African men are viewed through mostly negative perspectives across many parts of the world.

In Europe, Italy to be precise, they are commonly seen as the ones who peddle trinkets and bags on the corner, but never in designer suits.

Wale oyejide, the creative director and brains behind Philadephia-based African fashion brand, Ikire Jones, is also an Afrobeats musician, writer and attorney.

Being an immigrant himself, the Nigerian-born designer began his journey into the  fashion industry as part of a personal creative evolution.

Without any formal education in fashion, his designs are sometimes inspired by Kanye Wests’ lyrics and the latest collection from Ikire Jones is themed ‘After Immigration’.

The West African models and asylum seekers, Abdoulay, Gitteh and Madi  were scouted from a local settlement organization that houses asylum seekers.

The collection seeks to portray African Immigrants as real and employable people with stories like every other human.

In contrast to popular African-themed fashion editorials where the models are impoverished and posing in a sad background, these models were dressed up in really cool suits in the streets of Florence, Italy to portray their elegant side.

‘After Immigration’ also aims to tackle the lack of diversity and black models in high end fashion by proving that men like Abdoulay and his friends can be found in many parts of the world.

The models were also featured when the collection was displayed in Italy’s Pitti Uomo Fashion show.

This editorial shoot shows the many holes in not only the fashion world but also immigration policies.

All Ikire Jones pieces can be shopped here: Check out their Twitter page for more interesting photos: @IkireJones

Check out this video of the shoot.

Photography and featured image by Neil Watson of 10 Leaves.

What do you think of this collection?


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