Started by designer Papa Oyeyemi when he was just 15 years old, Maxivive is a gender fluid Nigerian fashion label that has developed a reputation for challenging traditional menswear tropes through subversive takes on classically gendered styles. Built on a practice of experimentation, his goal with the brand is to disrupt the narrative of African fashion through thought-provoking garments that can be worn by everyone. “I design for human beings, not animals,” he told Metal Magazine of this eschewing of the gender binary. “Gender is never primary; it’s not even secondary either. I like to think it doesn’t exist.”
Recognized for silhouettes that emphasize fine tailoring and rich textures, and pieces that are at once dramatic and highly wearable, Maxivive has mastered the art of androgyny-meets-minimalism rooted in traditional Nigerian menswear. He’s shown at Milan Fashion Fashion Week, Lagos Fashion Week, and South African Menswear Fashion Week, and according to Oyeyemi, much of his aesthetic inspiration comes from queer ballroom culture. With a background in family psychology, he also draws from elements of human interactions, behavioral patterns, and cultural norms that he finds interesting and applies them to his work.
Aside from the garments he designs for Maxivive, Oyeyemi has also started a diffusion line called Mxvv. A sports luxe extension of the original brand, it was established to address what it’s designer sees as a lack of indigenous sports brands in the African fashion market.