Tolu Coker Brought Street and High Fashion London Fashion Week

By Sera | Mar 11, 2024

British-Nigerian designer Tolu Coker’s sophomore appearance on the London runways, at the 40th London Fashion Week was nothing short of an exciting lineup of the moment and beyond.

There was much to marvel at in a video of the model’s catwalk that appeared on my TikTok for you page, from sky-high bowler hats and beautifully woven nests of braided headpieces to perfectly tailored coats, silk scarves and gloves to match, leather pieces and so much more.

The runway was set within a backdrop of a West African marketplace, a salon stall, a POS stand, wheelbarrows filled with tubers of yam, traffic signs, abandoned tires, and other intricate details. The catwalk was preluded by a little drama piece, giving the audience an authentic experience of Cocker’s inspiration for the show, which she credits to the street hawkers she took to notice on a trip to Ghana. 

While I personally could not see the correlation or artistic relevance of the pieces to street hawkers who were neither present nor represented in the collection, Cokers’ imagery was exciting and fresh to the LFW scene. 

The predominant earth tones throughout the collection gave it a grounding premise with the detailing in the tailoring, cuts, pleats, and styling marking intentionality to the pieces and keeping the entire collection far from boring. 

The reoccurring eco-leather numbers were the signature of the collection in my opinion, with the stunning oxblood pleated mini skirt, trench coat, and erikah badu-esque bowler hat stealing the show in the subcollection for me.

The Sunday’s best pieces were the heart of the show for me, plaids and stripes, knife cut pleats, high collar shirts, and woven raffia bags with the star piece being the carton brown pleated dress over a high collared puff sleeve shirt and a multi-coloured striped tie that complimented the shekere in the model's hands. This particular look is paired with a pair of Ugg original Swade boots, an official partnership between both brands, having the models catwalk in re-imagined Ugg essentials as their co-sign in recognising Tolu Coker’s artistry. 

The denim pieces for me were the depth of the collection. A patchwork jumpsuit and the wide-legged one-piece pantsuit with wide pockets at the knees were really exciting pieces in the subcollection amongst others, however, the red A-line dress with its outlined seams and bowled snapback tied it for me.

The multicoloured striped pieces were the bow of the collection, tipping the scale on the bold undertones present in the collection as a whole. 

Overall, the show is virtually captivating and creatively resonant and has placed Coker as an emerging voice in the fashion scene worth giving a listening ear and an open purse of course. Looking forward to the parts of her artistry she decides to bring back home - to Nigeria in the near future.

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