Adeju Thompson Unveils “Cloth as a Queer Archive”: Exploring Yoruba Textile Culture and Minimalism in Nigerian Fashion

June 26, 2023

Debuted through the Lagos Space Programme, a brand dedicated to multidisciplinary and collaborative futures, Adeju Thompson is poised to reveal their highly anticipated eighth collection, "Cloth as a Queer Archive." With unwavering determination in the face of Nigeria's historically rigid views on queerness, Thompson's 'Project 8' collection delves into the rich tapestry of Yoruba textile culture and its intersection with adornment practices within queer communities. The collection beautifully showcases how clothing serves as a decorative expression and a form of protection.

A Celebration of Queer Semiotics and African Minimalism

Thompson's collection delves into the exploration of queer semiotics while examining minimalism from an African perspective. Challenging the popular imagination of the African aesthetic as vibrant and robust, Thompson highlights the presence of minimalism as an integral part of Yoruba expression for centuries. This aesthetic predates the European influence on Nigerian society. By celebrating the aesthetic and spiritual significance of bodily adornment in Yoruba culture, Thompson's collection embraces the art of Adire—an indigo-dye resist technique practiced by Yoruba women in southwestern Nigeria. This parallel between traditional Adire storytelling and modern-day subcultures showcases how queer communities exclusively share their stories through languages, symbols, and gestures to their own groups.

Transnational Black Experiences and the Power of Beauty

Adeju Thompson's 'Project 8' collection celebrates the richness of transnational Black experiences. The versatility of Merino wool takes center stage in this collection, showcasing its ability to be fashioned into complex garments. Thompson explores the infinite possibilities within the margins, challenging conventional beauty norms and creating a new form of defense through their designs. Each garment becomes a conduit for self-expression, pushing boundaries and embracing the essence of personal identity.

Lagos Space Programme: Pushing Boundaries, Embracing Craftsmanship

Founded by Nigerian designer Adeju Thompson in 2018, Lagos Space Programme is a genderfluid, luxury design project that delves deep into the exploration and expansion of African futures. The brand's ethos revolves around genuine craftsmanship and prioritizes the beauty of slow fashion, advocating for ethical and sustainable practices in garment production. Recognized for their exceptional talent, Lagos Space Programme was shortlisted for the prestigious LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers in 2021 and emerged as the winner of the International Woolmark Prize in 2023.

Adeju Thompson: Preserving Culture, Embracing Queer Identity

With over five years of experience in the fashion industry, Adeju Thompson founded Lagos Space Programme in 2018. Their creative work is rooted in sustainability and cultural preservation, drawing inspiration from personal experiences shaping their journey as a prominent designers. As a queer individual, Thompson uses their collection creation process for deep self-reflection and understanding. Influenced by the beauty of Lagos, a fascination with traditional Yoruba production techniques, and the vibrant queer community surrounding them, Thompson continues to tell stories through archival Nigerian fashion, adding a fresh and contemporary twist to the narrative.

For more information, please visit