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18.11.16
OF TWO WORLDS
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MERCHANTS ON LONG by MERCHANTS ON LONG

In conversation with Abenaa Pokuaa of Ohema Ohene

By Chandra Mophethe

 

Designer Abenaa Pokuaa of London-based Ghanaian brand Ohema Ohene was inspired by fellow designer Ozwald Boateng to start her fashion in 2008. Founded in London, Ohema Ohene means Queen and King in the Ghanaian language of Twi and blends quintessentially British styling with West African textiles, which is representative of the designer’s dual heritage, “I’m British by birth and Ghanaian by blood. I wanted to create something that would reflect this and also show the world what Africa can easily achieve.” Many of the rich prints and fabrics used are directly sourced from Ghana, using authentic traditional motifs blended with more contemporary imagery. We spoke briefly to Abenaa about her latest menswear range.

 

Tell us about the tone and inspiration of your latest collection.

My personal favourite of all is Menswear, I love how men look in OO, this collection is probably my favourite of all. The fabrics are fun yet sophisticated and look great on all skin tones.

 

How would you describe the Ohema Ohene man? Do you design with a particular man in mind?

He is confident, he is curious about life, he is slick and a leader, he enjoys clothing and considers his wardrobe.

 

Your brand is inspired and almost based in two different cities. How would you define each city’s fashion?

London has a very vibrant vibe and quite a relaxed approach to Fashion where almost anything goes…so long as you do it well! Whereas Accra is very glamorous in some respects, how you dress shows you’re importance…what fabrics you where indicates your social status…it’s quite serial at times.

 

How much attention do you pay to local and international trends?

It’s important to know what’s happening so you can make more informed and deliberate design decisions. 

 

Do you remember the first time you saw someone wearing one of your designs? What did it feel like?

Anytime and every time I see anyone it’s like the first time, it’s a good feeling.

 

Who would you love to see wearing Ohema Ohene?

OO is for everyone. We’ve had Beyoncé sport our products so I guess the only way is up…Perhaps Prince William, Chris Brown, hahaha two very different people, but that’s what’s so great about OO – almost anyone can wear it. How you wear it is what makes it special.

 

What do you hope the people that wear your designs will feel?

We want our OO man to feel as intended – like a KING. The name of the brand means ‘Queen & King’ and the whole philosophy is to make people feel like Royalty.

 

Do you have any advice on how to style some of the pieces from the collection?

Well depending on personality the wearer can style down pieces by wearing with denim. Alternatively to really make an impact why not pick out one of the colours within the print and match footwear or trousers. For a more subtle approach the wearer can easily choose an accessory to match any of the colours within the print.

 

Any future plans for you and your brand?

So many, watch this space!

 

QUICK QUESTIONS

 

  1. Who are some of your favourite designers? Ellie Saab and Chanel.
  2. If you could be any city in the world, which one would you be and why? London is ultimately home so no other place can really compare however Kumasi in Ghana comes a close second it’s so green and beautiful.
  3. Which movie or novel character would you like to dress? Cookie Lyon from Empire
  4. What is Accra’s best kept secret? Tilapia!
  5. Dream collaboration? Puma and H&M.
  6. Best piece of creative advice you have received? Prepare and plan well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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