Wafrica’s kimono collections, which heavily feature African designs on the traditional Japanese garment, are fine examples of an artistic fusion of cultures done right.
Cameroonian Serge Mouangue and Japanese kimono designer Kururi have successfully blended both culture’s aesthetics in the new line of kimonos by making use of Africa’s striking motifs and colorful patterns.
While the designs retained the robe’s traditional shape, the fabric used in the creations are sourced primarily from Senegal and Nigeria, according to Nigerian site Konbini.
Mouangue stated that their creation is not an attempt to make a fashion statement nor create a profitable business commercial venture, but to start a conversation about cultural identities.
“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,” Mouangue wrote on their website. “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.”
The Japanese kimono, which has been traditionally used in Japan as everyday wear, was eventually replaced by Western clothes in the 1930s.
Associated with politeness and good manners, the garment is now worn only during important festivals or formal occasions.