In 2016 after successfully immigrating to America, Taofeek Abijako founded ‘Head of State+’, a minimalist brand that represents post-colonial African youth culture today paying homage while critiquing the effects left by the colonizers.
With his unconventional brand, Taofeek hopes to cater to the unisex demographic of African youth while provoking change and conversation through overt socio-political imagery and references. Taofeek has always had strong fashion influences and his father, an independent fashion designer was one of his early motivations. Although he wasn’t allowed to touch any of his father’s machinery, he explored his sketches extensively and fully harnessed his designing abilities while in high school.
Since then, he has kept breaking boundaries and doing amazing for himself and his brand. At 19 years old, he was the youngest designer ever to show at the Men’s New York Fashion Week He was also named a designer to watch during this event for his Spring Summer ’19 collection which puts a spotlight on Nigeria, her youth and the inborn creativity. Shortly after, Taofeek also made the Forbes 30 Under 30 list for the year 2019.
Operating HOS+ as less of a brand and more of case study, Taofeek told the CFDA. “It’s me digging into my cultural upbringing while trying to have a firm grasp and understanding of it.” His references go far and wide and are united by being contemporary West Africans. They range from photographers like Seydou Keita & Malick Sidibe from Mali, Oumar Ly from Senegal and Nigerian activist and afrobeat legend, Fela Kuti.
After seven months of inactivity, a video was posted to the HOS+ Instagram page on February 3rd, 2020 announcing their new collection titled “Underground Spiritual”. The video is centred around a clip of Fela Anikulapo Kuti giving a speech at a Berlin Jazz Festival in 1978 about to perform the song ‘Pansa Pansa’.
The video also shows other clips which relate to African and Jamaican music culture of the 60s, 70s & 80s. The collection was a perfect view of the brand’s identity showing the clash between traditional West African culture and the culture of the western world which was instilled in us through colonialism.
Find looks from the collection below.