Head of State Presents S/S 2022 Lookbook
Head of State showcased its Spring/Summer 2022 Ready-To-Wear collection at The Kitchen consisting of 25 looks including its debut of womenswear.
Titled Homecoming, the collection’s concept is anchored by FESTAC ’77, also known as the Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture.
Head of State
Photos by David Gannon
From January to February of 1977, 16,000 participants representing 56 African nations descended upon Lagos, Nigeria to celebrate and showcase a wide range of African arts and culture to a global audience. At its time, it was the largest pan-African gathering to take place and today, Head of State’s designer, Taofeek Abijao, wants to continue to provide a platform for that pan-African legacy to thrive so that identities can be forged by cultural preservation instead of assimilation.
Taofeek Abijako, knows Lagos to be home. The title for the show, Homecoming, thus feels fitting in more ways than one as FESTAC took place in the vicinity of his early childhood. Each season reflects an unfolding of Abijako’s personal narrative as he regards Head of State to be more of a case study than a brand, exploring the past, current and future states of postcolonial youth culture and its tangential, marginalized spaces in each collection. The looks are a modern interpretation of the guests and performers who attended Festac ’77 with an intimate understanding bolstered by interviews with Abijako’s family members who were then in attendance. They fondly recalled the vibrancy of the atmosphere, the uninhibited feelings of Black joy that swelled in the face of smiles on faces that they could see themselves in. Abijako had grown up hearing these stories and as he continues to grow into his own skin on foreign soil, he reflects on his time in Lagos with wistful longing and much nostalgia, realizing the significance of events like Festac ‘77. While previous collections have been about simulation of certain cultural contexts, Homecoming is about self-awareness, the difference between creating space and simply, filling it up.
WHEN: Friday, September 10, 2021, 8PM
WHERE: The Kitchen, 512 W 19th St, New York, NY 10011
Casting: Brent Chua
Styling: Ian McRae
Assistant Styling: Ani Hovhannisyan
Jewelry: Chris Habana
Make-up Direction: Kento Utsubo
Make-up Products: Noto Botanics
Hair Direction: Kien Hoang
Hairstyling Products: Oribe
Nails: Chidibube Udeh
Photography: Jacob Tran
Dancer: Babou Sanneh
Choreographer: Raymond Pinto
Video: Cousins Productions
Music: Christian Yoon
Show Production: Beyond 8
Set Design: Daniel Prosky
Audio + Lighting Scenic: Simple Solutions
Operations: Kethlyn White
In-house Production: Nico Rodriguez & Emma Moore
Shoes: Dr. Martens
Transportation Partner: Curb
Water Partner: MOVE
Sponsors: Thomas Vacanti and Annette Nanes
ABOUT HEAD OF STATE
Founded in 2016 by Taofeek Abijako at the ripe age of 17, HEAD OF STATE (HOS) is a representation of postcolonial youth culture today. It operates as both an homage to this diverse space and a critique of the effects western imposition has had on it. HOS is born from this unique clashing intersectionality and thrives on it, aiming to provoke and further a dialogue about the past, current and future state of marginalized spaces.
Its sales provide funding for a variety of “initiatives” that are dedicated to helping underserved communities in the South End of Albany and Lagos, Nigeria, to build sustainable futures through innovation in the education, infrastructure and sanitation sectors. Head of State’s current long term goals include the building of South End Studios, a developmental center for creatives to collaborate, ideate and thrive while simultaneously nurturing a budding ecosystem between artists and entrepreneurs while creating jobs for the community; and Schools for a Sustainable Future, an initiative in Sepeteri, Nigeria that will improve education through design. HOS has conceived of a school building adapted to local climate conditions to improve learning conditions. All involved in the project will be village locals underlining core principles of sustainability,education and infrastructure that lead to tangible opportunities.
ABOUT TAOFEEK ABIJAKO
Nigerian-born Taofeek Abijako is a multidisciplinary artist recognized for his ability to express social and political commentary through the marriage of personal narratives, material study and historical contexts. From an early age, Abijako was introduced to fashion by tagging along with his father to his studio back in Lagos, Nigeria, leading to Abijako’s fascination in the intersection between art and everyday social relationships in marginalized spaces. In 2018, Abijako presented his S/S ’19 collection for HOS at NYFW: Men’s, making him the youngest designer to show at the event. Recognized by the Forbes 30 Under 30 list for class of 2019, Abijako has received press coverage with renowned platforms like the New York Times, BOF and i-D Magazine.