Style

Ikiré Jones’ Latest Fashion Editorial 'Born Between Borders' Is Dedicated to American Immigrants

'Our parents were bedeviled by the black magic of bureaucracy and backward immigration policies. But not us.'

Last we checked in with Ikiré Jones, a Philadelphia-based, politically-engaged, West African bespoke streetwear line, its Fall 2016 Collection had been unveiled. Shot in Florence, it sought to cast an elegant and humane light on African male migrants, who have been fleeing their home countries with the promise of asylum in Italy.


Now Walé Oyéjidé, the brand’s Nigerian-born creative director, has set his sights on a collection dedicated to American immigrants called Born Between Borders.  In the pictorial, models styled by Patrice Worthy, are enrobed in zebra and gothic-patterned suit-jackets with en vogue white-paint markings whisked across some of their faces. The direction is aptly timed as June commemorates Immigrant Heritage Month.

A short story accompanies the new collection on the Ikiré Jones website:

Some of them packed what little they had, and strode across an endless desert. Some of them abandoned established careers and respected titles to sit at the bottom rungs of a foreign society. Some climbed fences. Many boarded planes. But all of them came from far away, to live in a place where they would be mocked if they weren't ignored. Of course, they did it all for us.

It continues,

 We are the children of engineers that drove your taxis. We are the sons of surgeons that served your tables, and we are the daughters of diplomats that held open your doors. In spite of their genius, our parents were bedeviled by the black magic of bureaucracy and backward immigration policies. But not us. we are the future that their hard-work and discarded dreams foresaw. We are that tomorrow that was claimed by brave women and men who had little, but risked it all because they believed. We are the children that were born between borders. Influenced by a new world, and inspired by the old they left behind. We carry our parents dreams with us; like ghosts that no one can look past. There are no tables we will not overturn and there are no locked doors we will not dislodge. Get to know us.

See below photo highlights from Ikiré Jones’ Born Between Borders, photographed by Rog Walker, and view past and present collections at ikirejones.com.

Image by Rog Walker, Courtesy of Ikiré Jones

Image by Rog Walker, Courtesy of Ikiré Jones

Image by Rog Walker, Courtesy of Ikiré Jones

Image by Rog Walker, Courtesy of Ikiré Jones

Image by Rog Walker, Courtesy of Ikiré Jones

Image by Rog Walker, Courtesy of Ikiré Jones

Image by Rog Walker, Courtesy of Ikiré Jones

Image by Rog Walker, Courtesy of Ikiré Jones

Models:

Kamau Hosten

James Jean

Jeremiah Nvamah

Patricia Kissi-Nvamah

Stephen Obisanya

Evan Rossi

Patrice Worthy

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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