mami wata x Tshepo collection
Two iconic African brands - surf brand Mami Wata and denim brand TSHEPO - have collaborated to launch their limited edition ‘African Rain Queen’ collection. The graphics-lead range explores an idea of global African cultural influence, with a capsule of jeans, kimonos, sweats, tees, hoodies and bucket hats - all made on the African continent.
TSHEPO and Mami Wata both have a passion for African storytelling, design and apparel, coupled with global ambitions. The brands have long wanted to work together.
But what story to tell together? TSHEPO from landlocked Joburg and Mami Wata from coastal Cape Town.
With both brands being motivated by the increasing influence of the continent on popular global culture, the collection references elements from each of the brands and takes inspiration from the influence on popular Western culture of Queen Modjadji, the African rain queen. It is believed Queen Modjadji has special powers, including the ability to control the clouds and rainfall.
Referencing TSHEPO's King’s crown logo and Mami Wata’s ocean sourced name, the collection uses graphic elements of a queen’s crown, rain, waves, lightning and the ocean. Rain links the brands by being a key element in the growth of cotton for the garments and a key element in the ocean water cycle.
The African Rain Queen was chosen as inspiration because of how she has influenced popular Western culture, from as far back as back 1887 where she is seen as inspiration for H. Rider Haggard's 1887 novel She: A History of Adventure. More recently in the Marvel comics character, Storm is a fictional descendant of the dynasty that produces the Rain Queens through the line of the Sorceress Supreme Ayesha from the Hyborian Age. Mujaji is also the name of the goddess of sustenance in The Orisha, the pantheon of Wakanda. In Wakanda, Storm is called Hadari-Yao ("Walker of Clouds' ' in ancient Alkemite), a goddess who preserves the balance of natural things.
As African brands spread globally and influence western and global popular culture, like the Rain Queen, their special powers will continue to be felt.