Nigerian designer Tokyo James and artist Yusuff Aina collaborate in Milan

Nigerian designer Tokyo James and artist Yusuff Aina collaborate in Milan

 

In Milan’s Palazzo Visconti Di Modrone, a six-foot fiberglass figure by artist Yusuff Aina stands amidst ornate frescoes. This striking juxtaposition sets the scene for designer Tokyo James’ Fall/Winter 2024 “Expansion” fashion show, where art and fashion collide to reshape perceptions of Nigerian creativity.

 

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“There’s another conversation to be had about what it means to be from this part of the world,” says James. This shared vision united him and Aina, whose work transcends stereotypes often associated with African art.

 

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James, 36, first discovered Aina’s whimsical yet thought-provoking sculptures in Lagos, Nigeria. “His work could be at the Met or Art Basel,” he reflects. For their Milan collaboration, Aina’s “The Eniyan” character takes center stage in an installation titled “Domain Expansion.” The work explores life’s shifting phases and invites viewers to step beyond the familiar. “It’s about stories that reach everyone,” says Aina. “This goes beyond Africa, it’s about spreading our branches, regardless of identity or background.”

 

This spirit of expansion echoes through James’ collection. Traditional weaving techniques, intricate beadwork, and reimagined Nigerian advertising motifs bring new depth to his signature tailoring.

This collaboration, James reveals, is about “celebrating individuality, the things that unite us rather than divide us.”

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Ntianu Obiora is a versatile creative professional with over a decade of experience in publishing, marketing, communications, and digital strategy. She is the Online Editor at THEWILL DOWNTOWN

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About Author / Ntianu Obiora

Ntianu Obiora is a versatile creative professional with over a decade of experience in publishing, marketing, communications, and digital strategy. She is the Online Editor at THEWILL DOWNTOWN

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