It’s clear that Adémidé Udoma (co-founder and creative director of ABAGA VELLI) has a clear creative vision. His revered work within fashion design, art direction and styling could tell you that. But for ABAGA VELLI, his design and clothing brand founded early this year, this creative vision extends past the points of limitations: with his first collection, COUP 001, being the first of 99 more to come.
Making its London Fashion Week debut, ABAGA VELLI’S keen focus on ”community, culture and displacement” combined with its interweaving of lived experiences and extensive research has already earned it a loyal following in the creative spheres. Catching up with Ade about the new collection, his dedication to the personal as an all-encompassing facet of his work is evident: from his Mum being his biggest champion and first recipient of his designs, to the consideration placed on each ABAGA piece as a potential heirloom for the wearer.
The collection itself utilises and experiments with the same pattern in different, sustainable materials. A wax jacket, made to visually transform with time, age and its surroundings, sits heavy on the rack as a winter offering. Elsewhere, the same jacket in a lighter material bestows a completely different silhouette: one of fluidity, movement and informality. Here, the core concept of COUP 001 as a vessel for ‘infinity’ is expressed: these are clothes to be worn, worn again, passed down, and transformed with both aesthetics and situational context.
This core ethos is further expressed throughout the collection as various references to past, present and future: scraps of fabric from this collection and ones to come adorn the showroom, hinting at possible future pieces. One of the standout pieces from the drop sees infinity worked into it as a formula: with Pi becoming a repeating numerical pattern adorning jackets and trousers. What could just be a dynamic pattern from afar is revealed as the code only when scrutinised – for ABAGA VELLI, infinity is entirely incorporated into the collection’s fabric.
With the concept extending from the micro, involved in the fabric itself, to the macro, in the future plans of the collection and brand as a whole, ABAGA VELLI’s COUP 001 has defined a blueprint for a foundational wardrobe, just as its getting started. Blending tactile, engineered tailoring with a confident consideration of what’s cool now and will forever be cool, Ade’s vision is one of Street Elegance.
His favourite piece? A jacket which showcases this dichotomy in clear terms: a double breasted jacket, made casual and contemporary with dropped shoulders and ‘raw’ finishes. As they describe, it’s about “contemporary lifestyle dressing for a global mindset” – weaving in influences from the diaspora, the infinite, and the coveted functionality. Watch this space.
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