Exploring The Idea Of An African Mermaid- “Mami Wata”, View Maki Oh’s A/W ‘15 Collection

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Maki Oh’s Autumn Winter 15/16 collection explores the idea of adopted identities as result of West Africa’s long history with cultural appropriation. It is an idea that has spun through all Maki Oh collections.

 

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According to the collection brief, designer Amaka Osakwe says:

“As an advocate for all things truly African, Maki Oh uses true African textiles like Adire, Aso-oke, Akwa Ocha, Oja and more to continue to illustrate to the world (and Africans) that we have desirable, couture quality local textiles.

 

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The idea of the African mermaid, Mami Wata is of particular interest, also the total adoption of foreign ideas inspires the silhouettes, prints and embellishments in the AW15/16 collection, which is packed with hidden meanings in the same vein as traditional Nigerian attire. A traditional Adire print ‘Omi’, (water) covers a dress with a fish-like fin, mirrored-fishes swim across dense cotton trousers, an iridescent fin swims down the sleeve of a silk blouse, a floral Guipure lace skirt which symbolizes her beauty, is backed with a mirrored glitter cotton canvas and a silk crepe dress is flanked by Ekpaku Ubok (an Ibibio arm band used during a traditional fertility dance).

 

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The colour palette – white, blue green, marine blue, mirror silver, sand and black is found in both, the original and adopted imagery and myths.

 

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Watch the Maki Oh Autumn Winter 15/16 Film

 

Photoshoot Credits:
Photographer: Reze Bonna
Models: Idia Aisien (TV presenter, formerly New York based model) | Joyce Chidebe (Africa’s Next Top Model 2013)
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