Ode To Gabo

Collection 2023

My father played an integral role in shaping my career. He encouraged my creativity and always supported me where he could. In my preteen years, I would take his clothes and my mother’s scarves, deconstruct them and fashion hand-sewn rudimentary outfits. When he found out, I was scared he would scold me but instead, he gave me more of his clothes including suits and old work shirts to practise with.

‘Ode to Gabo’ pays homage to my late father who passed away in 2021. His nickname was Gabo, coined from Gabriel. He had been ill for a couple of years before his passing. These past years have not been the easiest for my family. Through it all, I’m thankful for all I have achieved so far in my field with their constant emotional support.

The burial was a particularly draining process for me, but even in my grief, I was surrounded by beauty. My brother and I would take an okada (commercial motorcycle) from our village Idumuje Unor, to Isieluku market to buy things we needed and although I am deathly afraid of motorcycles, it was always very therapeutic passing those fields where life seemed to flourish. I took inspiration from the refreshing simplicity of village life and the clarity it offers, incorporating the greenery, grass, farms and raffia into the collection. These elements lent a distinct flair to the looks this season and serve as a memento of the time we spent in the village burying my late father.


For this collection, I used suiting and shirting fabrics reminiscent of his clothes to create pieces like I would when I was younger. We made shirt dresses and suits in the spectrum of a rainbow, representing inclusivity and diversity, an all-embracing image of love and a promise of better times to come. This loosely translates to my mother’s Igbo name; “Nkeiruka” which means “What is in front is greater”. As my forever muse, the models are styled just like her. In the 90’s and early 2000’s she always had an updo/ wrapped hair, red lips and nails.

My dad’s version of a hug was him snapping his fingers with the tips of one of our ears (Helix) whenever we were not paying attention, startling us into laughter. I will always remember him as an attentive, fun-loving and kind man. I dedicate this body of work to him and hope to always make him proud. Rest well, Daddy.

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