This fashion designer brings her Yoruba roots to the runway

In an apartment full of fabrics and boxes, Bora Adesian prepares for her runway show at African Fashion Week.

The 26-year-old fashion designer’s new collection is inspired by her model’s personal story of being free and authentic.

“That’s their storyline. You don’t have to come up to me and ask for their story,” she says. “It’s their own true story.”

Telling the story of wanting to be who you are is important for Adesyan. That’s how she came to Canada eight years ago.

In 2016, she left Nigeria as a rainbow refugee who identifies as part of the LGBTQ community. In her hometown of Nigeria, she was not accepted for who she was.

“Hometown wasn’t safe. You’re going to jail for who you are,” says the 26-year-old.

Since coming to Canada, she has become a fashion designer. I hope her designs help show people that she can be comfortable in her own skin.

CBC Toronto caught up with Adesiyan to preview her latest collection.

For more stories about the Black Canadian experience, 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 other stories here.


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