Fash­ion’s a shore thing in Sene­gal

CityPress - - Trending - GAR­RETH VAN NIEK­ERK gar­reth.van­niek­erk@city­press.co.za

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.

PHOTOS: YODIT EK­LUND

BEACH HOUSE

The Bantu Wax Pop-up Shop in Dakar, Sene­gal, is the flag­ship home of the lux­ury swimwear brand

SURF’S UP

Surfers in Bantu wet­suits

DECK CHAIRS

Fun in the sun

FINS

Wax-print surf­boards

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