Togo Vivi Na: A Roadmap Collection by Agbobly – Weaving Heritage and Identity into Fashion

Togolese designer Jacques Agbobly has unveiled his transformative collection, "Togo Vivi Na: A Roadmap," under the newly christened brand Agbobly. This collection stands as an ode to Agbobly's childhood memories and the exploration of personal identity, interweaving traditional Togolese handcraft techniques with a contemporary twist. Rooted in the designer's rich Togolese heritage and inspired by the dual experiences of migration and self-discovery, the collection paints a vivid picture of colors, patterns, and textures that bridge the gap between past and present. With a meticulous eye for detail and an innate ability to infuse garments with storytelling, Agbobly's designs evoke a sense of joyful emotion, challenging the conventional norms of fashion and offering a profound narrative of individuality and inclusivity. As Agbobly navigates the transformative journey from Black Boy Knits to Agbobly, the essence of their creations resonates as a celebration of both heritage and self-expression, leaving an indelible mark on the fashion landscape.
Togo Vivi Na A Roadmap Collection by Agbobly - Weaving Heritage and Identity into Fashion

“A Tapestry of Heritage: Agbobly’s ‘Togo Vivi Na: A Roadmap’ Collection Unveiled”

Photo by Jacq Harriet
Photo by Jacq Harriet

In the vibrant world of fashion, where trends ebb and flow, occasionally emerges a designer who manages to defy convention and create a collection that is not just about style, but about a deep-rooted connection to culture and identity. Such is the case with Togolese designer Jacques Agbobly and his evocative collection, “Togo Vivi Na: A Roadmap,” presented under his eponymous brand, Agbobly.

Inspired by the designer’s cherished memories of his childhood home in Togo and his journey to self-discovery, “Togo Vivi Na: A Roadmap” is more than just a fashion collection – it is a narrative, a bridge between past and present, and a testament to the power of individuality. Agbobly’s brand is a celebration of the multifaceted nature of Blackness and West African heritage, intertwining traditional Togolese handcraft techniques with a contemporary twist.

Central to Agbobly’s design philosophy is the celebration of individuality. With a keen sense of playful optimism and a dash of West African nationalism, the brand challenges preconceived notions about work created by African designers. This new approach is a breath of fresh air in the world of fashion, where diversity and inclusivity often take a backseat to more conventional trends.

The collection serves as a tribute to Agbobly’s rich Togolese heritage, intertwined with their personal journey of migration and self-discovery. Agbobly and their family’s journey from Togo to the United States in 2007, settling in Chicago before relocating to New York City, forms the backbone of the designer’s creative expression. This melding of cultures and experiences gives birth to a unique design aesthetic that is equal parts colorful childhood memories and urban sophistication.

Togo Vivi Na A Roadmap Collection by Agbobly - Weaving Heritage and Identity into Fashion
Photo by Phi Vu

At the heart of “Togo Vivi Na: A Roadmap” lies a deep respect for traditional Togolese handcraft techniques. The collection’s pieces, crafted with care and meticulous attention to detail, pay homage to the designer’s upbringing surrounded by the bustling textile trade and sewing studios of Togo. The use of Togolese flag colors – red, green, and yellow – reflects a sense of nationalism and pride that has emerged from the shadows of colonial history.

Agbobly’s transformation from the grassroots effort of Black Boy Knits to the broader horizon of Agbobly is a testament to the designer’s journey of growth and evolution. The brand’s expansion includes not only knits but also denim, tailored items, and shirting, a progression that was inevitable as Agbobly’s work began to outgrow the confines of their small Brooklyn studio. The introduction of production for stores and the brand’s first-ever in-house knitter are milestones that mark Agbobly’s ascent to wider commercial success.

Collaboration has played a pivotal role in Agbobly’s creative journey. The brand’s rebranding process involved a close partnership with collaborators such as Ojeras Studios and Abiké Studio, resulting in a seamless fusion of concept and execution. Furthermore, Agbobly’s participation in programs like the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund and the Fashion Trust U.S. showcases the industry’s recognition of the brand’s potential and impact.

Picture of designer Jacques Agbobly  Photographer Nayquan Shuler HuntrMania
Picture of designer Jacques Agbobly Photographer Nayquan Shuler

The resulting “Togo Vivi Na: A Roadmap” collection is a delightful fusion of colors, patterns, and textures that transport the wearer to Agbobly’s Togolese roots and urban inspirations. Candy stripe sweaters, cargo pants, and cotton gingham motifs take on new life through exaggerated proportions and a touch of deconstruction. The collection’s essence exudes joy, embodying Agbobly’s belief that fashion should not only be a business but a source of emotional connection.

As Agbobly sets their sights on the future, the brand’s evolution continues with plans to launch their first e-commerce site, offering exclusive one-of-a-kind pieces that encapsulate the brand’s unique spirit. The collection’s pieces, priced between $1,000 and $1,500 on average, are not just garments – they are wearable stories, each thread and bead a testament to Agbobly’s journey, heritage, and the beauty of embracing one’s identity.

In an industry often criticized for its lack of diversity and inclusion, Agbobly’s “Togo Vivi Na: A Roadmap” collection stands as a beacon of hope and inspiration. It reminds us that fashion is not just about aesthetics; it’s about the stories we tell, the connections we make, and the bridges we build between cultures and experiences. Jacques Agbobly’s journey from Black Boy Knits to Agbobly is a roadmap not only for the brand’s future but for the future of fashion itself – a future where individuality and heritage take center stage, and where the joy of self-expression knows no bounds.

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