Founded in 2018 by Adeju Thompson, Lagos Space Programme is a gender-neutral fashion label with a focus on local craftsmanship, capturing the attention of an audience far beyond the designer’s Nigerian hometown. In his brand manifesto, the designer describes his brand as a movement that celebrates community, tradition, and his own West African heritage.
Educated in the UK, Thompson takes inspiration from a wide variety of sources—drawing from Yohji Yamamoto, architecture, or New Romantics—all filtered through a Nigerian lens. Speaking to Vogue, the designer said, “I want to challenge obsolete norms around blackness, African design, mental health, masculinity and beauty.” He continued, “My biggest anxiety is embodying a persona that feeds into how the West expects me to present myself. I am not one-sided. I appreciate and am inspired by cultures from all around.”
Boasting an almost futuristic aesthetic Thompson’s compellingly simple collections are made up of bold, oversized knits, deftly cut trousers and tunics, and more. His design philosophy is one informed by the idea of queerness—evident in styles that blur the gender binary—and elements of Yoruba culture, with many of his pieces possessing a casual, unfinished quality and revealing a meticulous attention to detail.
Fascinated by the idea of space travel, the name of the brand comes from Thompson’s search for something that communicated this interest as well as his reverence for his own cultural history. Sustainability is also something that’s important to him, and his ethical approach to design and unconvention manipulation of materials and techniques has awarded him considerable recognition. In 2021, Thompson showed his collection at Milan Men’s Fashion Week for the first time, securing a covetable spot on the list of semi-finalists for the prestigious LVMH Prize soon thereafter.
LVMH Prize, Semi-Finalist, 2021