Featuring - Tomi Agape
Words by Demi Vanessa
Photographer: Melody Berkery
Stylist: Jermaine Robinson
Hair: Shamara Roper
Make Up: Lulu Dineo
Stylist Assistant: Joy Appiah
Singer-songwriter Tomi Agapè is a UK based Afro-fusion artist, who after releasing several singles and her first project in 2020, has made an evolutionary mark as an up-and-coming new addition to the Nigerian music scene and the ever growing UK music industry.
Her distinctive sound, unapologetic style and sultry voice have made her a standout musician in her own lane, landing her opportunities to work with the likes of producers such as Juls and Nigerian based producers Spax, Le Mav & Genio. An avid versatile performer, Tomi Agapè is always going against the grain and has displayed her forward thinking approach towards her sound by playing at 'The Afropunk Festival', 'SXSW' and various other London based shows. Tomi's distinct sound and style define her as an artist who is unwilling to shrink herself to anyone's standards or expectations. In this Q&A, Tomi and I discussed the importance of individual style, how her culture has impacted her fashion taste and much more!
Tomi Agape is known for having a distinctive yet versatile style in the industry. She uses her fashion sense to tell a story in music videos by going with the mood of the song and the vibe of the treatment. In our conversation with the stylish songstress, she says "It's important for my outfits to match the aesthetic of the visuals we create."
Owning a signature style and having a strong fashion presence has become key in the music industry as of late. Tomi thinks that it's essential to know what looks good on you and know yourself. Everyone has their own aesthetic and she believes that if you put too much thought into it, it becomes slightly unauthentic. Her thoughts on the crossover of artists creating their own fashion labels or dipping into the fashion industry are of joy and high prospects, she says "I think it's SICK. I love fashion, I love clothes, I love shoes and jewellery... I love accessories. I hope to start a shoe line one day. That's one of my goals much further down the line."
When asked If she could create her own fashion label, the name and the ‘message’ of her potential clothing line, she hesitated to give a name for an element of surprise when it does come to fruition. She goes on to explain "I'd want the message to be owning your style. Being confident and unapologetic."
Coming from a Nigerian background, her heritage has impacted her style in some ways. Tomi says that she's started wearing more bright colours and that was definitely brought on by her culture. She goes on to describe that the brightness in Nigerian fabrics and materials made her want to add some colour into her daily wardrobe. "It's still not a LOT, but there has been a change." Also when asked who are some Nigerian designers or labels that she thinks people need to know more about, Tomi says "There's a Nigerian based designer called Sharon Smithy who has a bikini line that I love, it's called the SS label. She's dope." Also recently working with Fashion and Tech company STEELO STYLED recently, Tomi definitely has her ear to the latest and best in fashion alongside her talented team, especially her stylist Jermaine Robinson, who styled her for this shoot and for her recent performances.
Some of the most dynamic and iconic looks in popular culture have become long-lasting fashion trends as a result of musician’s stage outfits, music videos or editorial spreads. For Tomi, some of the noteworthy musicians that have inspired her style are Rihanna and Solange. She goes on to describe them as " Top two for sure!". When asked if there is a process to piecing her looks together, she says "I usually start with a bottom and then work my way from there! Or I start with a pair of shoes I know I want to wear. But then again sometimes I just wake up and it's super spontaneous. It just depends on the day... I'm very temperamental when it comes to my fashion."
Statement pieces are undeniably important in fashion. The term ‘less is more’ as well as being bold and extravagant when expressing your individual style is something Tomi goes back and forth with, she explains this by saying "Less is more sometimes. Again, it depends on the day and where I'm going. I do like a less is more look more often though I'd say. I usually won't have loads going on at the time." Young black creatives and brands are creating their own lane in fashion, with many household names taking inspiration from them. Tomi thinks that black people as a whole are such a blueprint in fashion. "We start trends a lot of the time and then the mainstream catches on and it's 'high fashion'. Fashion starts in the streets." Moving forward, Tomi would like to leave an impact on the music industry with her style and would like to be remembered for being herself in both spaces. She would also love to be remembered for having a spirit of excellence in whatever she touches.
"Even if I don't become the biggest, I want people to know that I was one of the best. I put my all into it."
For Look 1, the earrings are a pair of Balinese large circular brass earrings with a border of wire loops and small round beads by Pebble London. The bracelet is a Gold plated narrow open band bracelet With a large ‘Baroque’ white freshwater pearl attached to each end of the bracelet by Pebble London, taking a look at the dress, we see an upcycled cathedral veil dress and deadstock georgette by WED
For Look 2, the earrings are a pair of large golden metal tapered tube hoop earrings, each with ten knobs and an oval pendant by Pebble London. The bracelet is a golden metal heart pendant - wide elasticated bracelet by Pebble London. Dress by Eduardo Moreira
For Look 3, the earrings are by Pebble London (See Look 1 for description) and the rings are a 'rock crystal’ glass oval facetted cabochon set onto a gold plated ring by Pebble London. ‘Amethyst’ purple glass facetted emerald cut rectangular cabochon set onto a Gold plated ring by Pebble London.
‘Blue Topaz’ glass oval facetted cabochon set onto a Gold plated ring by Pebble London. Bra by Savannah and the skirt is reworked leather by Savannah also. The jacket is silk embroidered leather by Henna Malhan. The shoes are ‘Stallion’ Marsini heels.
For Look 4, the earrings are gold plated large oval earrings with white shell centres, and decorated with Twenty-One white pearls by Pebble London. The Ring is by Pebble London (see look 3 for description). The dress is a pleat dress by WED and the gloves are Flower Gloves also by WED. The shoes are Infinity ankle boots by Tabitha Ringwood
For Look 5, earrings are by Pebble London (See Look 3 for description). The bra for this look is a 'Wet Script' Bra by DI PETSA, the pants are also 'Wet Script' by DI PETSA. the dress is a 'Wet Script' Mesh
Dress by DI PETSA and shoes by SWEAR London
For Look 6, the necklace is a golden metal wide striped bands circular necklace with a centre of two patterned bands, each with a golden metal leaf by Pebble London. The suit is a reworked vintage grey set by Joy Craig Studio. Shoes are Hearts stiletto sandals by Tabitha Ringwood
For Look 7, necklace: gold plated and four stone pendant torque necklace by Pebble London. The Ring is by Pebble London (see look 3 for description). the shirt is Aissata Ibrahima jazzy shirt.