Adeju Thompson is the founder and creative force behind Lagos Space Programme, a non-binary luxury label that won the International Woolmark Prize in 2023.
Thompson's innovative designs have challenged fashion’s norms around Blackness, African design, masculinity and beauty. Their work has been a leading light for a wave of young African designers working to establish themselves on an international stage.
Born and raised in Lagos, Thompson studied fashion in the UK before moving back to Nigeria in 2013, where they worked at Lagos-based womenswear brand Maki Oh and presented capsule collections at concept store Stranger Lagos.
In 2018, Thompson founded Lagos Space Programme, a design project that explores African futures through genderless collections released on their own time rather than adhering to the industry's typical seasonal schedule.
In 2021, Lagos Space Programme was shortlisted for the LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers, and the brand's designs were featured in the Victoria and Albert Museum’s “Africa Fashion” exhibit.
Their work has gained traction with an international audience as the brand presented collections at fashion weeks in Milan, Lagos and, most recently, Paris, where Thompson described their work as “exploring queer semiotics” and “a study of minimalism from an African point of view.”
Thompson’s “Cloth as a Queer Archive” featured textiles and adornments commonly used by the Yoruba people, a prominent ethnic group in West Africa.
“It’s definitely important to fuse my culture into my work because I think Africa has largely been overlooked,” Thompson told The Business of Fashion in 2021. “I have a huge customer base in the US which is why it is essential to me that I educate my audience about my culture in a way that they can understand.