Upon entering the historical Prince George Ballroom, where Tia Adeola hosted her Fall ‘22 show, guests were greeted with melodies strummed by a live harpist. For those familiar with Adeola’s previous work, the serene atmosphere seemed to be the ideal setting for her ethereal designs. However, although the details created a soft, elegant essence, Adeola presented a powerful message.
Amidst the sheer fabric, feathers, and ruffle details was a silk slip dress that read, “You were supposed to protect us.” Adeola was referring to the End SARS movement in Nigeria (her native country), which she heavily advocated for on her social media and is now making clear that her activism is something that she continues to walk with. Rather than just showing pretty clothes, Adeola disclosed a piece of her mind. “I wanted this to be beyond apparel. I wanted this to be an experience,” she tells ESSENCE.
Additionally, Adeola’s menswear debut was also rooted with a moving message. She reflected on the gender norms of society by stating, “The topic of toxic masculinity has been on my mind for the past year. A man could wear a shirt with frills and be called all types of names, but we had figures like Prince, who was one of my biggest inspirations, who wore shirts with frills and still got all the girls, so I’m just trying to break that notion.”
On a lighter note, a mini slip dress with ruffled straps read, “Business is business.” Marking Adeola’s sixth year since launching the brand, she reflects on some important business tips that she’s picked up along the way. “I’ve learned with time that you have to do things properly, having a team is important, and business is business,” she shared.
And speaking of business, Adeola has had a number of celebrities support her brand – including Alabama rapper Flo Milli, who appeared on the runway, while walking to her unreleased single Pretty Black Cute. The decision to introduce the track at Adeola’s fashion presentation shows that Flo Milli’s support runs deep. As Adeola continues to navigate the fashion space and grow her business, star-studded figures who wear her designs will naturally expand her outreach and help her find the men and women who identify with the Tia Adeola look.