Fashion Designer and Founder of the Eponymous Brand, Tia Adeola
With her avant-garde and daring pieces, fueled by her mission to unabashedly tell the stories of women and people of colour, Tia Adeola has taken the fashion world by storm with her eponymous label. Here, she talks to us about the driving force behind her design choices and what she hopes to see more of on the runway.
You have quite a diverse background, being Nigerian and having lived in New York and London, which are immensely multi-cultural places. How has your experience with these different cultures influenced your personal style and your design choices?
Living in London, Nigeria and New York has been a great privilege. As you can imagine, they’ve all had an incredible impact on my life and my art. But the biggest lesson, I will say, is that in all my encounters with women in these different countries, one thing is prevalent; every woman no matter where she’s from or what her background is, no matter how shy or reserved, always wants to be the best-dressed woman in the room. This is the driving force behind every piece I make.
Your brand was originally named “Slashed by Tia” when you started out. What motivated the name change to Tia Adeola?
“Slashed by Tia” was a name I created in my dorm room absentmindedly. After I graduated college and made the decision that designing was what I wanted to do full-time, I felt that the name change was necessary as a means to not only represent my roots and my family but also, when you put your name on something, there’s just an extra level of seriousness added. Everything now has to be top-tier because it’s a representation of me.
Discrimination and racism are undeniably very much present in the fashion world and we see black models and designers becoming more vocal about unfavourable treatment behind the scenes. Do you see your work as political art or a vessel for speaking out against discriminatory practices that are still ongoing in fashion?
[Definitely] Using my art as a vessel for speaking out [against discrimination in the fashion world] is a duty I have as a black woman.
Fashion is notably cyclical and we’ve seen a lot of older trends re-emerging in recent times. What styles or trends are you excited to see return to the main stage?
Fashion definitely is cyclical and that’s the beauty of it. However, being an innovator, I don’t really go looking for what others are doing. I’d much rather focus on what I can invent – that’s what excites me. But more importantly, what I would like to see on the runway is more models of colour, more plus size models and more petite models being represented on the runway on a global scale.
What’s next for you? Do you have plans to showcase any upcoming or future collections at Lagos Fashion Week?
Being an artist, I always have a project planned and something brewing in my head. I would love to showcase at Lagos Fashion Week! That’s my home.
In two words, describe the brand; Tia Adeola.
Featured Image: Chris Vongsawat
Collection Images: Omofolarin Omolayole