In SS17 maharishi goes on a Tour of Africa, following American and Chinese military presence in the region. The U.S. and China pay inexorable amounts of money in annual rent for military bases to operate under the guise of supporting stability and infrastructure in the region, but trade interests are undoubtedly at play. Nomenclature across the collection is influenced by French colonisation and continued occupation of Africa.
Colours this season take on a natural palette and have been extracted from the mines of Africa, creating earthy swatches. Coltan – a vital mineral used in almost all smartphones and laptops – is central to this collection, as it shines light on natural resources and how they fuel armed conflict across the continent.
Graphics in SS17 are primitive and portray a sense of naivety, using simplistic shapes shaded with bright contrast coloured shading – transferring vividly to embroidery. They are framed with an overlocked staple stitch, reminiscent of the works of early Ivorian artists. Symbolic references to the American Tour of Vietnam can also be seen in the late 60s era style and technique of African map embroidery.
The seasonal camouflage DPM: Tigerstripe Murale builds on a traditional Tigerstripe base, and is paired with hand screen print techniques that allow a degree of manipulation beyond that of automated rotary print. As a result, patterns this season have been expressed in Dense, Sparse, and Super Sparse variants. They have also been hand painted onto reclaimed military uniforms in East London, as part of maharishi’s upcycling program.
Silhouettes this season include inspirations from traditional African clothing. A prominent stylistic reference is the Djellaba – a hooded, long loose-fitting robe from North West Africa. Another is the Djellabiya, a hoodless wide collared and sleeved robe from the Horn of Africa.
Tour d’Afrique references the dualistic existence of maharishi and its core themes, highlighting contrasts in East vs. West, nature and handcraft vs. technology, and military vs. pacifist. Mother Nature is at the core of the maharishi ethos – and this collection highlights the importance of her resources and our dependence on them.