It is always interesting to see how people who have worked extensively in design adjacent jobs in the Nigerian fashion industry choose to interpret design, when they finally (almost inevitably in some cases) choose to dabble into creating collection for others or their own personal labels.
As far as industry experience goes, Obinna Omeruo has had more than most. Gaining popularity as the premier Abuja based fashion illustrator, Omeruo parlayed that initial attention into a successful freelance career, working in styling, runway production and content creation.
Finally returning to focus on an eponymous label (might as well, if you have a name as easily recognized), Omeruo has released his debut collection, a menswear line with a capsule collection of seven looks called the ‘Floral Symphony’.
“Floral Symphony is a 7 piece mini collection inspired by flowers, music and the eternal balance of light and dark. The collection seeks to depict the modern man’s journey to self-discovery through a hereditary culture influenced by variants of the modern age such as music. He has a desire to be, to grow and overcome all odds till he arrives at his goals just like the blossoming of a flower.”
It is incredibly disappointing then to note that Omeruo either doesn’t have the technical prowess or the wherewithal to take his high concept illustrations off the page, at least not where his menswear is concerned. Omeruo takes the safe route, offering us unexciting takes on traditional Nigerian menswear.
Monochrome tunics, embroidered agbadas, kaftans with appliqued ankara motifs, there are even pieces that bear strong similarities to Papa Omisore’s P.O.C collection debuted at the 2015 Lagos Fashion and Design Week. This is particularly disappointing because even Omeruo’s weakest sketches show more creative promise.
Maybe Omeruo’s womenswear will be more conceptually adventurous, because this, is safe bordering on mediocre.
Photography/Styling: Team Obinna Omeruo
Model: Ifeanyi Okafor Jr
Make Up: Nneoma Effanga for #MakeUpByOmalicha