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Ohemaa’s World brings royalty to China

Ohemaa, taken from the Akan language spoken in Ghana, means ‘Queen’. ‘Royalty, along with simplicity and elegance are at the core of what we strive to represent as a brand’, says Esther, founder of China-based fashion brand Ohemaa’s World.

Already a staple in fashion-savvy circles across China, Ohemaa’s World first begun in March 2017, when Esther combined her keen eye for detail with her long-held interest in designing.

‘It was all actually born out of my passion for fashion and innate creativity for designing simple but sophisticated and elegant clothing and accessories’, she remembers.

Esther recalls the early days of Ohemaa’s World fondly, ‘I started with two handmade accessories and saved to purchase my first sewing machine’. Still designing all of her items personally, Esther prides herself on staying true to the brand’s humble origins, ensuring that each piece has a personal touch acquired over years of perfecting her craft. ‘I’m proud of each and every piece I make. It’s always a learning process and a challenge I accept with every order that comes my way.’

Fashion has always been of interest to Esther, but it wasn’t until she came to China in 2014 that she was able to fully pursue her interest. ‘It’s my passion’, she tells us, ‘ I’ve loved sketching and using my hands to create since infancy but rather I chose a different career path which is Medicine. Coming to China gave me the opportunity to move out of my comfort zone and start something new.

Just as the name of her business, Ohemaa’s World as a brand was also heavily inspired by its founders Ghanaian roots.  Her heritage is a huge part of her brand identity. ‘From beginning to end, the brand has been Inspired by my Ghanaian Heritage and traditions. I have a vision of projecting these values through fashion.’

‘My designs are made from RICH, VIBRANT and COLORFUL African Print fabrics sourced directly from GHANA, where it’s called “Ntoma”. Esther tells us of the history of Ntoma and says it has been an integral part of Ghanaian culture for ages. It has now been officially recognized as a cultural heritage of sorts. Since 2014 Ghana celebrates Ntoma with a weekly National Friday Wear initiative, which encourages everyone to wear African Prints to work or school. Using “Ntoma” to create designs enforces my vision which is to let you experience my Culture through fashion.’

And it’s not just Africans or people of African descent who flock to Ohemaa’s World – Esther’s designs have also proved a hit with the local Chinese population too.

‘Chinese people love the patterns and colors of African Print and the fact that it makes them stand out’, she beams.

In fact, some of her most popular designs have been fusions, representing both Chinese and African cultures in one, beautifully designed fit. ‘This has been a very popular piece’, she points out.

‘In my quest to foster China Africa relations through fashion I decided to merge the two cultures in a design, that is, creating the “Qipao” (traditional Chinese attire) using the African Print Fabric and adding a little twist. The client was Chinese and she loved the idea when I sketched it out and the outcome was beautiful.’

Motivated by God and her lovely clients and supporters, Ohemaa’s World has grown to have a following of over 5000 plus across Social Media – and this growth shows no sign of slowing just yet!

Ohemaa’s World was one of the first brands to get listed on Andinet Directory, China’s Directory for all things black. After participating in a series of giveaways known as Seven Days of Andinet, she was met with even more growth :

Through {Andinet Directory} I’ve gotten new clients. Furthermore, winning a free website and a brand starter pack in the recent Brand Starter Competition. The package is what every brand dreams of and Andinet made it possible.

In light of all of her successes, What does Ohemaa suggest for those hoping to balance a busy academic calendar with their equally demanding passion projects?

Pray, be focused and manage your time well. The journey will not be easy but with determination and consistency, working at your own pace you will surely succeed.’

Give your absolute best at every given opportunity, your work is an extension of your personality so put out the best version of yourself through your work – You might never get a second chance to make a good first impression. Don’t put profits first, with time the exposure and profits will follow. Building a brand is a process, take one step at a time, have patience, stay true to your vision and be appreciative of constructive criticism. It’s essential to have a mentor to guide you along the journey. Offer support to other brands, remember we rise by lifting others.

As most people in our community, eventually Esther plans on leaving China. However, through Ohemaa’s World she hopes to leave a powerful legacy behind, she tells us: ‘I’d like to be remembered as the lady who makes elegant African Print inspired fashion and more’.

The future looks bright for Ohemaa’s World!  Esther is keenly planning her next steps with the brand, including plans for a physical location and her big website reveal. If that wasn’t enough the creative designer is always working on new designs. ‘This is just the beginning,’ she beams, ‘stay tuned!’

You can keep up with Esther and Ohemaa’s World on Instagram and Facebook at: @ohemaas_world and Ohemaa’s WORLD respectively.

_________

Ohemaa’s World were one of three winners of Andinet Directory™ (China’s Directory for all things black)’s first-ever Brand Starter competition designed to give Black brands listed on Andinet a boost by way of resources. 

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Written by Black Livity China

Guyanese scholar, activist and author of ‘How Europe Underdeveloped Africa’ Walter Rodney once tasked those who consider themselves Pan-Africanists with three main responsibilities. ‘To talk about Pan-Africanism’, he tells us, ‘is to talk about international solidarity within the black world…whichever sector of the black world we live in, we have a series of responsibilities. One of the most important is to define our own situation. A second responsibility is to present that definition to the other parts of the black world…A third responsibility…is to help others in a different section of the black world to reflect on their own specific experience’.
Rodney reminds us that open communication between black communities across the world is crucial to the Pan-African vision, and furthermore that we should not allow ourselves to be limited by borders and geographical confines. We should be reminded that the movement does, and indeed always has transcended these things.
Whether or not we decide to subscribe to the principles of Pan-Africanism, they can serve as an important reminder and lesson that we can take and apply to our own predicament as black people both in China and on a wider scale across the world.
Black Livity China was created with the belief that we should extend these responsibilities to ourselves and our communities; ‘to define our own situation…to present that definition to the other parts of the black world…and to help others in a different section of the black world to reflect on their own specific experience’. 

Black Livity China is a media platform that aims to showcase matters relating to the lives, wellbeing and overall experiences of black people either inside China or in relation to China and her people for the benefit of our global community.

This is an effort initiated by members of our community; by us, for us

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