Tolu Coker is a young British-Nigerian Fashion and Textiles Designer, Illustrator and Multi-Disciplinary Artist based in London.
Launching the brand in 2018 following her graduation from Central Saint Martins, Coker’s work is argely inspired by the politics of identity and social climates, and informed by her multi-disciplinary practice. Merging artisan craftsmanship with innovative technology, her mainly- unisex designs have a key focus on deconstruction and sustainability and her work has since been internationally recognised by publications and platforms such as Vogue, Dazed, Hunger, An0ther, WWD, Sky News and The Evening Standard.
Deconstructing the complexities of Diasporic Black Identity, Coker’s collections are illustrative, dynamic and thought-provoking, flirting with the boundaries of contemporary art and fashion.
Her work extends beyond the medium of clothing, with her illustrations, documentaries and fashion films being commissioned by brands and outlets including Teen Vogue, Vogue Italia, Diesel, Swatch, Illy Caffè, Vice Media, American Express and Dr Martens. 2018 saw Coker’s temporary relocation to Shanghai, where she undertook collaborations as artist-in-residence at the infamous Swatch Peace Art Hotel.
The young designer was shortlisted as a finalist in the ASOS Fashion Discovery 2018, and is a triple-award winner of the globally-acclaimed ITS 2018, where she took home a hat trick of awards across both Fashion and Artwork categories - The Diesel Award, The Vogue Talents Award and The ITS Time For Coffee Award.
Boasting a global client base, Coker debuted her first designer collection ‘Juvenile Consciousness’, for the AW19 season at London Fashion Week, after winning the coveted Fashion Scout Merit Award. The same year, in addition to showcasing at the Lagos Biennale in Nigeria, she collaborated on the design of a limited edition Swatch watch, exclusive coffee set with the prestigious Illy Caffe Art Collection. Namely, she was listed on the 2019 Evening Standard Progress 1000 list, as one of London’s most influential people aged 25 and under.
Passionate about using fashion and design for social change, Coker is often called upon to discuss social matters by news and media outlets such as The Guardian, Sky News and Showstudio. Coker’s most recent work has seen her hone in to her love of empowering communities. Teaming up with Vlisco and The City of Joy in late 2019, Coker’s work journeyed to the Democratic Republic of Congo where she designed a collection in honour of the lives of women survivors of rape through war violence.
2020 saw the young designer opt to team up with charity ‘Choose Love’ for London Fashion Week, and create a special t-shirt design in honour of the communities she connected with during her time in Rwanda, in place of a runway collection. The proceeds of the t-shirts, all of which are donated back into the charity, support the grassroots projects under Choose Love’s umbrella, which include projects supporting refugees, immigrants and minority communities both locally and globally.
These projects, which shine light on important societal issues, have set precedent for a new trajectory of projects and work, in which Coker continues to use her platform to highlight important issues across the globe.In addition to being selected as one of Teen Vogue’s ‘Generation Next’, Coker was recently nominated as ‘Woman of The Year 2020’ and is listed on the Drapers 30 under 30 2021 List. Coker is primarily based in London, building her eponymous label, TOLU COKER.