We’re in Barcelona not for the tapas, nor for the touristic attractions but to speak with Wekafore the emerging fashion designer whose clothes are not only effortlessly cool but they also have an interesting story behind them.
Wekafore grew up in suburban Nigeria, his routine consisted of street-football and spending time in his mother’s workshop, a textile manufacturer. Re-stitching and press-ironing his school trousers at the workshop, he later found himself in Dubai where being racially discriminated then became part of his routine “I then came to study fashion at Bilbao and have been in Spain ever since” the fashion designer says, “there isn’t really a major reason why I chose to come to Barcelona in the end, I just really wanted to leave Dubai”.
The clothes are used as a canvas for Wekafore to tell his story and re-imagine the urban African style prior to colonialism. Mixing fabrics and colours, playing with the idea of feminine masculinity and masculine femininity, his story is more relevant than ever.
"Living in different places means you’re blessed with mixing with loads of people who hold their own stories and cultures”
Branding and travelling is an unavoidable combo for the designer who now works and lives in Barcelona: “Travelling impacted and still impacts my work branding-wise mostly. It allowed me to better communicate my messages and think about the different perspectives that people carry. Living in different places means you’re blessed with mixing with loads of people who hold their own stories and cultures"
Wekafore refers to Sin Papeles as an artist who is a part of reforming the narrative in Spain. His name means ‘no paper’ - a salute to the African and Latin American communities who are based in Barcelona, but face problems with ‘their papers’ and visas. Sin Papeles is bringing that underbelly of Barcelona and its politics to the forefront through street art” Wekafore comments.
"I feel like it is our job as Africans of the diaspora to infuse creative thinking into the African consciousness."
“I feel it’s an obligation of mine. One of the problems in Nigeria and Africa as a whole is creative thinking. I feel like it is our job as Africans of the diaspora to infuse creative thinking into the African consciousness. The African-Spanish population have a certain lack of identity. If you look at black Americans they have certain key figures they can look back at -like Malcolm X, MLK. In Spain, there are no black icons. I want to change that and simply make people open to different narratives”.
"There's a certain consciousness at the top that all others are able to connect with and propel forward."
“In every sort of movement, there's a certain consciousness at the top that all others are able to connect with and propel forward. Something like that is happening here in Barcelona right now”, the designer notes, “We shouldn’t try to be like London because the infrastructure is not the same. It's important to create a unique narrative”.
With building his own narrative the focus, Wekafore’s next challenge is how to mix fashion, art and music under one umbrella. The main advantage to that project? “Incorporating all three elements to save time and stress”.