This story is part of our issue on Remembrance, a time-traveling journey through the L.A. experience — past, present and future. See the full package here.
“I spoke to a psychic,” says Autumn Adeigbo, the Los Angeles transplant who often pulls inspiration from her Nigerian heritage when designing her eponymous label, which launched in 2015. “He was like, ‘You’re going to mix colors in ways that people don’t know colors can be mixed. … And you’re going to help people in Africa.’”
Today actresses Kerry Washington and Mindy Kaling and L.A. poet Amanda Gorman are among those who have been spotted in Adeigbo’s bold looks, all of which are sustainably made in women-owned production facilities in the United States. A percentage of sales benefit young girls in foster care through the nonprofit Project Glimmer.
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After graduating from Parsons School of Design in New York in 2005, Adeigbo worked as a fashion assistant at W Magazine by day and as a hostess at night. “I always wanted to be one of those hot girls in the chic New York City restaurants,” she says with a laugh. “That fantasy has crashed and burned, but this was 2005-2006.”
The restaurant gig helped finance her first collection, and it was good for networking. “We had notes on anyone who was important. ... I got to see, ‘This person could be an investor. This person is a magazine editor, a buyer, a celebrity, a publicist.’” She wore her designs to work — a percentage of sales went toward microcredit loans for women in Africa — and pitched people while seating them. “One time during the ‘American Idol’ days, I was checking Paula Abdul’s coat and I put my business card in her coat,” she says. “I’m still waiting for that call.”
Adeigbo relocated to West Hollywood last June after 20 years in New York. A week into her California life, she completed a million-dollar fundraising round — joining a small group of Black female founders to raise more than $1 million in capital. “I know how lucky I am to have my foot in the door,” she says. “But it’s only because I didn’t give up.”
Look 1: Working out
Clad in a jacket, top and shorts from Tory Sport, which she styled with a Nike bucket hat and socks, Velvet Canyon sunglasses, Chanel sneakers and a bag from her line, Adeigbo says, “Clothes can be such a vehicle for storytelling, community building and elevating the mood. I look for the same thing in my athleisure — things that are a little pop of art on the body. I like a little pop of surprise — a little pop of brightening someone’s day with your clothes.”
A second chance: Adeigbo purchased her Chanel sneakers secondhand. “I love giving something a new life after the original owner,” she says.
Relaxed style: In prepandemic times, Adeigbo would wear this look to pick up a smoothie at Earthbar or to Bikram yoga. “It’s been devastating not being able to practice for a year,” she says, explaining that she started doing the Tracy Anderson Method at home during quarantine. “I love it, so maybe I’ll go to her in studio and wear it there.”
Personal ties: Adeigbo purchased her Tory Sport jacket during designer Tory Burch’s semiannual sale. The piece holds special meaning for her because Burch was Adeigbo’s mentor. “I remember meeting her for the first time 10 years ago and asking her for her help, and her actually following through,” says Adeigbo, who was selected for the Tory Burch Foundation Fellowship Program in 2019. “The footprint that Tory has created on the world with her brand and as a businesswoman is so admirable.”
Look 2: At the office
“I get dressed for myself,” Adeigbo says. “There are certain people who get intimidated if they’re the center of the room. Not me. I’m walking around in quarantine and I’m dressed to the nines.” She paired a graphic jacket from her brand’s fall 2020 collection with Maison Margiela jeans and a Rocky Barnes for Express strapless bralette. “I’m a big crop-top fan,” she says, adding that she’d wear this look to grab coffee at Go Get Em Tiger. For work, she would throw on a shirt underneath the top. “I’m not the biggest fan of cleavage [at the office],” she says.
Mix-and-match: For final touches, she added a Jennifer Fisher choker necklace, Ashley Williams earrings, St. Laurent bag and Roger Vivier shoes, the latter of which she loves because they’re “like oversized grandpa Birkens, but then they have these big, gold and crystal clasps on them. I like where those things meet — chic, cool, grandpa.”
The payoff: “These cute cut-out Margiela oversized baggy jeans are an investment piece. They’re the most expensive jeans that I own, and I [originally] couldn’t justify buying them. Even in my early days, when I had raised some money [for my brand], I was like, ‘I can’t spend that much money on jeans,’ and they haunted me for years. I was like, ‘I should have gotten those jeans.’” She looked for them every two months but they were sold out. When the jeans finally became available, she snapped them up. “When you can’t let something go for years, you’ve got to find a way to get them.”
Look 3: Going out
“I like things that can stay in my closet for 10 or 20 years,” she says, styling herself in her label’s mauve African-inspired leaf-print jumpsuit (which she loves because of its “cute puff sleeves that [are] out of this world”) and an Apparis coat with a St. Laurent leopard circle bag, a scrunchie from her brand, Gucci glasses and Amina Muaddi shoes.
The perks: “When I was a VIP reservationist at [the Lion in New York], which was arguably the hottest restaurant in the world, you could not get in. So I’d get all these gifts from people who were trying to get tables,” Adeigbo says of her miscellaneous jewelry.
Animal prints: “Leopard is my favorite color,” she says jokingly.
Lesson learned: High heels are a homecoming. She gave them up years ago. “I bought into the ‘Sex and the City’ New York story,” she says, explaining that she treated herself to a pair of Manolo Blahnik Timberlands when she first moved to New York. “They were my graduation present — $720 shoes. I put it on my credit card. It took me forever to pay off. I put them on when I got to my dorm and I walked, like, two blocks and I had to turn around and go back to my dorm.”
A new chapter: Adeigbo is ready for life in Los Angeles and said she can’t wait to eventually wear this look on “a date or a girl’s night out to the Chateau Marmont or Soho House in Malibu.”