Walé Oyéjidé (b. 1981, Nigeria; lives in the United States) is a designer, writer, musician, and lawyer who aims to combat bias with creative storytelling.
As the founder of the brand Ikiré Jones, he employs fashion design as a vehicle to celebrate the perspectives of immigrants and other marginalized communities. With the use of fashion photography and prose, his work aims to reframe the lens through which migrants are commonly seen in Western society.
Oyéjidé was a TED Global Fellow in 2017. His designs appeared in the Marvel motion picture Black Panther, and his work and designs have been exhibited in museums across the globe.
Since 2000, more than 46,000 refugees and other migrants have died on the dangerous journey crossing the Mediterranean Sea to pursue more secure lives in Europe and beyond. Some flee their homes to escape persecution, others due to extreme economic hardship. Some are welcomed upon arrival, while many face discrimination and intolerance. We are all too familiar with stereotypical images that depict this journey: tragedies and rescue operations at sea; asylum seekers in line at check points; families living in refugee camps.
After Migration attempts to depict these newcomers differently. Using fashion photography and featuring models who are themselves migrants, the project aims to elevate and humanize their stories through the use of visual culture and to subvert mainstream media representations. These portraits reaffirm self-worth and pride among those who have experienced suffering, but choose not to be defined by it. Rather than be photographed in settings intended to solicit pity, these men and women are portrayed as regal and stately, resisting representations that limit them to the circumstances of their migration.
—Walé Oyéjidé, September 2018