Vans is no stranger to powerful, thought-provoking collaborations. After recently teaming up with high-end haute-minimalists Our Legacy for a range made from leftover fabrics, the Anaheim brand has partnered with lifestyle label Mami Wata for a collection that draws its inspiration from Africa’s rich surf culture.
Founded in 2017 and introduced to the States in 2021, Mami Wata is a small but exciting imprint that aims to support and develop the long-standing surf culture on the continent. Translating in West African Pidgin English as “Mama Water” or Mother Ocean, the label is based out of Cape Town, and is a huge advocate of world-leading African surf therapy organizations like Waves for Change and Surfers Not Street Children which continue to change lives.
Heavily influenced by legendary local music festivals like “Zaire ’74” – intended as a three-day pre-party for George Foreman and Muhammed Ali’s “Rumble in the Jungle” – and Nigeria’s “Festac ‘77,” the collection is defined by a punch of vibrant colors and head-turning graphics. Comprising of a black hoodie, a short-sleeve shirt, a set of tees, swim shorts, and a baseball cap, the highlight of the capsule has got to be the Authentic and Style 36 Decon sneakers. Both of these models fully rework Vans’ legendary checkerboard into a funky and fresh pattern that aims to instill the essence of the hand-woven fabrics that are popular throughout Africa.
The collection also uses a combination of regenerative, responsibly-sourced, renewable, and recycled materials, making up at least 30% of each item. So, just like Mami Wata’s repurposed sweatshirts from earlier this month, not only will you look good wearing them, you’ll feel pretty damn good too.
The Vans x Mami Wata Collection is available right now from the Mami Wata webstore and Vans, with prices ranging from $28 to $110. And, elsewhere, in other collaboration-based news, Dickies and Sky High Farm workwear have linked-up for a deadstock collection to benefit food access.
Text: Adam Cheung