#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.
Growing up in West Africa during the late 60s and 70s—revolutionary times when the African Independence Movements were in full swing—I reveled in whatever objects I could find initially dissecting; then proceeded to rearrange. I 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 use 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 young age 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.