Autumn Adeigbo is ready to be the next great American fashion brand.
The Los Angeles-based designer has Hollywood fans (Kerry Washington, Gabrielle Union, Zooey Deschanel); Silicon Valley investor cheerleaders (Stitch Fix founder Katrina Lake, Rent the Runway’s Jennifer Hyman), and New York fashion mentors (Tory Burch and Tommy Hilfiger).
Her aesthetic is glam but accessible, and her brand ethos — “culture, color, conscience” — is made for this moment of values-led purchasing.
In business since 2015, Adeigbo is entering a new phase of growth, buoyed by $1.3 million of institutional investments, which is enabling her to expand from two to four seasonal deliveries, and add footwear and handbags for fall. The brand is stocked at Intermix, ShopBop, Elyse Walker, Anthropologie, Nordstrom, Free People and Rent the Runway, among others, and she is looking to expand her retail footprint.
“Our girl is the bright spot of every room,” she said during a preview at her West Hollywood studio, awash with color and print, from the bright yellow plaid Italian jacquard double-breasted suit with wool bouclé collar after an Adeigbo design Washington wore to the Biden inauguration, to the blue floral-print pleated dress with single dramatic puff sleeve that would work on any body, to the covetable rose jacquard clogs with rhinestone and marabou feather flourishes that are pure fashion fantasy.
A Parsons graduate with a background in Hollywood styling and New York nightlife, the designer has a 360-degree lifestyle vision and a global eye.
“We are trying to be thoughtful with how we produce and distribute — sourcing from living wage countries, skipping over low regulation countries as much as we can, producing clothing in women-owned production facilities,” said Adeigbo, showing off a new group of seed-beaded headbands made by female artisans in India who are paid a fair wage.
The fall collection mixed African florals, Italian jacquards and tartans to joyful effect on feminine pieces that pack a punch for their contemporary price point, whether it be a mauve floral snake-embossed asymmetric top with a single volume sleeve and waist cutout, or a zebra-print faux-fur jacket.
Adeigbo keeps a range of customers in mind. For example, a yellow floral brocade T-shirt with an attached bra top nodded to the lingerie trend, but not just for tweens. “It’s a professional cropped top,” the designer said of the piece, which she paired with a yellow leather miniskirt.
Dresses are a strong category, from a multibrocade draped pencil dress with va-va-voom bare midriff, to more forgiving drop-waisted trapeze dresses with cutout necklines.
Meanwhile, Lurex striped black stretch velvet flared pants and a red tartan jersey cutout twist peplum top; mixed rose jacquard cropped track pants and matching pullover, and a stretch floral velvet cutout top and shirred skirt had the magic formula of drama and ease.
In addition to several styles of glam clogs in animal and floral patterns, she showed her first bags — laptop totes with rhinestone buckle details. She also made her first foray into knits, introducing an “AA” logo pattern cardigan and matching bra top and high-waisted brief.
Working with just one employee (her former barista, Hunter — how’s that for an only-in-L.A. story?), Adeigbo will be hiring eight people this year, seeking out expertise in sales, merchandising and retail strategy.
“This journey has been so hard for so long, working two jobs and not having money to make the machine go. But in that process, I have learned a lot of patience and faith,” she said. “Now things are moving forward so aggressively and I’m excited people have started to take notice of my work. I’m sad about what it took for that to happen, which is the Black Lives Matter movement, but I’m happy. And I’m looking forward to the day when I’m not known as a Black designer, I’m just known as a designer.”