19-year-old Taofeek Abijako was one of the youngest designers to show at this year’s New York Fashion Week. Inspired by the rich culture of Nigeria, Abijako started to replicate memories of home through style with his fashion brand, Head of State.
Taofeek was born in Lagos, Nigeria and lived there until he joined his Father, also a designer, in Albany at the age of six. It was his very first time in America, “It was extreme culture shock. Back in Nigeria, seven of us lived in one room. At night, when everyone wanted to go to bed, we lifted the table and laid a mat on the floor where we all slept. Imagine going from that to having your own bedroom, 24/7 electricity, and water. It made me appreciate things more.”
In his bedroom, Taofeek’s career in fashion began. He raised funds for his projects by hand painting sneakers and selling them online. His sneakers grew in popularity when actress and musician Amandla Stenberg posted a pair of Taofeek’s custom Vans on Instagram.