Ghanaian born and American bred designer, AfriyiePoku, became entranced by the arts and crafts from an early age. With his curious and observant nature, much of his early interests and abilities stemmed from experience in carpentry and electronics.
In the year 2000, he migrated to the United States where he resided in Maryland. He discovered his passion in design during his second year of college while pursuing a degree in electrical engineering. He believed the best way to proceed with his aspirations in design was to acquire an apprenticeship under a master tailor. Unable to find a proper instructor, Poku took a self-taught approach by way of trial, error, and experimentation. After years of deconstructing and re-constructing garments, he eventually produced original pieces that reassured his passion as a designer.
In 2011 he made his way to Atlanta, GA and provided tailoring services in a boutique within the city. In the next year Poku met two friends, Tesh Gandhi and Faisal Mohammad, who helped make his dreams become a reality. As a self-taught designer, Poku never considered showcasing years of garments that he constructed at a designer casting call until his casual curiosity prompted him to enter a designer competition. Subsequently, he captured the overall winnings in his first runway appearance at the Peroni Style Atlanta Fashion Competition. After his showcase and boost from the Atlanta community, Poku’s sights were set on his next adventure, Charleston Fashion Week 2013. Among 20 emerging designers selected to show their designs during the event, AfriyiePoku was the only male contestant and menswear designer. He went on to win the “Overall Designer” and “People’s Choice” awards during the initial debut and finale showcase, a feat that has never been attained in the eight years of Charleston Fashion Week history.Following his victory and critical acclaim, Pokureflected on those experiences and recognition bestowed upon him from the public and industry professionals. During this period of soul-searching, he began to question the essence of his creativity and hone his vision. The result of this undertaking, brandished the fundamental elements of what would become the formation of the brand, OberimaAfriyie.
The O.A brand approaches every design by creating a character that is defined by Poku’s philosophy of “the Gentleman.” His philosophy rests upon the belief that there is a Gentleman in all of us. That Gentleman knows who they are and embraces it. For within the house of OberimaAfriyie, there is no distinction between the man in the business suit and the man in the biker jacket. This is because every individual depicts different qualities that attribute to the idea of “the Gentleman.” Here, all characters are welcome.