Citizen

Selected Works: Torishéju

Through deep historical research and imaginative interpretations, garment designer, Torishéju Dumi, bridges the gap between fantasy and reality, in this special edition of “Selected Works”, a bright team of creatives joins her to bring her world or garments and wonder to life.

Introduction by Gabriella Karefa Johnson
Photography by Jesse Crankson
Issue 002

I first came across Torishéju Dumi’s work in 2020. Like a pot of gold rested at the foot of a rainbow, images of Torishéju’s work were sitting at the end of a Dropbox link. Seeing her collection for the first time, I had the immediate frustration of knowing that there was no screen bright enough, no LED or high-definition technology powerful enough to communicate Torishéju’s vision. The closest known phenomenon that I can describe her work in terms of is a supernova—a brilliant ball of bright light, a possibility that feels so expansive, so vast, and yet molecular, atomic, and granular in its essentialness. Her work is about eternity in a way. There is a timeless quality in how she reinvents the most familiar pieces in our modern minds with her practice of upcycling. For example, that tension between the timeless and the new can be seen in one particular piece—a blazer turned inside-out to reveal a double-horned halter the designer dreamt up. There is a sense of urgency in her work—something entirely of the right-here-right-now as if she’s in a race against herself to invent new languages, codes, and textures in our visual lives. When I encountered the images of her graduate collection at Central Saint Martins, it became quite clear to me that a .jpeg doesn’t stand a chance against the impossible task of capturing her world—the sculptures she makes for our bodies. Tubular construction and 360-degree silhouettes woven and folded and draped in shapes that feel at once new but also as old as mythology or religion. As I reflect on Torishéju’s work and re-read this passage in a desperate attempt to clarify what exactly it is that I find most exciting about her work and presence, I am struck by how contradictory it all is. But, perhaps these contradictions are as close as I can come to articulating how pivotal Torishéju’s work is and will be. She is creating friction in a world that has started to feel too cold, too familiar. She challenges my notion of what fashion is; she draws me deeper into her constellation. And, perhaps Torishéju’s brief answers to the below questions and the images that follow can serve as an early snapshot of a world we have yet to see up close.

Q: In one sentence how would you describe this work or collection?
A: A collective stream of consciousness moving throughout the years.

Q: What makes this work yours, separate and apart from other works, what about this work speaks to your personal viewpoint, and what you want to place into the world?
A: Now that it’s out in the world, it doesn’t really belong to me anymore but what made it mine when creating it was the extensive research and planning that went into each garment, the minute details. I love researching, which I think can be seen in the garments I create. I believe that that process of research, and that process of planning speaks to my personal viewpoint.

Q: Where was this work made (conceptualized, executed, and produced)?
A: Everywhere and any place I could work. I find it very easy to adapt to certain places and situations to create work and live.

Q: What do you love most about this work or collection?
A: It’s hard to choose what I love most about this work, that sounds a bit self-indulgent and I’m still honing my craft. So I haven’t really had time to love any one piece before I move on to the next thought or idea in my head.

Q: Of the works in this collection, what work do you love the most and why?
A: See above.

Q: In a few sentences, tell us a short story about this work, something that happened while making it, or in connection to it.
A: Hm, so many things happened whilst making these garments, I honestly wouldn’t know where to start.

Q: If you had to affix a date to this work what would that date or those dates be?
A: I have no idea.

Photography: Jesse Crankson
Fashion Director/Styling: Juan Jose Moukonsue
Casting: Aymeric at AYMCASTING
Makeup: Viktor Taylor
Producer: Natalie Tuffuoh
Creative Direction: Henrietta Gallina

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