THE MEANING BEHIND THE TOUR D’AFRIQUE COLLECTION
In SS17 maharishi unleashed their Tour d’Afrique collection, following increasing American and Chinese military presence in the region. The tones themselves are said to be derived from the mines of Africa with the silhouettes themselves referencing the brand’s signature military style. In particular, there was a strong emphasis on mining for the resource Coltan. This is a mineral extracted from mines in Africa used in the majority of smartphones and laptops. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, Coltan extraction has sustained a devastating 10 year long war. China continues to purchase the mineral outside of government regulated sources linked to armed groups. In fact, the mining portfolio in the DRC is almost 70% under the control of China.
London Fashion Week, Maharishi Runway A/W 2017
Maharishi is quoted as stating:
“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.”
Maharishi Tour d’Afrique Overshirt S/S 2017
The main slogan used on the apparel was: “the mind can make a heaven out of hell/or a hell out of heaven”, taken from John Milton’s epic, ‘Paradise Lost‘. The poem told the story of Satan’s beef with God and all humans who were unfortunately caught in between. Translated into the increased military presence from the US and China in Africa, the Maharishi collection states how the inhabitants are the unfortunate sufferers of China/US tension on the African continent.
In sum, Tour d’Afrique plays into the interesting dualism that the Maharishi brand instills. Coining their philosophy to design as a ‘pacifist military’ approach, with this collection they highlighted how traditional military silhouettes can in fact oppose violence and conflict.
“Mother Nature is at the core of the maharishi ethos – and this collection highlights the importance of her resources and our dependence on them.”