Tolu Coker SS24: A sensory celebration of Yoruba culture 

Tolu Coker SS24: A sensory celebration of Yoruba culture 

by Ollie Cox
3 min

Tolu Coker arrived at London Fashion Week to display her SS24 collection and runway debut with a (literal) bang as models took the catwalk to live music courtesy of a front-row percussionist. The sensory display featured as part of Coker’s exploration of Yoruba culture, a major religion in Nigeria. 

The collection, titled “Irapada,” which translates to redemption in Yoruba, merged the worlds of East and West, inspired by Nigeria’s Aladura Church, a theme seen in headwear worn by models. 

Coker launched her eponymous label in 2018 to explore and deconstruct diasporic Black identity, and has regularly released clothing to tackle important societal issues. This year, the designer debuted at the BFC New Gen space. This season it celebrates 30 years of nurturing some of the most promising emerging designers, including Grace Wales Bonner, Martine Rose, Kim Jones and Jonathan Anderson. 

As for the show, we first saw a tightly fastened three-buttoned double-breasted jacket paired with a collared shirt. At the waist, the structured suiting unravelled as a jet black skirt flowed with the movement of models. Gold earrings provided contrast to an unstructured sunhat, complete with semi-sheer entrails. 

Next up, we saw the muted colour palette flipped on its head, as an electrifying yellow overcoat was paired with black straight-fitting trousers and Dr. Martens, accessorised with a yellow choker and worn bare-chested. 

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The enigmatic display continued through printed shirts and trousers, with one leg coloured in  muted navy and the other emblazoned with images, paired with two-tone white and cream loafers. The homage to Yoruba culture was further seen as a white dress was paired with tall black headwear. 

As the celebration continued, models moved to the rhythm, dressed in denim two-pieces with exaggerated collars and turn-ups, nodding to traditionally Western dress with the print continuing into the inside bring of trilby hats, again built to extended proportions, skills honed by Coker during her time studying fashion design, textile and print. 

Lace dresses flowed across the floor complete with flower detailing, followed by cream corsets worn with flowing beige skirts and with brown heels complete with furry detailing. 

Coker’s debut runway collection arrives at a time when African culture is being celebrated on a global stage by fusing Yoruba culture with traditional western styles, exploring her stylistic exploration into how members of the  Nigerian diaspora may choose to dress. 

Overall, Tolu Coker’s SS24 runway debut provided an authentic exploration of Nigerian culture, both visually and sonically, bringing her lived experience to life through a collection that explored her heritage. 

You can take a look at the Tolu Coker show above. More fashion week content can be found across Tik Tok and Instagram.  

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