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Autumn Adeigbo: Designing Fashion With a Conscience

July 2022

Spelman Alumna and Fashion Designer Autumn Adeigbo

When Autumn Adeigbo, C’2003, was growing up, her wardrobe consisted of the clothes her Nigerian mother made for her. The creations were so special that in the fourth grade, Adeigbo’s classmates voted her “Best Dressed.” That accolade sparked her choice of the career path she would follow to make her mark on the world. “I became inspired to be a fashion designer by watching my mother sew the clothes I wore as a little girl,” said Adeigbo. “I knew then that I wanted to create a fashion lifestyle brand with a unique aesthetic.”

Spelman Alumna Autumn Adeigbo Makes Waves in Fashion IndustryAfter graduating from Spelman with a bachelor’s degree in economics, Adeigbo earned an associate’s degree in fashion design from New York’s Parsons School of Design. She developed her fashion line while working days as a fashion assistant and nights as a hostess at New York City hotspots. In 2009, she released her first collection of seven African-inspired dresses, and in 2016, incorporated her brand. The company’s tagline – Culture, Color, Conscience – says as much about how Adeigbo creates and markets her fashionforward clothing as it does about the clothing itself.

“I want to not only create change for women through our bold, empowering designs, but also through our ethical and sustainable practices,” she said.

“From sourcing to delivery, we embrace sustainable practices by purchasing in limited quantities and producing only what is ordered, which, in turn, minimizes fabric waste, excessive manufacturing and surplus stock.” As a Black female business owner, Adeigbo is committed to positively impacting the lives of women across cultures.

Her company uses female-owned production facilities in the United States and provides global artisans with meaningful employment and fair wages. She recently launched four fair-trade fashion production pilots in Africa. Adeigbo’s business model has attracted investors who appreciate her ethical and eco-friendly approach to fashion design. Her first investor, Christopher Elliott, executive program director of national accounts for TriStruX, started putting capital into the brand in 2017 and continues to support the company.

“When Autumn shared her vision, I thought, ‘This isn’t just possibly a good investment; this is the right thing to do,’” said Elliott.

“Here was someone with a wonderful idea and a great artistic eye who could inspire people to change the way they look at buying clothing.” Despite the pandemic, Adeigbo’s business has flourished. She saw 250% growth in 2020 and 400% growth in 2021. Her customers include Lizzo, Busy Philipps, Amanda Gorman, Zooey Deschanel and other celebrities.
Over the past two years, the company has attracted $4 million in venture capital funding; started retail partnerships with Nordstrom, Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus; expanded staff in its New York and Los Angeles offices; and launched footwear and handbag fashion categories.

“My vision is to build the Autumn Adeigbo brand into a household name,” she said. “But aside from my designs, I want to be remembered for the positive impact my business had on the world around me and on inspiring other young women and women of color to strive for their dreams.”

Adrienne S. Harris is an Atlanta-based strategy and communications consultant. 

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