Tolu Coker AW19 Fashion Scout Merit Award Winner

 

At Fashion Scout, one show that always calls the crowds is the winner of their Merit Award. This season at London Fashion Week, eponymous brand Tolu Coker proved more than deserving of this title. With past winners including Han Wen, Katie Ann McGuigan, EDDA and Eudon Choi, Tolu became the latest addition to this list of designers whose star is destined to rise.

 

Born in Nigeria, Tolu is a fashion and textile designer, as well as an illustrator. She has lived in Spain and currently calls London her home after studying at Central Saint Martins. Pride in her dual heritage and cultural blend was unapologetically conveyed in this Merit Award winning collection. This creativity and boldness explains why the designer has secured star clients such as Rihanna, Rita Ora and Demi Lovato. An infectious and upbeat energy overran the catwalk as this unisex brand celebrated both identity and inclusivity with a youthful, positive collection. Drawing inspiration from old family photographs and her Father’s old diaries, a montage of memories was projected onto the wall before the show kicked off. Fresh bold fashion got the audience on its feet together with loud beats and brilliantly brazen models sporting retro spray-painted boomboxes as accessories.

Nigerian tribal headpieces were paired with looks that were all about casual modernity. Afro hairstyles, printed baseball caps, and street-wear silhouettes saw Tolu reconstructing black identity within the western world. Punches of primary colour came together with monochrome, linking to the designer's love of old black and white photographs. Reworked denim, recycled leather and re-used plastic formed a textural and tactile collection, solidifying this brand’s focus on conscious consideration for sustainability within the fashion industry.

With a collection that fused individuality and inclusion, the designer intends this brand to be a catalyst for acceptance and freedom in fashion. Each look stood out as unique but together they formed one cohesive collective. Playfully political, mischievous and revolutionary, Tolu Coker’s work translates the idea that although we are all different, together we are the same tribe.

By Shona Daly. Images shot for us by Hannah Gordon-Smith.