There is not much in Orange Culture's clothing to be called a men's brand. In the studio label in upscale Lagos – a traditionally feminine detail – silk ornaments and fuchsia pink dress are tough.
The brand is part of a new generation of continent-based designers who reject obsolete concepts of gender in the context of identity, culture and race.
"I found out she was growing up, people were told they needed to be heavy, they needed to be seen as men.
Orange Backstage Culture in Lagos Fashion Week. The goal of the line is to question gender standards. Credit: courtesy of Adesuos Okosun
"And it was so embedded in our culture, and I really wanted to question this interview," Oke-Lawal CNN said of the goal behind his name "rodent fluid".
"It was important for people to think outside of a certain type of African man, but they believed that men could be so many different things. We can be emotional, we can be vulnerable, and we can express ourselves, but we want without being considered less than African."
Oke-Lawal – 28-year-old native of Lagos, popular in the international fashion market since its launch in 2011.
"I found it growing up, people were informed that they needed to be heavy, they needed to be seen as men, and so embedded in our culture."
Adebayo Oke-Lawal, Orange Culture
His special mission has made his proposals a devoted global audience. He was the finalist of the LVMH Prize, becoming the first Nigerian brand to appear in London in 2016, and his collaboration with Nigerian musician David was instantly eliminated by London's Selfridges.
One contribution to Instagram generated more than 600 responses. "I have so many hate reminders," Oyeyemi said.
But – "the youngsters are more progressive," he added. "Even if they do not speak about their language, they understand and appreciate it and they will not discriminate."
Androgy's label Maxivive has often parted Nigerians despite their international recognition. Credit: courtesy Kosol Onwudinjor / Maxivive
The inspiration of the label comes from Paris's Burning – a documentary of the 90s, which looks at the spectacular, sub-culture of drag queens living in New York City.
But for Oyeyemi, this is a somewhat more varied conversation about disagreement: "It's about trying new things, let's go of the ideology of what to be," he explained.
"In the past, I had conversations about religion, sexuality, human development …
"Tomorrow I can decide to produce ladies' garments, but I still call it men's clothing and someone can wear it. I do not want to be limited in any way."
Papa Oyeyemi photographed in Ikeja district in Lagos, Nigeria. Credit: Nosmot Gbadamosi
"At the end of the day, sexual fluidity is not related to sexuality, it's more about people to be in touch with their male and female side," Oke-Lawal said.
"It can not be the only kind of Nigerian man or woman, there must be room for further definitions that do not necessarily match that view," said editor Richard Akuson earlier in CNN.
"If people do not understand that this kind of person may exist, I need more for this kind of menswear."
Adebayo Oke-Lawal, Orange Culture
Photographer Per-Anders Pettersson spent five years in Cape Town documenting fashion communities across Africa on the new African Catwalk. Over 40 fashionable weeks and 15 countries, its series provides an intimate look at the emerging industry. In this photo, African-American model Diandra Forrest has her make-up and hair before the show during South Africa Fashion Week. Credit: Per-Anders Pettersson
"Moving with the outside world"
"When we began to create pieces that were the birth fluid, we were just moving with what we are witnessing in the outside world," Mdingi said in a telephone conversation.
"The fact is that I am in the company of incredible people who have found out what masculinity is about myself, and that allowed me to measure and determine what it means to me and how it evolved in my Cape Town area."
The 25-year-old view of the shift of the "cross-cultural" environment is the source of the overall look of his latest collection called Soulful II, which has been reflected in Japanese drawings.
Others approached gender-neutral adaptation for pragmatic reasons.
The idea of the South African designation AKJP was to create ready-to-use pieces that combine liquid silhouettes with striking prints. Credit: Courtesy of Neil Roberts / AKJP
"Initially, it was an easy way to start making women's clothes," Paulson said in an e-mail. "Women's clothes came from the ideas we had previously established through our collections of men's clothing."
"They grew up together with the two brothers in whom I enjoyed some t-shirts and jackets and wore them, but they could not do the same thing with my stuff," said the 29-year-old. "The idea behind my unisex jacket was accessible to everyone.
"Zimbabwe is ideal for sex fashion because of the current financial climate we live in, with high unemployment, minimum disposable income and limited resources."
Rooted in heritage
With a fashion designer mother and dramatic father, 31-year-old twins Sylvia Enekwe and Olivia Enekwe-Okoji began to reflect in 2012 their childhood growing up in Enugu, East Nigeria.
Presentation of Gozel Green at the Arise Fashion 2018 weekend in Lagos, Nigeria. Credit: Nosmot Gbadamosi
"Our late father wrote many poems in life, so for every collection we create, we interpret his stories into our design aesthetics," said Enekwe-Okoji.
But what local consumers are causing disagreement? Zimbabwe Mushayi admits that most of her customers come from the US.
"Reaction was good" for AKJP in South Africa.
But 67 percent of South Africans agree with this message: "It's disgusting to dress men as women and women dress up as men."
The male model prepares to shoot at the Orange Culture studio in Lagos, Nigeria. Credit: Nosmot Gbadamosi
"A lot of men's clothing at that time was very effective suits, it was very hypermetlina and we came up with that brand that was in the opposite direction," Oke-Lawal reminded of the launch of Orange Culture.
"So people simply did not accept it.
"I saw that if people do not understand that this kind of person may exist, I need more for this kind of men's clothing."
Attitudes are changing. "People are now thinking about what we are doing and why we are getting so much credit outside of Nigeria," said Oke-Lawal.
"It really helped us find a stronger voice in our site."