The first sound you hear when you arrive in Lagos is the honk of a car. The last sound you hear when you leave Lagos is that same honk. The sounds you’ll hear in between is, don’t be surprised, mostly honks.
In between those cars you may find a dare devil - a skate boarder who is taking over the streets of Lagos in his WAFFLESNCREAM gear. Yes, Lagos, the city with over 23 million people has it's own skate board crew named WAFFLESNCREAM and they got their own clothing line. I met with the founder and we had a chat on my favourite subjects in life… Fashion, (sub)culture, identity and making things happen.
Picture by Bai Joiner
So, let’s start with the obvious question: Skate boarding in Lagos, how did that happen?
My mother gave me a skate board when I was young. She travelled and brought me one when she came back. Those days there was no internet yet, so I didn’t know how to go about it. When I moved to Leeds (UK) I got into it. I promised myself that I would make it a thing here in Lagos because I never liked football or basketball and I knew I wasn’t the only one. That’s why I started it here the moment I moved back…
So it just started?
Yeah. Skate boarding is an outcast thing. In Nigeria, we already are the underground of the world stage and on top of that we skate. It all started with skating, clothing started about 4 years after. Clothing is good and exciting, but we aren’t a fashion brand- we are a skate board brand. We are just doing it as we feel. We have to dictate our own stuff- everything has a DIY attitude.
picture by Bai Joiner
Who is we?
... A lot of people - everybody who’s helping. Worldwide we are with about 150 people, of which 50 are based in Lagos. Nobody studied fashion - it's a passion for all of us. Even the tailor whom we work with never done anything like this, he made women’s clothes before. The kid that made our first video was 14 years old and never made a video. We just went for it. Even the store manager has an art degree in curating. We build it from scratch ourselves. We just went online and studied stores we like: Palace, Supreme, Patta, Nike...
To us the village is more important than the individual - we want to show the world the best talents we have in Lagos, so that we want to tell our story. We want to export our culture now, we have imported so much from Europe and the states here, it's our time to export now.
What about the logo?
It’s a dead white man. In the 18-hundreds when they took us as slaves, that’s what they looked like. It’s a black dude dressed as an English white dude, with the top hat and coat… In Egypt they put buttons in the eyes because it makes msure evil spirits can't get in. The eyes are a reflection of the soul...
And the numbers?
That’s the year in which the first waffle machine is made.
It just sounds good. And it means sex… It’s a long story between me and my friends…
The name sounds very American...
Because it’s foreign. Everything we have in Africa is foreign… As a brand we play with how we think non-Africans perceive us - the way they look at Africans is not the same way people look at black Europeans or black American’s. We at the bottom of the preferences.
Screenshot from their website.
What about the clothing?
A lot of people don’t think our clothing is not African - but it does capture our culture. We touch upon every part of our culture, we have to give people a feel of what Lagos culture is like. We have an uncle shirt, a Johnny Just Come (JJC) shirt and a suit with a white Jesus on it in Ankara. Or ‘shine shine bobo’ t-shirt. The designs are very African.
Why do you use ‘African’ in your reference and not ‘Nigerian’?
No matter where I go, no matter where any black person goes we are seen as African. People don’t know much about Africa to know the differences… But when they see a top hat they know the person is English, if he is wearing a beret he must be French. People who dictate the world don’t have the patience to distinguish us… So it’s African.
Check out their website for more information and their clothing. Mind you - they ship internationally.