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WAFRICA – Africa meets Japanese Kimono

Serge MOUANGUE blends Japanese and African design

Japanese Kimono and Obi-belts are known for their rich designs and represent the heart of traditional Japanese culture. African designer Serge MOUANGUE who works and lives in Japan saw an analogy to African traditional patterns and initiated the WAFRICA project to bring these two worlds together. The word WAFRICA combines the Japanese word WA , which means Japanese, and the word Africa. This perfectly represents the marriage of Japan and Africa intended from the WAFRICA project.

“I pursue and observe the complexity of different values and cultural identities in search of threads to weave a fabric which is a blending of these differences.”


Serge partnered with the Tokyo based Kimono maker Kururi (くるり) to create a series of 18 Kimono with African design elements. Kururi was a purposeful choice since the company is also known for innovating Kimono design with regional Japanese fabrics or even denim. You can see parts of the Wafrica fashion show and an interview with Serge about his work on this video.

We were inspired to write about WAFRICA and Serge Mouangue through a post we found at Chocolate City – A leading blog about African American topics. Thank you to Chocolate City for picking up this wonderful topic and giving us the permission to quote them and drive to find out more about it.

9 thoughts on “WAFRICA – Africa meets Japanese Kimono”

    1. Actually these show influences from late Meiji patterns and early Showa colors. Very Mingei in their feeling, and, if you have the right skin tone, so attractive when viewed as folk-inspired patterns, not fine Kyoto high design or traditional stuff.

  1. I think it is really beautiful actually some of these patterns looks like tie-dyed patterns of classical Japanese kimono. Maybe you shouldn’t be so prompt to say “ugly” it’s a little rude …

  2. The Other person is rude for calling it ugly tbh. I think it’s very creative and different, the methods used to mold the two cultures into one aesthetic was not only cool as hell but also great to add the traditional African design to the kimono dress. I know I’m not creative enough to of thought of this so … 😊💅

  3. I understand what he is trying to do, but truthfully, and with all due respect, the patterns are a bit too mismatched. Many of the belts do not go with the pattern of the kimono. But I love the idea of this fusion of cultures.

  4. This is stunning, very beautiful and unique, it really proves that something that isn’t genuinely Japanese still can be “of iki”.

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