From Temasco to KNUST to BBC, meet Ghanaian award-winning designer Jeremiah Obuobi
Jeremiah Kofi Obuobi hails from Tema, the major harbour city in Ghana. He has created a reputable name for himself to qualify as one of the few best product and fashion designers in Africa. When you talk of a typical Tema resident, then one has to be born from the Caiquo hospital and attend Tema Secondary School of which Jeremiah has. He comes from, the Obuobi Family from Adukrom and shares the same grandfather with Ghanaian actor Chris Attoh on the mother’s side. His grandfather, Isaiah Obuobi, whom Jeremiah got his creative prowess from, was a furniture designer in the 60s. Born in 1981, Jeremiah completed his early primary school education from Star Primary & Junior Secondary School in Tema, Community 5. His father John Obuobi was an employer at the Volta Aluminium Company (Valco) and happens to have worked at the Metal Product Section in the Company. This influenced Jeremiah Obuobi to read Metal Product Design Course in Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and became a great metal product designer and later major in Jewellery and Metal Smithing for his Post Graduate Degree.
During his school days in Tema Secondary School, he was a member of the Campyard Music Band, (the same music band that rebranded to R2BEES) with his class mates from the Visual Arts; Abdul Rasheed Mugis(now Mugeez), Issah Rasheed Ibrahim (of blessed Memory, aka Gogome) and school mate from the General Art; Faisal Hakeem(now Omar Sterling). In Tema Secondary School, Jeremiah happened to have met several people who also became the same people that helped shape his career both in the fashion and music industry till this day. He became a mentor to one super model in Tema by name Isaac Yamoah Essel (now CEO of Jungle House Entertainment and Jungle House foundation). He also worked with the likes of Michael Ayenu Mensah now (DJ Mensah) and Suzzy Williams (of blessed memory).
The first part of the OBJClothing logo was created when he was in Tema Secondary School in 1998.He has been very ardent and glued to creating the OBJClothing brand as well as having a quest to work in the music industry because of the connection fashion has with the entertainment industry, something he foresaw according to him when he was rather young in the late 1980s.
In 2002, Jeremiah Obuobi enrolled at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, KNUST, where he got his first degree with a First Class Honours and met the likes of John Foley (Now Jay Foley), with whom Jeremiah continued to test his musical prowess by recording some few songs as Jay Foley was a sound engineer too back then. His contribution in the music industry was really deepened upon meeting up and having many conversations with the great Highlife legend Agya Koo Nimo on KNUST campus.
Jeremiah’s interest in product and industrial design was ignited when he met Mr. Emmanuel Ansah, the First Ghanaian Industrial Designer who had come back to serve the nation from the USA. Mr. Emmanuel Ansah (now with Asanska Collge of Design and Technology) was the one who painted the picture of conceptual product design and also of sustainable design that is used to serve society.
Jeremiah’s interest, to set up a fashion line started when he was very young. According to him he never had the opportunity to wear the footwear that was vogue at that time- i.e. the low cut converse all-stars sneakers, and thus, Jeremiah begun to draw his own ideal footwear and clothes to match them, as early as primary 2. When he got to Junior Secondary School Jeremiah focused and drew inspiration from the Timberland boots brand and Russell Simons’ Phat Farm brand. One of the major influencers that helped shaped his footwear design prowess was one Kofi Sekyi (Pala stone) now DJ Kofi in Holland. DJ Kofi’s guidance to Jeremiah to design exquisite designs begun in Star Junior Secondary School in the early 1990s. Accumulation of all these experiences helped Jeremiah create the OBJClothing brand from his name and his father’s name by reshuffling the first letters of his first name Jeremiah and his father’s name John and the first two of their surnames, ‘OB’ to form OBJ, and then adding Clothing to it to become ‘OBJClothing’
The design of the logos for OBJClothing brand was first created in 1997, though Jeremiah believes that the OBJClothing brand was created in October 1981 when he was born. Jeremiah Obuobi has therefore been juggling music and fashion and product design seriously and this made him able to merge these industries in a very interesting way. Jeremiah Obuobi used his product design knowledge to help push the Now R2Bees brand with such classic T-shirt fashion that the millions have not really encountered before. Later in 2009, OBJ as he is known got featured with his friends, the R2BEES, on ZAIN MTV MUSIC AWARDS ROAD TO MAMAS, which was meant to document everything about R2BEES, of which documenting him was important because he was the main fashion designer for the brand.
Jeremiah’s contribution has been immense with so many works done and seen today. In 2011, he created the OBJSARK-1 brand which was meant to be a foot wear project from the onset. This project could not hold because of copyright infringements against him that resulted in a lawsuit. Jeremiah was the person that first mentioned and created the name ‘SARK’ to be used for a footwear that never made it to the market. Jeremiah Obuobi’s interest in fashion was also enhanced upon two strategic internships, he underwent, one at Ghana Tex Styles and Printing (GTP), Tema which he studied at the Design Studio, RSP and Alizarin sections. Another Internship that was a turning point and enhanced his footwear design prowess was at the legendary Mensah Shoe Factory in Kumasi, Bomso where he studied at the Design and Pattern Making Studio.
After KNUST, he became a teaching assistant lecturing in the Industrial Art Department in the College of Art. During the time that he had the opportunity to be nominated to design the first ever British Broadcasting Corporation’s BBC Africa Radio Awards and the African footballer of the year trophies in 2007 and 2008 respectively. OBJClothing also revamped the growing REKX Records brand and served as the Brands-manger and also a recording artiste for the REKXBOIZ. He also served by teaching Visual and creative Art at Queensland International School, from 2011-2017 and was made the drama club coordinator in the school from 2013-2017.
In 2008 Jeremiah Obuobi won the award for British Council’s Ghanaian Fashion Entrepreneur of The Year (First Runner-up) and the South African Online Design Mate Magazine accorded him the accolades of being a Promising Young Designer from West Africa.
Since then Jeremiah has been ardent with design and music and continues to create mind bugling and intriguing designs that astounds many people. His current creations are the automobile inspired designs and the Akan Head motifs for T-shirt fashion. Currently he is working as A & R and Brands Manager for the Ruff Money Records, REKX Records and Quallos Productions.