ONOMEN's 'unapologetically quirky' AfroPunk style exudes strength and boldness

Published: 29 September 2016 | by Pippa Mann
ONOMEN's 'unapologetically quirky' AfroPunk style exudes strength and boldness
ONOMEN at the AFWL 2016 - Photo by OneVybe
ONOMEN, established by Aiwan Obinyan in 2014, had a successful relaunch, showcasing the brand's second collection at the AFWL 2016.

Aiwan had taken a break from music at the end of 2011 and the clothing brand came about because the desire to be creative remained very strong.



"That's when I began to think about different ways I could play around with Ankara and the ways I might wear it in a style that works for me," Aiwan told OneVybe.
 
ONOMEN is targeted at people who like to wear African prints in an AfroPunk style and describing her collection as strong, bold and unapologetically quirky, Aiwan said that her ancestors and the streets of London are her inspiration.



"I really enjoy visualising the components and seeing in my mind how they will fit together. I also really enjoy solving issues with construction so that the clothes fit well, are rugged but also are aesthetically appealing.
 
"The ONOMEN reversible hoodies provide a prime example of a challenge I dealt with in designing this collection – the challenge was that to have two sets of kangaroo pockets on both sides would lead to a bulky looking bottom half – not good.
 
"So I removed the kangaroo pockets on the Ankara side and replaced it with a simple and flat left breast pocket, problem solved.

"Now you have two jackets with two very different aesthetics – one side is very much UK, inner-city with a hint of colour, the other side makes a strong and bold statement with a hint of sophistication."
 


Sourcing Ankara fabrics can be a hurdle as the prints tend to be of limited edition. It is best to buy in bulk, making sure there is enough for production.

Of this challenge, Aiwan said, "I've had to scour the internet and order fabrics in the global marketplace to fulfil orders. As a company we also manufacture for wholesale customers and for this we are looking to source fabrics at the source so that we can buy whole rolls and ensure consistency and efficiency.

"The way we have dealt with this challenge in the retail sector is to treat each item as limited edition making sure our customers know that once this run is gone, it's gone and not coming back – so buy now or forever hold your peace."



"Another challenge is the production chain – at the moment we source fabrics, trimmings and accessories from a variety of suppliers, which means every time we have an order or want to do a run, we have to liaise with a group of suppliers, all who have different timescales for delivery.

"This can be very intense – especially when the team of tailors are waiting on one seemingly small item to finish a run of clothes and the supplier is held up for whatever reason."



To accompany the brand's relauch, ONOMEN are working on a documentary, filmed in Ghana, investigating the history of West African fabrics. The feature-length documentary will trace how the versatile fabric's usage has changed over time, the current trends and its cultural, social, political and economic future.

Through the documentary and clothing line, Aiwan aims to raise awareness and positively reflect African inspired fashion. "Africans, both on the continent and in the diaspora, are in a state of change and increasing awareness of both our strengths and the mistakes that were made in the past," Aiwan said.



"This awareness is causing us, rightfully so, to question everything – religion, culture, the mainstream narrative and so much more. Since I can remember, through my music and films and now with ONOMEN, I've always been a proponent for African consciousness and positivity, re-writing the narrative with our own words, controlling our resources and leaving a powerful legacy for the next generation.

"It's very important that every one of us takes responsibility for doing what is right for the continent and for each other."



If you want to be a part of the documentary, as an artist, social commentator, academic, historian, mother, father, AfroPunk, Aiwan says "If you have something interesting you'd like to share, state, shout or perhaps a funny, sad, angry story to tell about Africa and / or African fabrics, in the documentary please drop us a line and lets shoot!"
 
Aiwan is also working on the final designs for the ONOMEN Spring/Summer 2017 collection and they are always on the lookout for strong looking, quirky, interesting models for their collections and photo shoots. There are no age restrictions.



For more info on modelling for ONOMEN and the documentary please get in touch:

Email: info@onomen.com
Web: www.onomen.com
FB: www.facebook.com/onomenuk
Twitter: @ONOMENuk
Instagram: @onomenuk

Upcoming events:

The Vessel on the 8th October 2016: ONOMEN will be exhibiting and selling at this charity, music and cultural event in association with KORI – youth and community development in Africa.

Unique Runway Show on the19th November 2016: ONOMEN will be showcasing the winter collection and also an exclusive piece on the runway. They will also have a stall at the event. Please visit to get your Christmas presents.
Time:7-11pm
Location: TNG Centre, 111 Wells Park Road, SE26 6AD

The African Market, Spitalfields on the 26th Nov 2016 (TBC): ONOMEN will have a regular stall at this popular market in the heart of London.
- OneVybe
Tags: ONOMEN, Ankara, fashion,

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