Nigerian Americana feat. Niyi Okuboyejo

May 20th, 2013

Harlem based designer Niyi Okuboyejo appreciates preppy American menswear, but also remains close to his Nigerian roots. His personal style is a creative and tasteful blend of the two.

“Even though I am aware of my Americana, I still strongly identify with my Nigerian heritage. At this point in my life, they both go hand in hand in defining my tastes and style.”

Niyi, who just launched his accessories line Post-Imperial, shows us three examples of his clever culture mixing.

1. Senegalese Slippin’

01

Niyi understands the functionality and versatility of an unconstructed jacket for Spring. This cotton pinstriped version, for example, is the perfect compliment to his simple t-shirt & chinos look.

“Most of my wardrobe is built around a sports jacket or blazer. I prefer them unstructured and unlined, which means I don’t have to take them off when traveling to tropical countries.”

06

article 2-13, my favorite pocket square from collection II, has been getting a lot of wear lately. It’s smooth Indian cotton, but the loose embroidered fringes give it a contrasting rough texture.”

07

“I stumbled upon these Senegalese slippers at a local art market in Nigeria. It’s actually one of the coolest places I have ever been. Lord knows how many times I got lost discovering numerous oddities there. You can also commission all kinds of stuff from oversized artworks, to custom furniture, to backpacks made of python skin.

I once ran into a well-known European designer shopping there…taking pictures of the local artisans and their work for inspiration.”

08
  • Round Frame Tortoise Shell Sunglasses by Ralph Lauren ·
  • Navy Cotton Pinstripe Jacket by Club Monaco ·
  • Wide Crewneck Stripe Shirt by Saturdays NYC ·
  • Pocket square “article 2-13” by Post-Imperial ·
  • Yellow Leather Senegalese Slippers by local market in Nigeria
  • · Navy Chinos by Club Monaco


Royal Cotton Trouser

2. Like A Chief

12

“Another unstructured jacket, different pattern. This plaid fabric is actually lightweight cotton shirting – it’s very hollow and quite airy.

The plaid is strong, so I usually pair it with different shades of blue. At one time in my life I obsessed over that color. It was the foundation on which I built my wardrobe.”

13

“This is an Igbo ceremonial Chief hat from Nigeria. Most of my Igbo friends might want to hang me for wearing one since I am neither Igbo nor a chief.

That being said, it is one of the coolest hats I own. Besides, with 250+ ethnic groups in the country we are bound to appropriate cultural ideas from one another.”

15

article 2-05 is a traditional Japanese dot print canvas that disguises its irregular dots in true Japanese fashion. It doesn’t take too much attention away from the jacket, but then again what can?”

16
  • Red Igbo Chief Hat by street vendor in Lagos, Nigeria ·
  • Round Frame Tortoise Shell Glasses by Ralph Lauren ·
  • Grey Plaid Unstructured Jacket by Club Monaco ·
  • “article 2-05” pocket square by Post-Imperial ·
  • Brown Watch by Denis Guidone for Projects ·
  • Blue Pants by Club Monaco ·
  • Chocolate Sued Shoes by Tom Ford
  • · Blue Oxford Shirt by Ralph Lauren


Blue USA Oxford Shirt

3. Cultural Color Mix

18

Niyi makes a great point here about keeping the designing and styling processes separate. That is, when ordering custom clothing, try to avoid over-designing “style” into a piece. Instead, set yourself up with well-fitting, versatile pieces that can be worn for endless stylish outfits.

“When going the custom route on a suit, my American tendencies skip most of the overbearing and unnecessary ‘details’. No trick pockets, no colorful buttonholes, no crazy bright linings – just a simple suit that I can treat like a blank canvas.”

22

“On the other hand, the Nigerian in me usually calls for elaborate dressing. It’s the reason I process color the way I do, and wear straw hats and embroidered pocket squares like article 2-02.

I am freshly inspired every time I attend a traditional wedding or ceremonial event.”

23

As you can see from his previous feature, Niyi knows a thing or two about accessorizing a tailored look.

24
  • Beige Panama Hat by Vintage (eBay) ·
  • Round Frame Tortoise Shell Glasses by Ralph Lauren ·
  • Custom-Made Ustructured Grey Glenplaid Suit by Kent Wang ·
  • Lime Green Cotton Shirt by Ralph Lauren ·
  • Navy Tie by Ralph Lauren ·
  • Fish Hook Tie Bar by Vintage (eBay) ·
  • “article 2-02” pocket square by Post-Imperial ·
  • Brown Watch by Denis Guidone for Projects ·
  • Chocolate Brown Oxford Lace ups by Meermin

Thanks for reading, and special thanks to Niyi for participating!

Yours in style,

Articles of Style

 

Photography by Alex Crawford