#FUTURETAGGINGSYSTEM is the art of branding without
At the forefront of design, Tunji Dada rips apart old clothing and makes it over
-Boston Globe, 1993.
As a young person growing up in West Africa during the late 60s and 70s—revolutionary times when the African Independence Movements were taking place—I reveled in whatever I could get my hands on—taking objects apart and rearranging them back together. It was driven by an insatiable curiosity to learn about how these objects were constructed.
My interest in fashion was inspired by the women I grew up with who styled themselves wearing wrapped textiles (Gele)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Head_tie
mixing vibrant colors and patterns, and combing them in ways that expressed a highly personal STYLE. Because my mother was the neighborhood seamstress, I experimented with her sewing tools and machines. At the time, I was just having fun. It didn’t occur to me that I would end up pursuing a career where the worlds of fashion, art, design, and engineering would collide.
As a student of fashion & design at Massachusetts College of Art in the 90s, I sought out vintage clothing incessantly at secondhand shops. I purchased these garments by the pound and dissected them one at a time. Deconstructing these items afforded me the opportunity to learn about the construction of a great variety of clothing pieces. And, because I also have a background in engineering, I grew to appreciate the aesthetics of form and design structures.
After graduating from College, I moved to Tokyo to work as a designer for the fashion company CLUTCH Co, LTD in Shibuya, Tokyo.Not only did I learn how to speak Japanese, I also learnt firsthand theuse of innova- asymmetry and deconstructivist technics of cult designers such as Yoji Yamamoto, Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçon, and many others. I was drawn to the DIY aesthetic and implied political undertones. Based in downtown New York City for the past two decades, I continue to create at the intersection of art, fashion and design. My approach is framed by a concept or a theme, in which I combine techniques that I began experimenting with since I was a young kid in Africa, a student in Paris, London, and Boston, and a designer in Tokyo. I continue to use the same techniques albeit combining them in infinitely different ways: wrapping, re-mixing, re-purposing, ripping, cutting, and deconstructing in order to generate something entirely new, often from discarded items.