyond Boko Haram. Violence against African children is a question of history.

“The collection pays homage to African children all over the world whose lives were tragically shortened by domestic terrorism, disease and by the perils of migration,” Oyejide writes in an email to Okay Africa.

This history of violence is translated into scarves adorned with richly evocative images.  The scarves are gorgeous and certainly worth having. But they are so much more. They are settings for living history!

Here are a few images from the selection.  [Click HERE to see collection]

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 12.00.24 PM Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 11.54.52 AM Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 11.54.05 AM Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 11.54.14 AMAn Angel In ChibokThe Darkness of Diplomacy

 

 

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I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

One Response to “Ikire Jones and the Art of Blending Fashion and African Storytelling” Subscribe

  1. Pearl Osibu August 19, 2015 at 12:42 pm #

    Amazing. Simply amazing.

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