Fashion’s a shore thing in Senegal
On a beach in Dakar, Senegal, the
Bantu Wax Pop-up Shop is an unusual home for the growing surf community of west Africa. The former shipping container looks like something that might have washed ashore from a sunken ship, but look closer and you’ll see the wax-print surfboards lined up in the windows, like shark fins in silhouette. Surfers sit on the dunes as waves crash in front of them.
The shop is home to the Bantu luxury surf brand – a colourful swimwear line designed and made in Senegal that’s becoming increasingly popular on the international fashion and surfing scenes for its bold-print-emblazoned swim and surfwear.
The label has previously only been found at Barneys in New York, Opening Ceremony stores internationally and Cape Town’s Merchants on Long, but designer and founder Yodit Eklund knew the only way the brand could be sustainable was to focus on building slowly, locally and producing thoughtfully.
“We’re doing things that people need and ask for, and people are asking us to make products in Africa, so we’re figuring out how to do this,” she said in a recent interview with Vogue. “If it can’t be made in Africa, we’re not making it.” The container, designed with the help of local architects Issa Diabaté and Mardochée Diané, has played host to several curated exhibitions featuring the likes of Jenke Ahmed Tailly, Okmalumkoolkat and Musa Nxumalo. It’s an inspiring and elegant space full of colour and an unmistakable Senegalese beach flavour that Bantu and its collaborative team capture with such ease.
The Bantu Wax Pop-up Shop in Dakar, Senegal, is the flagship home of the luxury swimwear brand
Surfers in Bantu wetsuits
Fun in the sun