Afriyie Poku – A Fashion Samurai of the Modern World

Exclusive interview with Afriyie Poku about his Fall 2014 menswear collection

Charleston Fashion Week has been the runway launch pad for many talented and young fashion designers. Charleston Fashion week is every designer’s dream come true!

Afriyie Poku, menswear designer, is one of the designers who has made history at Charleston Fashion Week. He was the first menswear designer to win the Emerging designer competition and receive the crown for both  People’s Choice and the Emerging designer awards in 2013. This year he was back as a featured designer and his Samurai Menswear Fall 2014 collection rocked the runway on the first night of the Charleston Fashion Week 2014.

Oberima Afriyie - Fashion presentation CFW 2014

Fashion stage

I was excited to be invited at his fashion presentation but most of all I was excited to meet him and interview him about his Fall 2014 menswear collection. I was pleasantly surprised to meet a calm, respectful, patient, and very humble person. He welcomed me with an amiable smile and a friendly gesture, and started sharing his thoughts and passion for his collection.

Afriyie Poku-Emanuela Neculai

Afriyie Poku and I

Q: What type of man do you see wearing your designs?

A: He laughed and said: I truly believe that each man has to show his personality and bring out the gentleman within.

Q: You brought the past into present with your designs. The samurai converted in a gentleman… What was your concept idea for this collection?

A: I relish the philosophy of “the gentleman” as a reminder for all men out there –  the gentleman is there inside you, just shake it and show it off.

Q: I see that your models are wearing suits with no socks. Why this contradiction?

A: He laughed saying: It’s the Southern hospitality. This is because every man has a different imagine of a gentleman. My designs fit the characteristics of every man.

Q: Which piece of your collection do you love most?

A: I never thought about it but I think the samurai design. It represents my personality. I would wear it to a black tie event or to meet some friends.

Oberima Afriyie's Fall 2014 mensear collection

The Samurai

Afriyie Poku has this amazing quality: talking to him was like talking to my best friend and I felt like I knew him forever. He gave me a big hug and said good bye with a big smile. While waiting outside for my pedicab to arrive I had the pleasure to meet his mom and his mom’s best friend. Both women, so friendly and adorable, sat next to me on the bench and we had a little chat. One conversation led to another when suddenly his mom’s friend said: ” I know why I don’t have any talent. He took it all.” I love these two ladies!

Watch the video of  Afriyie Poku’s fashion presentation:

There is a fascinating aesthetics complexity in Afriyie Poku’s collection, a mixture of Sub-Saharan tribes blended with European colonial influence transpiring through the techniques he experienced as a child in West Africa. The end result of this cultural journey is his fashion brand, Oberima Afriyie. He is a living proof that passion triumphs over formal training. Maybe the lack of formal design training allowed him to openly express his ideas and concepts without barriers imposed by formalism and conformity.

Oberima Afriyie - Fashion presentation CFW 2014

The gentleman

Oberima Afriyie - Fashion presentation CFW 2014

A painful trial-and-error sublimation process led him toward his ultimate fashion concept, fed by the confidence and self-knowledge gained along the way: “the gentleman.” His concept of gentleman transcends activities or social levels and a gentleman remains a gentleman no matter the time of the day, or if you ride a limo in a lounge suit or a bike in a leather jacket. Oberima Afriyie, Poku’s fashion label, suggests a simplified yet modern version a true gentleman. From the perspective of a skilled man deeply anchored in solid moral values, Afriyie Poku’s fashion design journey has eventually led him to the idea of Japan’s early Edo period Samurais of the 16th century. Afriyie Poku is a fashion designer with a strong set of values, vision and personal mission, a fashion samurai of the modern world.

Oberima Afriyie - Fashion presentation CFW 2014


About 

Emanuela Neculai is a fashionista with European background, currently living in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, USA. As a teenager Emanuela has been influenced by the Eastern European culture and fashion trends. The European elegant style has left a strong mark on her taste and preferences. Follow Emanuela on Google+

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