Launched in 2016, Head of State (HOS) was founded by Nigerian-born multidisciplinary artist Taofeek Abijako when he was 17. He expresses his own social and political ideas by mixing personal narratives, material study and historical contexts, while conveying his fascination for art and everyday social relationships in marginalized spaces.
HOS offers 40 unisex sporty pieces of which 80% are made with sustainable materials including organic cotton, leather, deadstock cotton twill, mesh produced by using recycled ocean waste, recycled nylon and polyester. Most of them are dyed with the cold pad batch dyeing technique, an alternative method of reactive dyeing that uses fewer resources than traditional dyeing methods.
Abijako’s current and second collection, “Johnny Just Come,” carries the name of a Nigerian slang expression used to describe an African migrant who’s new to living in the West. For the designer, this offering bridges the gap between his nostalgic memories of West African youth culture from his upbringing in Nigeria and his assimilation to Western culture upon moving to the States. It also spotlights postcolonial youth culture and pays homage to this diverse space while critiquing the effects Western imposition has had on it.
HOS originates from this clashing intersection of cultures and aims to provoke and increase a dialogue about the past, current and future state of marginalized spaces.
The brand is sold worldwide via e-commerce through its website at prices that range from US$110 for an organic cotton signature T-shirt to US$900 for a leather jacket.
Its sales also provide funding for various initiatives dedicated to helping underserved communities in the South End of Albany and Lagos, Nigeria to build a more sustainable future through innovation in the education, infrastructure and sanitation sectors.
HOS’ current long-term goals include the building of South End Studios, a center where creatives can collaborate and nurture a place where artists and entrepreneurs can meet. It also wants to support Schools for a Sustainable Future, an initiative in Sepeteri, Nigeria to improve education through design. Among its various projects HOS has conceived a school building adapted to local climate conditions that will improve learning for kids.