This fashion designer brings her Yoruba roots to the catwalk

In an apartment littered with fabric and boxes, Bola Adesiyan prepares for her African Fashion Week show.

The 26-year-old fashion designer’s new collection is inspired by the personal stories of her models, which speak of wanting to be free and authentic.

“It’s his story: You don’t have to come to me and ask me about his story,” she says. “It’s a true story of themselves.”

Telling stories of wanting to be who you are is important to Adesiyan. She so she came to Canada eight years ago.

In 2016, she left Nigeria as a rainbow refugee, someone who identifies as part of the LGBTQ community. In her hometown in Nigeria, she would not be accepted for who she is.

“It wasn’t safe to come home, you go to jail for being who you are,” says the 26-year-old.

Since arriving in Canada, she has become a fashion designer and hopes her designs help show people that they can be comfortable in their own skin.

CBC Toronto caught up with Adesiyan to preview his new collection.

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians, from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community, check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.