WAFRICA: KIMONOS OF JAPANESE AND WEST AFRICAN CULTURE
Wafrica has done well to unite two cultures that are geographically worlds apart by creating art that unites both the Japanese and African culture! The aesthetics that make up Wafrica’s kimono collections are absolutely breathtaking! Especially now that kimonos are really a thing.
Wafrica (portmanteau of “wa” for Japan, and “Africa”) is a celebration of Japanese and West African cultures, moulded together to forge an aesthetically powerful, wearable art – the traditional kimono with a magnificent side of West African prints and fabrics. But Wafrica is not about fashion or commercialisation. It’s about artistic expressions and union of cultures.
This cultural cocktail is the brainchild of Serge Mouangue (a Cameroonian native), and Kururi, (a Japanese kimono designer).
Serge Mouangue is an artist, industrial designer, and architect that has been exposed to the intricacies of various cultures. He was born in Cameroon, grew up in Paris, and his family is half-Australian by virtue of his wife. However, given his increasingly famous strides in developing the brand Wafrica, in his time that he lived there, Japanese culture appears to have had a hugely significant and lasting impression on Mouangue’s artistic endeavours.
The kimonos mostly utilise bold, beautiful African patterns and motifs. The fabrics are sourced from Senegal and Nigeria – on traditional Japanese kimono silhouettes.
Wafrica designs seek to showcase the importance of cross-cultural values, and urge people to respect, appreciate, and learn from cultures outside their own – especially given the current global sociopolitical climate, which is seeing a rise of nationalism that unfortunately parades hostility and exclusionism.
Mouangue says on their website that:
“In response to the argument that globalization may rob us of our cultural identity, a conversation between two ancient, strong and sophisticated identities: Japan and Africa. The conversation is about the beauty of weaving strands of our stories together.
Wafrica is about hope and embracing the possibilities made available when the unique treasures brought by each of us are juxtaposed to form a new and enlightened international consciousness.”
Watch the Wafrica Story below: