Parsons College of Design graduate Jacques Agbobly, 22, has all the time been intrigued by the colour orange. The Brooklyn-based designer’s work is impressed by colours and patterns from the place he grew up in Togo, West Africa, earlier than transferring to America when he was 9. Orange is a recurring colour in his private clothes selections and designs, the place his work goals to subvert the narrative across the colour orange and incarceration, whereas being worn by Black males specifically.
“My brother was incarcerated and all through my childhood… that basically took a toll on my household,” Agbobly tells Teen Vogue. Regardless of associating orange together with his brother’s state of affairs, he believes that Black individuals look superb within the colour and hopes his graduate assortment for Parsons may also help spotlight this in a extra optimistic view.
One other theme working by his designs is an emphasis on patterned knitwear, impressed by the unimaginable craftsmanship in Togo. As a toddler, Agbobly usually stayed together with his grandmother, who rented a part of her residence to seamstresses. He remembers hiding beneath the tables to observe them do their work. “It’s customized as a part of the tradition in Africa to get garments customized made,” he says. For Agbobly, style design appeared like a pure profession path.
“Togo tradition has loads to do with textile, and rising up I used to be very a lot into handcrafts,” he says. “I am fascinated by the thought that you would be able to constantly work on one thing till it turns into larger.” This consideration to element and deal with craftsmanship is obvious in Agbobly’s assortment, the place ruffles, beads, and embroidery meet chunkier knitwear.
Drawing from the garment-making abilities he grew up round, Agbobly’s designs are deeply private instruments for self-discovery and expression. “What it means to find your self by making [clothing] is that by each single factor that I do, in studying about silhouettes and gown practices, I am studying about virtually little artifacts of historical past,” he says.
Along with Togo, the ladies in Agbobly’s life function inspiration for his designs. “As a queer individual and somebody who’s impressed by Black girls in my life rising up, I all the time wished to be like them,” he says. “I all the time wished to decorate like them.” Utilizing voluminous, usually extra historically female, silhouettes, the designer goals to translate his inspiration from girls into menswear, though he wouldn’t strictly name his designs menswear.
“I really feel like I am on the spectrum of each womenswear and menswear. I used to be actually impressed by the greats rising up. , Alexander McQueen and the work of Chanel,” Agbobly explains. “I began to subvert that actuality and take into consideration myself, individuals like me current in these high-fashion clothes, and ask myself what it might seem like for a Black man to be in a really stylized, couture garment.”