By recovering clothes discarded in the West, Togolese designer Amah Ayiv gives them new life through his high fashion creations.
Wax Max, from fabrics to ethical manufacturing made in Africa
Wax Max is a collection of garments and home fittings combining African fabrics and manufacture with Western style. A perfect combination of different cultures.
Creating new opportunities for underdeveloped countries is only one of the ideas that drove Elena Vida, a Milanese architect of Armenian origin, and Andrea Folgosa, the Catalan designer who founded the fashion and home furnishing brand “Wax Max”.
Since 2013, the year the brand was founded, the idea was that of bringing a new lease of life to craftsmanship that is increasingly disappearing. Thanks to the project “Working | Women | Win” that promotes collaboration between designers and artisans in Italy, Senegal and Cape Verde, Wax Max has used rather unusual sources of workers.
Indeed the brand, founded by Elena and Andrea, has entrusted the realisation of its products to some special institutions: a small workshop in Boavista (one of Cape Verde islands), where a young Guinean tailor called Djibi works; Gis Gis, a Senegalese cooperative in which a few needy girls from the suburbs of Dakar were taught how to handweave; Alice, the Milanese organisation that offers rehabilitation activities for female prisoners at San Vittore and Bollate, Milan; and some famous workshops, such as Ombrellificio Lanzetti that produces umbrellas for prestigious fashion houses.
But not only is the manufacturing process ethical. The fine cotton used is quintessentially African for its bright colours, patterns and prints and is directly purchased from local producers operating in Ghana, Senegal, Guinea Bissau, Mali and Burkina Faso, all areas in which craftsmanship is an ancient yet not so profitable profession.
If fabrics and manufacture are mostly African, the style and lines of the models are inspired in Western tradition. As Elena Vida confirms, the idea is to create “something you wear willingly even if it’s showy and colourful”.
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