This year, Instagram's @design, in collaboration with the Brooklyn Museum, launched the #BlackDesignVisionaries grant, awarding a total of $130,000 to Black businesses and aspiring designers. Taofeek Abijako, 23, will receive $100,000 as creative director of his fashion label, Head of State, as one of four multidisciplinary artists who received funding. Dominique Petit-Frère, Sabl Stays, and Tré Seals are among the other artists to be honored.
Abijako, a native of Lagos, Nigeria, has made New York his second home, and his upbringing in Albany, New York, continues to have an impact on his work. He creates clothing with a focus on functionality for city life, while still retaining his African flair by referencing traditional Nigerian fashions. In September's spring 2022 collection, the five-year-old brand debuted womenswear for the first time. Historically, Head of State has been known for a number of fashion industry firsts. Abijako is the youngest designer to have shown at men's New York Fashion Week in 2018. Nonetheless, this award is a significant achievement for any young designer.
"This grant gives us more flexibility to properly structure the brand and expand our initiatives," Abijako tells us over the phone. "The possibilities are limitless, ranging from strengthening our e-commerce platform and design team to launching campaigns focused on telling the stories of the communities we care about." It is critical that we build an ecosystem that not only tells stories about marginalized spaces, but also provides real opportunities in exchange." He tells Vogue.