Post-Imperial's Scarves Collection

Creative Director Niyi Okuboyejo talks to Okayafrica about men’s accessories brand Post-Imperial's Fall 2014 introduction of scarves.

While florals for spring aren’t necessarily “groundbreaking,” something should be said for those of us able to rock print and color year round. This fall Creative Director of Post-Imperial, Niyi Okuboyejo, will be introducing scarves to his men’s accessories brand. Post-Imperial products approach cultural concepts from a modern perspective. Designed with a brave new world in mind, these pieces offer a new adaption on an old tradition. Okuboyejo’s previous Spring 2014 collection featured products treated in adire – an old dying process developed by the Yorubas in the Southwest region of Nigeria.

While recently showcasing at the MAN / WOMAN trade show in Paris, Okuboyejo was able to give us some insight as to what to expect for Fall 2014 and the evolution of the brand. “When I started Post-Imperial it was important for me to try to work with a medium that is connected to the diaspora. I decided to pick adire as a starting point because of my familiarity with it culturally. As part of the Yoruba group in Nigeria, I have a certain understanding of what it means because of the cultural connection. It allows me to approach the process with a certain level of respect. This is just the starting point, and I hope to achieve the same type of familiarity with other forms of textiles within the diaspora.”

Not to be mistaken as an "ethnic project," what sets Post-Imperial apart is the emphasis of cultural comprehension. With the rising dialogue on "African prints," the ethos of its significance has become lost. “I think that what we do is pretty amazing in the fact that the brand is a testament to the globally interconnected web that the world has become. I source fabrics from different parts of the world, dye those fabrics in Nigeria with a mix of old and new patterns, and make them in New York. Post-Imperial feels intercontinental, but not in the granola sense and we want it to stay that way. Using the selling point of how your clothing is single-handedly saving some obscure village in the middle of nowhere has always felt a little troubling to me. This is more of an exercise on how to make something so culturally sacred to the diaspora inclusive to everyone.”

Okuboyejo states that he strictly creates for tomorrow, but that doesn’t mean he neglects his clients’ needs now. When asked what inspired the introduction of scarves he explained, “It was just the next step into expanding the line. First it was pocket squares. Then came ties. And now, scarves. It was also an opportunity for me to make my very first unisex product. Many women inquired about scarves before I decided to make one… I am excited about the opportunity of having female clientele. It allows me to have a clearer vision of who I believe the Post-Imperial woman is. While working on men’s accessories allows me to solely focus on one thing in that moment, once I get that down I will be able to expand into other avenues such as a full RTW men’s and women’s line, collaborations with other brands and artists, and possibly my own factory mill where I provide exclusive prints for other entities. At the moment, the sky really is the limit. The key is not growing too fast and perfecting what I do now.”

If you're one to sport bright colors rain or shine, keep a look out for the collection this Fall. In the meantime we scoured through Okuboyejo's Tumblr and Instagram for sneak peaks of the Fall 2014 scarves in the gallery above.


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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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