Style
Photo by Nicholas Burrough, courtesy of Vlisco.

Vlisco's New Fashion Editorial Video Is a Radiant Homage to the Aso Ebi Tradition

In an exclusive with OkayAfrica, Vlisco shares with us their Benin-shot editorial video featuring their latest Dutch Wax collection, "New Traditions."

Vlisco presents their new colllection, New Traditions—a celebration of thriving women—in a stunning editorial video with OkayAfrica.

With the beautiful backdrop of the landscapes and stunning structures of Benin, you'll note scenes of striking Beninese women wearing the same Dutch Wax fabric that have been made into one-of-a-kind pieces by Beninese designers. This is a tradition known as aso ebi, where groups of women, families and even communities don the same fabrics or color scheme to denote unity.

"African print is important to me because it reflects my heritage," Alexandra Ahouanmenou, who participated in the campaign, says. "My favorite moment was when all the women walked alongside us in the streets of Porto Novo. It felt like we were the stylish amazons of Benin—beautiful, strong, proud African women."

In this campaign, Vlisco shows women making the statement of ubuntu—I am because we are—through new and classic prints to honor both the unity of each individual and the group.

Watch the editorial video below.


"The film consists of powerful striking images and is a visual dance of lines and structures," Vlisco notes in a statement. "The fabrics move through the different characteristic landscapes that make them come to life, strengthened by the women who wear them."

Following up with Vlisco on the concept of the editorial, they say Benin was a key location to execute this vision because it's known as a "wax country."

"You [will] see many, many, Vlisco designs on the streets, at the offices, in the churches and at special events. The atmosphere over there is so special, the people are friendly and warm," Vlisco shares with us. "We thought it is interesting to show the beauty of a country that is like a hidden secret for many."

Get to know all those involved, from Benin especially, in the credits below.

Beninese women in aso ebi, from the 'New Traditions' campaign video.Photo by Nicholas Burrough, courtesy of Vlisco.

Credits

Video

DOP/Director: Gregg Telussa

Assistants: Nicholas Burrough, Marinka Schippers, Michael Ugwu

Photography

Campaign Images: Nicholas Burrough

Lookbook Images: Nicholas Burrough

Assistant Photographers: Marinka Schippers + Michael Ugwu

Models

Faith Johnson (Fowler Models)

Ojima Atawodi (Zahara Model Management)

Ines Dieng

Beninese Women

Agniola Zinsou

Aïda Ahouanmenou

Alexandra Ahouanmenou

Anne-Yolaine Alao

Corinne Agbantou

Delphine Gobbo

Dior Osseni

Farida Saidou

Folashade Olory Togbe Euzen

Gene Crestia

Hermine Da Silva

Idiath Adeoti

Inès Dieng Gobbo

Josiane Chahounka

Nathalie Carrenard Degbe

Nchimunya Kabunda Brown

Nicole Olory Togbe

Rita Amoussou Mamah

Sarah Yaluissi Kpenou

Beninese Dancers

Lucrèce Atchade (Choreography)

Murielle De Souza

Fashion Designers

Pelebe - Zak Kone

Styletemple - Ogugua Okonkwo

Pepita D

Grace Wallace

Esperancia Mode

Fathma

Casterman

Ideal Mode Couture

Elisha Couture

Rafiou A.

Beninese Hairstylist

True as Nature

Beninese Makeup Artists

Marvige Deguenon (Oussy Make Up)

Nadjida Adamon (All in One)

Marie Jesus Aihonnou (Talent Prestige)

Aémanath Roufaï (Fola Beauty)

Chimene Sossah (Lorenor)

Styling + Accessories

Chyba Jewelry - Jana Miklosova

Guide + Location Scout

Euloge Tochoedo

Post Production

Image Retouching: Edge Company

Edit + Grading Video: Maurice Leentvaar

Music Composer: Rutger Reinders

Sound Design: Any Colour You Like

Production

Hotel Rebel (Netherlands)

Primedia (Benin)

Vlisco

Interview
Photo: Benoit Peverelli

Interview: Oumou Sangaré Proves Why She's the Songbird of Wassoulou

We caught up with the Malian singer to talk about her new Acoustic album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

When Oumou Sangaré tells me freedom is at her core, I am not surprised. If you listen to her discography, you'll be hard-pressed to find a song that doesn't center or in some way touch on women's rights or child abuse. The Grammy award-winning Malian singer has spent a significant part of her career using her voice to fight for the rights of women across Africa and the world, a testimony to this is her naming her debut studio album Moussolou, meaning Woman. The album, a pure masterpiece that solidified Oumou's place amongst the greats and earned her the name 'Songbird of Wassoulou,' was a commercial success selling over 250,000 records in Africa and would in turn go on to inspire other singers across the world.

On her latest body of work Acoustic, a reworking of her critically acclaimed 2017 album Mogoya, Oumou Sangaré proves how and why she earned her accolades. The entirety of the 11-track album was recorded within two days in the Midi Live studio in Villetaneuse in 'live' conditions—with no amplification, no retakes or overdubs, no headphones. Throughout the album, using her powerful and raw voice that has come to define feminism in Africa and shaped opinions across the continent, Oumou boldly addresses themes like loss, polygamy and female circumcision.

We caught up with the Malian singer at the studio she is staying while in quarantine to talk about her new album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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