I have been asked by different friends about my understanding of the idea of cultural appropriation. For people who have grown up in Hong Kong, it might be hard to see where the problem is when a Caucasian celebrity decides to get cornrows, or when a white person decides to earn his or her living off the culture of Hip Hop. There is a fine line between learning and incorporating someone else’s culture, and exploiting the culture which can offend its originators.
However, if the balance is stricken correctly, and that the culture is given respect and learned with care, the resulting product can be very amazing. Wafrica, founded by Serge Mouangue, is the byproduct of combining kimono together with the aesthetics of West Africa.
Learning the Japanese refinement and attention to detail from Kyoto’s ODASHO, which has 150 years of experience in creating kimonos, Mouangue has added African touches to the traditional design, inducing a “rhythmic density and vibration” quality to the heritage.
“The Wafrica kimonos, however, are so much more than a blend of 2 different cultures. They’re an attempt to redefine the narrative and get us to see a third aesthetic: one that respects the codes, beauties, and qualities of two cultures… The conversation is about the beauty of weaving strands of our stories together.” says Mouangue.
Source: Spoon Tamago