The emerging South London street-tailoring brand to know

Introducing Ihani & Maechi, the rising South London label to know combining classical tailoring with directional, urban streetwear. Brothers Jason and Charles Onuoha launched their menswear line last year and their upcoming collection - titled ‘Memories and Journey’ - offers a youthful approach on classic wardrobe staples from overshirts to double-breasted wool coats. HUNGER caught up with the ones-to-watch to talk ASAP Rocky, style icons and the art of preparation.
Ihani Maechi AW18

How did you both get into fashion design?

Jason: We were both into fashion from a very young age. If it wasn’t colour matching hats and sneakers, then it was wearing pieces with crazy designs to stand out. As we got older, we became more interested in the shapes and fabrics used on our favourite pieces. That basically set the path into designing our own clothes.

Charles: It was something that was always going to happen, simply based on our drive and love for clothes. It was more so a matter of time.

Talk me through the name for your brand? Why did you go for Ihani & Maechi? 

Charles: The name Ihani & Maechi comes from our middle names, Iheanacho and Onyemaechi. We wanted to use our Nigerian names as an ode to our heritage. Plus, we thought it sounded much cooler than Jason & Charles.

Who or what are your biggest inspirations? 

Charles: My wife and daughter literally keep me going every single day. I always have them in mind when I do anything, especially when things get tough. Secondly, it would be my cousin, Clement Ogbonnaya. He’s always encouraged us to just chase our dreams.

Jason: I’d have to say my son because he plays a huge part in making me strive for success. He even got a shirt named after him. I’d also say George and Michael Heaton of Represent clothing. We don’t always come across brothers who seem as close to each other as my brother and I are. They’ve done an amazing job with their brand.

Ihani Maechi AW18

What was on your mood board for your AW18 collection? 

Jason: We had everything you can think of. Musicians, different colour palettes, stills from movies. We get inspiration from our journeys and conversations. We tend to create based on the way we want the clothes to make us feel.

Describe the Ihani & Maechi customer in three words? 

Adventurous, stylish and confident.

Who is your style icon and why? 

Charles: For me, it’d have to be Kanye West because he’s so free with his style. He doesn’t try to fit into any type of trend, he sets them.

Jason: I’d have to throw in a name from Instagram. His Instagram handle is raysugar001. He rarely gets it wrong for me and manages to mix street wear and contemporary very well. Something we represent as a brand.

Who would be your dream client to dress and why? 

Jason: I think we’d both agree on ASAP Rocky. His style is effortless and consistent. We’ve followed his career for a long time. His style has evolved and become very versatile.

Ihani Maechi AW18

What are your top three tracks to play in the studio? 

Travis Scott – Stargazing

Burna Boy – Ye

Octavian – Little

What advice would you give to young designers starting out/launching their own brand? 

Charles: I know it’s cliché but if you fail to prepare, be prepared to fail. Preparation and planning is really important.

Jason: From a design perspective, I think its important to make the clothes you want to make and not get sucked into making things you think people will like. You’ll lose all creativity.

Finally, what’s up next for you both? 

Charles: Our A/W collection will be available on Saturday 1st September for pre-sale. We also have a gallery installation on Thursday 13th September. We’re going to be showing pieces from our A/W collection and talking more about our crazy journey.

TextEmma Firth
ImagesIhani Maechi