Can’t beat the real thing
with this new line of sweatshirts from Joan and Doreen Caven
Pop Caven are at it again with their AW16 range of sweatshirts. In keeping with their fun yet informed take on contemporary African casualwear, sister act Joan and Doreen Caven have taken some tongue in cheek liberties with well known brand logos and slogans by giving them a distinctly Nigerian twist. Here Doreen explains their latest fashion word play.
What was the inspiration behind this collection?
Growing up in Lagos in the 1990s, sport brands like FILA, Nike and Adidas were all the rage. I had a pair of FILA sneakers that I wore everywhere - school, parties, church - you name it. I also remember my sister and I running to the TV to sing along to the soda commercial jingles. We would compare which company had the better commercials - I still think Coca Cola wins by a landslide, she thinks Pepsi! People don’t realise that pop culture is worldwide and that African consumers have huge buying power. So we took the nostalgia of our childhood memories, our exposure to these brands, and came up with the idea of creating sweatshirts combining an essence of our African culture with recognisable logos.
So Coca Cola becomes Kola Nut?
Yes. Coca Cola has its origins in the kola nut, which in Igbo culture - our culture - is sacred. It is used primarily to welcome guests into your village or home.
And Pepsi becomes Palm Wine.
Our first exposure to palm wine was through our dad. Whenever we visited our village in Eastern Nigeria, he would point out the palm wine tappers. We would watch in amazement as these men climbed tall trees to extract the sap, which fermented into wine. Witnessing this fearless process is a memory that we wanted to share with the world. Enjoy Palm wine!
What is your favourite piece in the collection?
The Africa for USA sweatshirt is a reverse of the USA for Africa logo from 1985, an initiative that sponsored the star-studded charity song We Are The World. The black community in America has been through a lot, and it is more than time we make a change, so this shirt shows solidarity and support.
And what do you think Fela Kuti would make of his name association with FILA?
Fela was more than just a Nigerian icon - he was a worldwide icon that inspired millions of people. His message still resonates today. Our aim is to share elements of our culture with the world in a language that is digestible. With each item we release, we aim to teach, inspire and share. We hope that Fela would recognise our motives and see the humour behind these parodies.
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