Over the last two years, the fashion industry has witnessed the classic tank top take on many new forms. The standard two straps have evolved to variations using one to four straps with asymmetrical lines and back cutouts – making the once basic undergarment a refreshed statement piece. Behind the tank top evolution was New York based designer, Kingsley Gbadegesin, founder and designer of K.NGSLEY. Gbadegesin, who is also an activist for the Black and queer community, was inspired to create pieces that empowered the LGBTQ+ community, who the designer refers to as the girls and to create a new form of inclusive luxury.
Since launching, K.NGSLEY has been seen on Lil Nas X, Indya Moore, Zaya Wade, Issa Rae and more. And this past summer, the brand presented a collection of jewelry inspired by PrEP, a HIV preventive medicine, to promote proper resources to the youth to take control of their sexual health — as Black and Brown folk still have the highest HIV/AIDS infections in America. Now, Gbadegesin is ready to expand and present his supporters with a full collection including RTW, jewelry and footwear. “I wanted my first collection to be a base that could separate the narration from just tanks and tell a story in viable parts like an act in a play,” Gbadegesin tells ESSENCE. “I want to give THE GIRLS elements! A rising action, climax, and resolution! And not be constricted to a season.”
C1A1, Collection One Act One, consists of Gbadegesin’s take on button downs, trousers, new tank tops and jewelry and more. The designer also took on his first foray into footwear and created the Clandestine boots, a reimagined combat boot. “For the first act, I wanted a full visual on what the K.NGSLEY aesthetic would be, and when the opportunity presented itself to add shoes to the mix, I was smitten by the idea and asked a dear friend who is a shoe designer to help me bring my vision to life and that’s how the Clandestine boot was born,” Gbadegesin shares.
Starting November 18th, K.NGLSEY’s C1A1 will be available for purchase on k.ngsley.com and select retail partners including Nordstrom, Moda Operandi, and Fred Segal.