Street Souk Discusses The Importance Of Community Within Streetwear

October 19, 2022 by Joey Birch

Street Souk Discusses The Importance Of Community Within Streetwear

Launched in 2018, Street Souk is at the epicentre of the streetwear community and culture in Nigeria. Founded by Iretidayo ‘Ireti’ Zaccheaus at the age of 23, Street Souk aim to bring the vibrant, ever growing streetwear scene in Lagos together and spread their message to a global audience. 

We sat down with Street Souk's founder Ireti to discuss everything from her early sneaker memories to the importance of community. 

KG: What’s going on Ireti, how’re you? 

SS: Hey guys, I’m great thanks. Q4 so operating on different vibrations, I love this time of the year. 

KG: From OFF-White Air Forces to Air Max to Converse, you have a substantial sneaker collection. However, what’s your favourite sneaker of all time?

SS: Yes, a couple of years of building! My favourite pair of sneakers ever is the Riccardo Tisci Air Force 1s. 

KG: In an early Instagram post, you’re wearing a pair of Air Jordan 8 ‘Playoffs’. What’s your earliest sneaker memory? 

SS: My earliest sneaker memory, and when I know I was really interested in sneakers, is when I was birthday shopping for my 10th birthday outfit and I got this pair of limited Dunks as choice 1 and a pair of pastry’s as my outfit change shoes. they matched my outfit exactly and that’s deffo my earliest memory of loving this game!

KG: For those that may not be familiar with Street Souk, what do you guys do and how can people get involved? 

SS: Street Souk is a streetwear festival, it’s a marketplace where upcoming and established African streetwear brands are given a platform to showcase their collections. Street Souk infuses fashion, music and culture in one place to promote the streetwear scene in Africa. To participate in our main event in December all you have to do is sign up on our website and you could have a chance to show up at Street Souk. 

KG: Street Souk is on an incredible mission to connect the streetwear community across Africa and the world - what was your initial inspiration behind it?

SS: My initial inspiration behind it was Complex Con and also seeing the togetherness of the Japanese streetwear community. It inspires me to create that platform/vessel that would be the driving and connecting force between the African streetwear community and the hopes of exporting the culture to the rest of the world.

KG: You work with a lot of up-and-coming brands, what excites you about the next generation of streetwear designers? 

SS: The next generation of streetwear is so exciting because everybody is doing whatever they want, there are no rules and it seems very authentic and original. People are taking inspiration from all over the world and infusing it to create something special. Also, this is such a key time for streetwear because it’s so embedded in mainstream & high fashion culture as well.

KG: What inspires the garments you create? Do you see your brand expanding into creating a wider variety of pieces? 

SS: I get most of my inspiration from the things around me, a lot from brands I see on Instagram but mostly archive streetwear designs, comics and other resources I’ve seen over time. Definitely, Street Souk merch is going to keep growing, especially through collaborating with brands across the world. 

KG: You’ve met and worked with some of the most prominent figureheads in the industry, one of those people is Virgil Abloh. Tell us a little more about that experience. 

SS: Working with Virgil was an amazing once-in-a-lifetime experience, he knows what he wants and his vision is always so clear. He was a real cultural guy and so everything he did was intentional with a meaning behind it. 

KG: Tell me about Nigerian streetwear culture.

SS: The Nigerian streetwear scene is very raw and fast-paced, new brands are popping up every day and people are daring to be more different and really experiment with their designs. Brands like Thirsty Lab, High Fashion and 5200 Fleece are a few that are really creating innovative conceptual designs. The youth scene in general has been very receptive to Nigerian streetwear brands and the popularity of wearing homegrown brands as opposed to international brands is more prominent than ever. The best way to describe the streetwear culture out here is a breath of fresh air and it's exciting to see the growth in years to come.


KG: What are the similarities and differences between UK and Nigerian streetwear culture?

SS: The similarities are they are both on the rise and disrupting the scene in both markets with the same type of vim. The main difference is that Nigeria's streetwear scene is much more unified and generally community-led. We see a lot of inter-brand collabs within the Nigerian streetwear scene but not much here.

KG: Streetwear is known for its strong community, why is community such an important factor for you?

SS: Community is the most important thing to me because that is the core of any movement. Without the community, Street Souk doesn’t exist. 

KG: The aim of our campaign to celebrate design and the people behind the work. How important is it for you to ensure that these creators and artists get their flowers? 

SS: It is super important to me that the creators and artists get the flowers they deserve because this will inspire another generation of people to strive for greatness and understand the importance of wanting. 

KG: Are there any designers you’d like to shine a spotlight on?

SS: Yes, Papi from 5200 Clothing, Rahman Jago of High Fashion JOL, Syd of Years of Tears.

KG: What does the future of Street Souk look like?

SS: The future of Street Souk looks like multiple souks [marketplace/bazaar] in different countries across the world, celebrating the vibrant African streetwear culture and exporting it to the rest of the world. The goal is to one day be bigger than Complex Con and have a long-lasting impact on the streetwear community as a whole.


You can follow Ireti here and Street Souk here