Campaign photography by Namsa Leuba
Vlisco’s aim for this year – and the years ahead – is to join forces with a new generation of up-and-coming creatives, unleashing the creative talent of African women. This season, we collaborated with Swiss-Guinean photographer, Namsa Leuba, who has reinterpreted our storytelling designs in a new way.
We asked her some questions about herself, her work and her collaboration with Vlisco.
Hi Namsa, can you tell us a little bit about yourself? My name is Namsa Leuba and I was born in 1982 in Switzerland. I studied photography at the ECAL University of Art and Design in Lausanne, where I went on to obtain a Masters in Art Direction. My work has been published in numerous magazines, including Wallpaper, Libération, the British Journal of Photography and European Photography. I have a natural love of Africa, since there lie my roots: I am half Guinean and still have family there, whom I visit whenever I can. I have known of Vlisco for a long time, and even have some outfits made from Vlisco fabrics.
Can you tell us some more about your work? My photography looks at the representation of African identity through the Western imagination. I work across the documentary, fashion and performance genres, creating visual imagery that explores the signs and symbols of African cultural heritage; from rituals and ceremonies to statuettes and masquerades. My work is varied: one day I could be on location in my native Guinea, the next in a studio environment. You could say my work is characterised by an anthropological interest in traditional customs combined with an aesthetic that is guided by fashion and design. I take a theatrical approach to my work, with careful attention to props, colours and gestures. I like to question the relationship between fact and fiction, action and representation, and the sacred and the profane. Can you show us some of your work?
Curious to see more of Namsa’s work? Visit her website at http://www.namsaleuba.com or follow her on Instagram @namsaleuba. About the Vlisco shoot; what was the idea behind it? For this campaign, we created a collection of outfits that are partly unfinished; they offer some suggestion of what kind of look the outfit can produce. We wanted to stimulate people’s creativity; prompt them make their own creation, their own unique piece. Vlisco makes beautiful fabrics. But at the end of the day, the individuals are the ones who create fashion.
The inspiration behind the photography was female beauty, strong shapes and graphic elements. We wanted to showcase the Vlisco designs and give them the lead. Do you have a favourite photo?
I love the dynamism in this picture. I also love the fact that you don’t know how you should view it. What’s the funniest thing that happened on the shoot? The model had to jump in the air so many times and hang from a rod. This was how we produced the image above. It was really funny, because she had to keep going and going until we got a good picture. We were lucky she was so fit! She really was excellent and great to work with. As was the rest of the team. I was really lucky to work with them. Do you have a favourite fabric of the season? I couldn’t choose one; I liked a lot of them. But these 3 are my absolute favourites!