The Aṣọ Concept
The Aṣọ lifestyle brand produces ethical contemporary African-inspired clothing, jewellery, accessories, and stationary.
‘Aṣọ’ means ‘cloth’ in the Yoruba language. For us, Aṣọ it is a metaphor for all people of African descent around the world – with each community representing an individual thread of the cloth.
We explore creative expressions rooted in African tradition, arts and culture, and how they have travelled across the globe.
Based in London, UK we were launched at Africa fashion Week London (AFWL) in 2014 by owner – British-born and London-based Nigerian - Nathaniel Akinpelu Williams.
We have been regular participants at events including Africa Fashion Week London (AFWL), Africa Utopia (London), Afropunk (London), Afropunk (Paris), ArtPressY’self (Paris), and Afro Hair & Beauty Live (London).
We have collaborated with artists from across the African diaspora to produce unique and authentic creations. Our collaborations have included: Kayo Anosike (Nigeria/UK), Kosisochukwu Nnebe (Nigeria/Canada), Komi Olaf (Nigeria/Canada). Olissa Nwadiogbu (Nigeria), and Tarra-Louise Charles (Haiti/America).
For a long-time Nathaniel’s Father resided in Festac Town, Lagos Nigeria. It was on visits there that he first encountered the image of the 15th century ivory pendent mask of Iyoba Idia – sometimes referred to (much to his annoyance!) as the ‘Festac Mask’. The impact was long-lasting, and he always sought to create a t-shirt based on this image.
Travels to Salvador de Bahia, Cuba, Panama, Uruguay, Venezuela, and Puerto Rico were life-changing. Through these trips, Nathaniel experienced the depth, diversity, and resilience of dispersed African communities. They were unique and captured both their past and present. The original t-shirt idea developed further into a concept to embrace the wider experience of the diaspora.
Further inspiration and motivation came from inside a London theatre – at Inua Ellam’s’ Black T-Shirt Collection’ the story of two Nigerian brothers – who create a global t-shirt brand craved by celebrities.
The brand has grown steadily from the original t-shirt concept. The Aṣọ range now includes leather accessories, stationary, and jewellery. We continue to develop new concepts, tell new stories, forged new collaborations, and hit new shores.