In an apartment full of fabric and boxes, Bola Adesiyan gets ready for her runway show at African Fashion Week.
The 26 year-old fashion designer’s new collection is inspired by the personal stories of her models, who speak about wanting to be free and authentic.
“It’s their story line — you don’t have to come to me and ask me for their story,” she says. “It’s a true story of themselve.”
Telling stories of wanting to be just who you are is important for Adesiyan. That’s how she got to Canada eight years ago.
In 2016, she left Nigeria as a rainbow refugee, someone who identifies as part of the LGBTQ community. In her hometown in Nigeria, she wouldn’t be accepted for who she is.
“It wasn’t safe back home, you go to jail because of who you are,” the 26-year-old says.
Since coming to Canada, she’s become a fashion designer and hopes her designs help to show people that they can be comfortable in their own skin.
CBC Toronto caught up with Adesiyan to preview her newest collection.
For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.