What Laduma Ngxokolo of Maxhosa means to South Africa is what Faith Oluwajimi of Bloke will soon mean to Nigeria, because, as far as knitwear is concerned, he stands a lone player in a field that reeks of so much potential. Being the only rising knitwear designer is not all that puts Oluwajimi in the exclusive class. The genuity of his quirky, deconstructed, gender-blurring pieces are really what make him special.
Far from being a typical neophyte in fashion, having been crafting collections since 2014 and two high profile designer collaborations already under his belt, Oluwajimi seems to have a lot on his plate what with making it through as one of the emerging talents for the Lagos Fashion & Design Week and now coming through with this season’s deliverables.
One close look at Oluwajimi’s “Nostalgia” and you’ll find the beauty and darkness of the designer himself which isn’t at all surprising as it is his signature to incorporate himself in offerings past seen. For his SS18, Lagos-based Oluwajimi burrows through the archived memories of high school. The more you look at the collection, the more you get a sense of what it is like to be in a Nigerian high school, uppers with scribblings on them give off a nostalgic feel that comes from the ritual of students signing across each others uniforms upon graduation.
One way or another, Oluwajimi’s pieces are completely wearable, at least most of them, which is a plus for Oluwajimi as his past collections have been criticized for having a “Fanatical pursuit of high concept and being unable to integrate into a buyer’s wardrobe”. If nothing else the slogan shirts and applique knits will definitely catch on. What makes this collection Bloke? The fact that Oluwajimi maintains his known stance on non conformity and complexity with his work; see the knitted waist cinchers, cut out sweaters, braided domes.
The Nigerian grounds are beginning to wet up and the weather’s gotten pretty chilly. A perfect time to enter Bloke’s Nostalgia collection as well as every other Bloke collection into wardrobes.