Last Friday, Tia Adeola presented her spring 2023 collection in her home country of Nigeria during Lagos Fashion Week. “This show is my most special and dearest to my heart thus far,” she said over Zoom. “Just because my whole family lives here, and it was the first time I had them all at a show.”

For resort, Adeola wanted to channel Lagos as she knows it, she said, while also remaining true to her sultry and romantic sensibility. This translated best via her color palette, which included a rich green as a nod to the Nigerian flag. Adeola “hates green,” but the pop of color was a welcome addition, breaking up the throughline of black and white ruffles, feathers, and transparencies carrying over from the spring collection she presented in New York in September. She expanded on the daintier ruffles she introduced for fall because she’s been wearing her own clothes more often, and this is what she’s gravitating towards. “In the past, what I was making was almost like a fantasy for me,” she said. Now that she feels more confident, she is starting to embody this fantasy herself.

Adeola faced challenges in Lagos. “Nigeria is quite a reserved and religious country,” she said. “I’d never had so many constraints that affect design.” The city’s no-nudity rule made sending sheer looks down the runway without undergarments, as she’s done in New York, an impossibility. But this had its upside. The more covered-up looks, including the opening black dress and the draped frock in look 3, displayed a level of control Adeola could benefit from exploring further.

The designer looked to make a statement with a green dress featuring the message “God Help Nigeria” and a crossed-out Nigerian police logo on a pair of pants. “There’s a lot to be done in terms of police reform in Nigeria, and I’ve never been the type to just sit back,” she said.

Come February, Adeola will return to New York Fashion Week, though she’s looking forward to showing in Lagos again. “Lagos has an incredible emerging creative scene, and one of the biggest obstacles for us is the older generation,” she said. “I hope they invite me back and I can keep pushing and trying to break those boundaries and try to make things more acceptable so that the creatives to come after me don’t have these constrictions and can just create freely.”

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