“Clothes are storytellers on the journey of our lives,” said Nana K. Brenu, founder of 1981, one of the Africa Fashion Day design houses that showed in Berlin last week for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Showing menswear and women’s wear, 1981’s clothes were well-received, impeccably tailored and functional.
Brenu’s clothes were distinguished by two contrasting genres of style. On one hand, his Ghanaian heritage was characterized by vibrant colors and bold prints. On the other, his modern sense of style was influenced by art and architectural principals of minimalism.
The 1981 brand became the creative medium that allowed Brenu realize that modern design styling and a rich, vibrant Ghanaian heritage can harmoniously coexist with highlights and details. His looks reflected harmony in seasonal colors. There are bold prints, patterns and colors that are typically associated with African designs. These pieces are influenced by the complex simplicity of the monochromatic geometric designs of traditional Ghanaian symbols. Although they are traditional in concept, the designs have a very original, modern feeling.
Nana has studied fashion and worked for fashion firms in New York City and Milan. He is drawn to the purity that exists in modern design that focuses on elements such as details, textures, quality materials, craftsmanship and finishing. In his words, “It’s about refinement of the design until its true essence emerges and a notion based on the fundamentals of minimalism. It is the beauty in that rawness and simplicity that appeals to my design sensibilities.”
Though he’s attracted to muted natural tones that are usually associated with modern design, this collection was touched with bold colors. The company strives to achieve a balance between concept and objectivity. “Fashion should reflect who you are, where you are and where you have been,” explained the designer.