Jacques Agbobly was born and partially raised in Togo, Africa before immigrating to the West Side of Chicago with their family at the age of nine. While in Togo, they frequently stayed at their grandmother’s who rented part of her home to tailors and seamstresses in order to afford rent. As a young queer child, Mx. Agbobly often felt isolated and spent most of their time nestled under the cutting tables, watching in awe as the tailors and seamstresses turned brightly colored-printed African textiles into unique, custom-made pieces. After moving to Chicago, they began receiving the “What do you want to be when you grow up?” question that plague many of our youth. The recollection of hiding under the worktables at their grandmother’s became a memory they always traveled back to. The unequivocal response was always “fashion designer”. Luckily, the adults in their life listened and nurtured their aspirations, which eventually led to studying at Parsons School of Design.
During their undergraduate studies, Mx. Agbobly was awarded the CFDA Design Scholarship. The next year, while in their final year at Parsons, they received a sponsorship from Swarovski and UPW yarn company for their senior capstone. Since graduating, they have been fastidious in working in various facets of the industry while developing and growing the brand. Some of these roles include public relations at Telfar, production at Christopher John Rogers, and more recently, Color and Material Designer for Nike and Converse. Mx. Agbobly launched Black Boy Knits shortly after graduating and was selected as a 2022 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund recipient. In early 2023 they rebranded Black Boy Knits under AGBOBLY.