Die beiden Schwestern Joan und Doreen Caven wuchsen in Lagos, der größten Stadt Nigerias auf bevor sie in die USA übersiedelten. Dort betreiben sie den Webshop Pop Caven, der Casual Wear und Accessoires vertreibt. Die beiden Schwestern wollen ihre eigene Story erzählen und ihre Vorliebe für ausgefallene Graphic Tees und Designs zum Ausdruck bringen, die afrikanische wie amerikanischen Einflüsse miteinander verschmelzen. Anstatt auf Flohmärkten nach ausgefallenen Einzelstücken zu suchen, nehmen die beiden die Sache jetzt selber in die Hand – und helfen mit der Plattform Pop X Designern aus Afrika eigene Kreationen zu vertreiben. Joan und Doreen haben uns per Mail berichtet, was sie zu ihren Designs inspiriert und wie es zu der Gründung von Pop Caven kam.
How did you come up with the idea for Pop Caven?
Pop Caven was created out of a need to share our story with the world. We have been living out of Nigeria for a while now and we noticed that there was a singular narrative for the African in the Western world. We wanted to share our own story, a story that defined Africa in a better light than is usually portrayed in the media. The story would tell of our experience as Africans who grew up in Lagos, exposed to different cultures from the West, and who eventually even lived in the West. Our designs merge both cultures so it is familiar to our audience abroad, as well as in Africa.
Why did you feel there was a need for it? We felt there was a need because there is so much creativity in Africa that should be shared with the world. Our designs celebrate Africa, but it is also designed with western, retro and cultural influences. We introduce our world to you with the mixture of influences, to normalize our story and to open up more opportunities for African creatives.
Could you tell us about the inspiration that stems from your personal background, especially from your father?
We grew up in Lagos, Nigeria, our dad was really big on movies and music despite being an Electrical Engineer. He was the first person on his street to own a VCR and all the neighbours would gather around in his living room to watch movies. When we were kids, he would turn our living room into a disco party, complete with disco lights and a disco ball and have dance parties and we would spin around the room listening to Highlife Music and the Bee Gees. In the evenings, he always had a movie lined up for us to watch. He had all the latest music and movie systems. We grew up watching classic movies like Gone with wind, The Sound of Music, Casablanca, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and once we grew older, he would let us pick what we wanted to watch from the “The movie guy”. The movie guy was this dude who came around with a box of movies in VCR and Laserdisc, of classic and recent movies. Growing up in Lagos at the time, there were no movie theatres, so to watch a new movie, you would need to go to the videoclub or my dad’s movie guy. And so just like my dad, we always had the most recent release of movies, and our friends would gather in our living room to watch with us.
The same was with music, he had such an extensive collection of music that we are well versed in Disco music, 80s Hits, and 90s Bops, he also introduced us to classic Nigerian albums, from Fela, to Sunny Ade to Victor Uwaifo. We still have these albums in rotation on our spotify account. We dedicated a playlist to it. Everytime my dad visits us here in America, he still asks for new movies to add to his extensive collection. We are always happy to oblige because he introduced us to so many new worlds when we were just two little girls with big dreams living in Nigeria…
What are your personal influences for creating the motives of your tees?
We have always loved fashion and growing up in Lagos in the 90s, you had to have the latest clothing, the latest shows, backpacks, sneakers, jeans. We were always on top of our fashion game, making sure that we had the best outfits in time for the parties on the weekend. We always loved graphic tees and we would constantly hunt for distinct tees that no one else would have, we grew up in an affluent community, so going to the local market to look for clothes was not supposed to be cool haha. But we didn’t care, we would go and look anyway and search and search till we found really cool, really original pieces – and then stunt on our friends. Also when we would travel abroad as kids, we would scour thrift stores and flea markets for 80s graphic tees, we always loved the retro pop prints on them. When we moved to the US as teenagers, we continued collecting cool ass graphic tees, until we just decided, why not start making ours? We are both artists who are heavily inspired by music, movies and art globally, and so we combined that with our love for fashion and started designing cool graphic prints that would represent who we were are, and who are lot of immigrants, not only just from Africa, but from every other country are.
What is the Pop X platform?
The Pop X platform is one of our best services we provide, we are so excited about it. We are happy to serve as an incubator for African creatives and provide a solution to growing their brands. We created this platform first to provide support to talented African graphic artists who reside in Africa. We currently have artists from all over Africa, from Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana to Kenya and the list is still growing. Our artists have amazing work but have no medium to showcase it, or sell it outside of their countries. They are super original and each one has a different story to tell through their art, their upbringing, what they think about – it is a snapshot into a different world and a different mind. They create, and we produce and ship. Supporting the Pop X artists, means supporting local Artisans in Africa, it inspires and encourages their continued creativity. It is our hope that as we keep growing our company, these artists get the recognition and financial support they need to never give up creating. Pop X also partners with other African creatives, we will be releasing a Pop X collection with a notable Nigerian Afrobeats musician, which we are really excited by. This platform is just a means for African creatives, and as we grow, creatives from every part of the world to share their stories through graphic tees.
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