Ohema Ohene is the name under which British-born designer Abenaa Pokuaa produces her cult brand of boutique fashion that combines classic British streetwear with a West African twist. The name itself means ‘Queen & King’ in the Ghanaian language of Twi. This not only indicates Abenaa’s Ghanaian heritage but also that the brand will expand into a full menswear collection this season, building on its popular women’s collection and extremely cool unisex footwear range.
After completing her studies at the London College of Fashion; Abenaa worked in the industry, applying her specialism in textiles and materials. With experience of working in the Far East as a designer and her own Ghanaian roots, it didn’t take long before the business-smart Abenaa Pokuaa recognised that multicultural markets – such as London- are crying out for the vision of brands that combine trendy western fashion with a strong sense of cultural identity. Abenaa Pokuaa’s instinct that many trendy young Europeans are eager for a fashion concept that acknowledges the multicultural European experience has proved a winning one.
In addition to the successful online retail, the brand is fully aware of interesting partnerships to be made with like-minded entrepreneurs. For example, in March this year Ohema Ohene signed a deal with Belgian entrepreneur Noémie Nuo by which her trendy Afro-centric concept store in Brussels – Wake Up- is the sole stockist of OH! By Ohema Ohene Kicks in Belgium.
Ohema Ohene’s striking footwear brand has its success rooted in a clever combination of traditional African textiles – such as the use of the distinctive Kente prints – and simple design innovation playing with the language of street culture. Some of the high-top trainer versions include a reversible and removable section that readily converts a funky high-top into a bright plimsoll.
It’s this interplay between the lineage of hip-hop and street culture styles with an Afro-pop flair that makes Ohema Ohene one to watch. The brand’s forthcoming AW10 men’s collection, for example, promises some classic British streetwear staples with a funky twist of West African detailing.