CoolAfrican is a lifestyle brand offering high-quality sustainable clothing and accessories inspired by African culture and heritage. The brand’s vision is to consolidate contemporary and ancient pop culture in a web of rebellious and thought-provoking premium products that are accessible by all and culturally impactful. Giving us today’s African culture references CoolAfrican is perfect merch to represent your roots.
Founder and creative lead Tunde Joseph Obisesan tells us the story behind the brand and how it all began, his story is something many black African brits can relate to here’s what he had to say.
Growing up in the Uk as a young man from sub-Saharan Africa, it wasn’t cool identifying with the motherland in any way shape or form. One cannot overemphasize the effect of the “slum story depiction of Africa” on the mainstream media in the minds of young teenagers. College playground was a bully space for kids with an African name, accents or any form of obvious affiliation with the motherland. Being British doesn’t count for much either growing up as you are always hiding your African roots to avoid being underestimated or perceived negatively by colleagues who only see Africa from one lens, most often negative.
Few years down the line, seeing how the emergence of Afrobeats (cross-pollination of traditional African sound and western pop sound) made it cool again to be African. It daunted quickly on me only Africans can change the African story. I have always read about this and believed this, but the conviction only came when I started seeing how Afrobeats enabled inner-city London kids from African background to begin to embrace their roots and boldly claim they were from Africa.
I realized not only until we innovate, embrace and promote our culture, science, food, people, fashion, and way of life, would we begin to see real change within our community which will, in turn, bring value to the brand “Africa”, and ultimately get the communities outside to embrace and respect us for who we are.
So, I set on a mission as a self-proclaimed pan-Africanist and pop culture enthusiast – I asked myself how best can I contribute to this cultural and behavioural change within African millennials in the diaspora community. That’s how I came up with “Cool African” – A brand using quirky and socially conscious designs as a tool to embolden and propel the new African story.
The stay home capsule incorporates Colour, Culture, and Care. The three themes governing CoolAfrican SS20 “Stay Home Capsule”. The brand’s choices of bright pallet garments haven’t been more relevant than this moment in human history, where isolation has been the core message of the world, we have gone inverse to focus our attention on pan-Africanism, blaring tones and self-care through our Afrocentric enthused designs revolving around the ideological concept of “Unification to Conquer”.
BALOGUN Sweatshirt depicts a notable warrior in the line of duty against an enemy. The word “Balogun” is a Yoruba title which means Military commander. Africa has always been at the frontline of many battles (Invasion, Poverty, Diseases, etc.). The relevancy of this is more potent as the world is currently in the battle with an invisible enemy.
NO PARKING Hoodie is a protest banner against the uncontrolled influx of Chinese vessels and loans to the shores of Africa. CoolAfrican strongly believes this is a soft form of colonization that should be frowned upon. An attempt to provoke millennials in thinking about an issue.
U.A.P Hoodie uses very bright colour hoodies to make noise about the importance of the unification of Africa. Self-care, Self-Love, home and abroad. The attention is on unity. Unify to push our products, brand, entities, institutions, and culture. U.A.P stands for United African People. This piece references back to the first Pan-African conference.
Lastly, At CoolAfrican, there is non-conformist and rebellious culture embodied within our design process.
“KISS MY YANSH crop hoodie projects this by actively encouraging Neo-feminism movement in the shocking phrase “Kiss my Yansh” on a military green brushed back fleece. “Yansh” is another name for Ass.
Check out the new capsule and more on their website