Designer Taofeek Abijako on His New Exhibit Exploring Black Vulnerability

The exhibit, curated by Hill, features Abijako’s designs from his recent Homecoming collection, as well as the Met Gala looks that he designed for Evan Mock and Danai Gurira this year. “I’m also showing a brand new suiting look that’s going to be a part of my next collection,” says Abijako. “I wanted to show that, yes, I started with making T-shirts, hoodies, and sweatpants—but we can do couture shit, too.”

In addition to his own pieces, the exhibit will also display works—ranging from textiles to sculptures—by artists such as Ambrose Rhapsody Murray, Armani Howard and Malaika Temba, and Joshua Adokuru. Hill wanted to showcase an assortment of Black artists from different regions—as far apart as Nigeria and the southern U.S.—all of whom explore themes of identity. “We were thinking about geographical identity and Blackness, and what that means as an artist,” says Paul. “We chose artworks that have a blue component to them, but that also work well with Taofeek’s designs.”

Taofeek Abijako

Photo: Courtesy of Head of State

On October 22, there will be a special panel discussion between Abijako, Hill, and moderator Antoine Gregory where they hope to inspire young Black people to pursue their artistic visions and to create without boundaries. “One of the most important things I want to carry across the panel is for young kids—especially young Black kids—to know that we belong in these spaces,” says Abijako. “There’s so much pressure, especially in this digital age, for artists to craft perfection; but we want to write the rules of whatever industry we’re in.”

Abijako even has future plans to disrupt the retail space soon, too: He says he’s working on launching NeuSette with cofounder Dugan Zier, a new retail platform dedicated to supporting up-and-coming brands. “We want to explore what a retail space could possibly look like in a new age,” says Abijako. “I want it to be a gallery. Yes, we’ll be selling clothes, but it’ll also be a safe space for our favorite artists to show. We’re not trying to follow tradition—we’re trying to push boundaries.”