An apparent conundrum quietly nestled within men’s fashion is African based labels, or the lack thereof. Japanese brands have been leading the pack in terms of taking Western influence and combining it with regional inspiration, while European label’s have a long history when it comes to menswear design.
But Africa isn’t without its fair share of notable brands. Quatma, a purveyor of small goods is well respected, as well as footwear labels Oliberté and SAWA. Finding a season collection of blazers, trousers and shirting from the continent is another story altogether, with the exceptino of OKUNOREN.
Established in 2002, the brand revolutionized Men’s clothing in Nigeria through its introduction of bespoke tailoring. Taiwo and Kehinde Okunoren, founders of the company, began by selling Men’s shirts imported from the UK and America to their customers and soon after realized they could change the face of the African menswear industry through creating their own brand.
They sought to create a brand that would reflect their core values of minimalism, precision and heritage. An identity that Africans and Non-Africans the world over would come to discover, recognize and appreciate. Drawing inspirations from Savile Row to craft its early collections, the brand has begun to bolster the emergence of a Global African image by reaching deeper into its roots to conceive latter collections.
It ventured into luxury retail by opening its Flagship Store in Lagos to wide acclaim in 2013 in a bid to make its Ready to Wear collections more available to its customers.
Initial inspiration is taken from Saville Row but uses traditional weaving techniques, creating three culturally driven ready to wear collections a year.
For S/S’15 the focus is on shirting and the ‘Aso Oke’ and ‘Etu’ fabrics are woven using the traditional Yoruba technique, originating from South West Nigeria. This exquisite detail can be seen on the sleeves and panels on the back. Okunoren Twins carries the CONCEIVED IN AFRICA trademark to highlight its position as a global African brand.
OKUNOREN is one of the fastest growing fashion brands to come out of Africa’s emerging economy, with their own stand alone stores across the region. Learn more here.