It’s been a big year for Los Angeles designer Autumn Adeigbo, whose colorful, feminine designs have caught the attention of celebrities, investors (to the tune of nearly $3 million raised in October) and department stores, with Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Bergdorf Goodman now stocking the brand.
But it hasn’t been without challenges, too — including having Jeffrey Campbell release ankle strap clogs that look extremely similar to Adeigbo’s, down to the rhinestone buckle, at a fraction of the price before she could even get them to the shelves. (After being called out on social media earlier this month, Campbell pulled the style.)
“If someone in my tribe didn’t send it to me, I still wouldn’t know,” said Adeigbo, explaining how the incident highlights brands posting black squares but not supporting Black designers. “I want people to be pushing for equality everyday.…Black Lives Matter is not last season.”
But her tribe rallied around her, sales of the shoe actually skyrocketed after the incident, and she actually gained Instagram followers. “It has to be about more than cheapest and fastest,” she said. “I went from poverty to where I am today by telling myself I could afford that expensive pair of shoes, which now with Afterpay has never been easier,” she laughed of manifesting her fashion destiny.
The biggest challenge now is getting the business side right, including factories and production, she said, acknowledging that she wished her spring 2022 collection was not two months late to market. “We grew so fast, I’m trying to keep up with demand while keeping things in place.”
For spring, she kept her “culture, color, conscience” brand story going, expanding her range of globally sourced textiles while balancing classic and trend pieces.
Adeigbo is adept at mixing prints, and the tropical vibe of many of the new pieces should expand the collection’s reach into vacation and resortwear. A ruffled brown palm print bustier paired wide-legged pants had the feminine-sophisticate twist the brand is becoming known for, as did a diamond-patterned biker jacket with puff sleeves. While dresses are a forte, there were also lots of separates rounding out the offerings, including babydoll tops, shorts, laced-front flared leather pants and a great-looking tailored mixed print blazer. Special details included her signature waist cutouts.
“It’s been so cool to start turning it into a lifestyle brand,” she said of bucking the trend and doing all categories at once, including home.
“We have an opportunity with our amazing community,” she said of her growing following. “I just want to figure out how to hack it.”