Y’all, I’ve thought of a million and one ways to begin this, I’ve tried a million and one ways to start this and thankfully it has now started. I am going to be talking about Haute Couture and a man who is on his way to becoming one of its greatest pioneers in every way.
Haute Couture is as old as fashion itself. In lay-man terms, it is basically custom-made clothing. There is only ever one of it, made specifically for a person by a designer. Unlike ready to wear, Haute Couture has to be made with the entire being of the person in mind. This is mind-blowing if you ask me. Haute Couture tells who you are without you having to open your mouth to speak. It’s like a hospital, but in this case, your doctors are your tailor and illustrator (if you can’t draw),you have to tell them everything, they’re also sort of like your therapy group, because you’re telling them who you are, your story, what the piece means to you, what inspired it, etc.
Haute Couture is more than clothes made with quality fabric with sometimes insane amounts of time spent on it. it’s more than an unusual piece of design; the piece is the person and the person is the piece. “Haute Couture is the highest, truest and purest form of Fashion”, it truly is and, in my opinion, nobody in the Nigerian Fashion Industry knows and does Haute Couture like this man. Known for making special pieces that have his soul, DNA and emotions in it, He is constantly and consistently breaking the rules of fashion and making his own. I mean, is this not that what fashion and style is all about? Representation and Expression? By making his own rules in an industry where there are strict, century-old rules and even stricter regulators of these rules, Tosin Ogundadegbe is not just a stylist and fashion artist, he’s also an activist.
Who is Tosin Ogundadegbe? Popularly known as The Style Infidel or TosinFromIbadan, this big 6ft+ creative has not come to play and 2020, which seemed to clamp down on people, served as a trampoline for this man. “I just figured life is actually really short and I don’t want to be caught in boring clothes”. Life is short, and The Style Infidel realised this, not just with his personal style, but with the industry at large, and this motivated him to take on a huge task projecting Nigerian fashion houses with irregular but classy and very chic clothing. Known for taking his stories to designers like Amaariol, it is no surprise this revolutionary decided the time for Nigeria and her fashion is now.
But it hasn’t been all rosy, in an industry where you have to be a particular size or look a particular way to be deemed worthy of Haute Couture, being big, tall and Avante-Garde at the same time has sent spiteful words and actions, some intentional, some not, to his doorstep, “…. little things like this will hurt you in the first place but I think I’ve come to a space where I’ve come to also understand that people are entitled to their opinions and you have to respect them for that, they don’t necessarily have to get you”.
“…and people that know me very well know that I hate to be figured out. the minute you figure me out, there’s a problem”
In a country like Nigeria, there really isn’t space for innovation and expression and it’s funny that this is even happening in creative spaces, the fashion industry is unfortunately not exempt, and The Style Infidel has found his peace with that. In fact, he basks in the fact that his style is regarded as strange, weird or eyebrow-raising. “and people that know me very well know that I hate to be figured out, the minute you figure me out, there’s a problem” and he also believes “as much as you want to be that selfless person who cares about the universe and the people in it, you never, never should forget about yourself and I was able to take all of these experiences and put it into the clothes I wear as a form of expression, of activism”.
The Style Infidel is truly what the world of fashion needs, he is that breath of fresh air and of freedom that we all need to breath in and he needs you to understand that the clothes people choose to wear may not necessarily appeal to you, but you have to respect their choices and give them the freedom to express themselves however they see fit.
Are you avant-garde with your looks? Are you minimalist? There’s space for you and your time is now. ” The most important part of life is just be good to people, dress how you want to dress,….I mean I get a lot of good feedback and at the same time I get people who troll me and say oh you’re this and that, but, I mean there’s really more to life”. And I couldn’t agree more cause in the end, the people who’ll get you, will get you and the people who won’t get you, won’t get you. Do you either way and add a little extra cause that never killed anyone lol.