Olivier Ishimwe & Jimmy Kana
O’KANA was founded in 2014, and is owned by long-time friends and brothers Jimmy Kana and Olivier Ishimwe. The name O’KANA is an amalgamation of the first and the last names of the brand’s founders (Olivier Ishimwe & Jimmy Kana). Besides the brand’s name obtaining its meaning from the names of both founders, O’KANA’s logo is inspired by their heritage; not only as black-Africans, but as descendants of the Central East Africa region. That region of Africa has also influenced the fashion start-up’s gorilla face logo, which is of the Silverback gorilla, also found in the area. The Silverback gorilla is known for its maturity, intelligence and leadership of mountain gorillas inthe wild, which has directly influenced O’KANA’s aim and mission to be a leading brand in the fashion industry.
O’KANA also has roots in Scandinavian design, however with a multicultural twist. Its owners are proud to identify themselves as part of contemporary Danish design. This Danish identity is a core theme in the development of O’KANA as a brand; the idea that beautiful and functional everyday objects should not only be affordable to the wealthy, but available for all, is a key sentiment and inspiration.
Despite Scandinavian designs being known as having the best quality; interms of design, materials and manufacturing, the owners felt the lack ofcolour, multicultural touches and diversity lacking in design from the region. Furthermore, this lack of diversity, with many unable to recognise or identify with much of Scandinavian design on the market, became theultimate reason to why O’KANA was born. Introducing and bringing global-citizenship into Scandinavian design and market was another key aspect in the brand’s founding.
O’KANA’s goal is to become and remain a lifestyle, rather than simply a clothing brand. Everyone, no matter their social class, economic situation, or country of origin, should be able to identify with the O’KANA brand. This is realised through 3 different segments, which together represent the O’KANA core values.