Years ago, Niyi Okuboyejo was a fixture within Oscar de la Renta’s design team, now he is spearheading his brainchild, the fashion brand Post-Imperial. Originally launching in 2014, Post-Imperial is vibrant and hand-crafted by African artisans. Think clean cuts and lines injected with African Diasporic sensibilities. Design-wise, Niyi calls the menswear designer lifestyle line “a creative force that culturally translates the Black experience.” Splitting time between Lagos, Nigeria, New York City and Texas bleeds into the fabrics he helms. The pieces that are inspired by his global travels are impactful too–each item offers Niyi’s take on modern garments.
Post-Imperial creates a newer and cooler Africana by working with a community of artisans to collaborate with from Nigeria, Morocco, and parts of the U.S. The brand is also proud to employ traditional methods of design to create pieces that evoke the brand’s ethos driven by a sense of optimism for the future. Other forms of inspiration that Niyi pulls from include the late writer Octavia Butler, architect Francis Kéré, and painter Barkley L. Hendricks. No matter the discipline, the designer is always looking to great thinkers of the past to lead him towards inspiration.
Some of Siyi’s favorite pieces that he’s designed so far include the Baye patchwork velvet hoodies and a cargo pant set made from a special style of patchwork that was developed by the Baye Fall, a religious sect based in Senegal. The colorful printed pieces which include button-up tops, bottoms, and accessories are each hand-dyed in Nigeria using the adire dyeing technique. “These garments are a perfect example of how collaboration and storytelling can merge two different cultures from the diaspora–Senegal and Nigeria–into a beautiful and cohesive piece of fashion,” Niyi said.
“It is not just the art and artists that captivate me, I am equally drawn to cultural practices and phenomena that have shaped the African continent and its people for centuries,” Niyi said. “For instance, the intricate geometric and mathematical patterns found in nature, known as fractals, have long fascinated me.”
The designer has already hit some major feats like being stocked globally at Mr. Porter, MatchesFashion, and Bergdorf Goodman. One huge dream that the designer had became a reality: to be entirely produced in Nigeria.
“Now, we can confidently say that our products crafted in Nigeria sit next to some of the best brands in the best stores in the world,” he adds. Niyi also has goals beyond clothing for his community-based brand, he dreams of it transforming into a platform that serves as a hub for “creative problem-solving on both domestic and global fronts.”
Through collaboration, pressing issues in the world might be changed through communities in art, design, and even tech. The designer is hopeful that he can harness the power of creativity to make a meaningful impact on the world.
“By expanding our focus beyond clothing, we can create a world that understands the power of inclusive storytelling,” Niyi adds.