This week we’re saying hello to a new brand from Denmark, WAWA. Our first encounter with WAWA will feature the spring/summer collection Eye Sea. We’ve spoken with Johanna, the founder of WAWA to gain some insight. How did the brand come to be? Why is the logo an eye? How do they work with sustainability and which are Johanna’s favorites from the collection?
What was the start of WAWA?
WAWA was founded in 2016 when I as a mother wanted to find sustainable styles for my boy who was turning three years old. I wanted the styles to be as sustainable as the styles I could find for him when he was a baby and during his first years. At the same time, I wanted the design to be fresh and simplistic. I found it difficult to find the combination at that point. It was either solely organic cotton, but conventional made in regards of dyeing and printing, or the design was maked by the old way of how sustainable products are categorized, beige and wool. A lot have happened since then, and there are so many more sustainable brands today, which is so nice! However, my eye is focused on WAWA. So, inspired by the Nordic women and menswear brands I wanted to make some modern simplistic styles for children without making them look like adults.
WAWA means child and is part of my name Warawara Wawa which means star child in Ayamara – a local language spoken in Bolivia and Peru.
Looking through the eye of a child, WAWA is devoted to push boundaries for what a sustainable product is and how it looks. The eye in the neck can mean many things. Kids often joke about that they have an eye in the back and can see everything. For us, the eye is a symbol of details and curiosity. We want to create something interesting and modern and at the same time something timeless and long lasting with the respect for people and the planet.
I’m a WAWA. WAWA means child: the eyes of all future generations.
I’m not a logo lover, I thought:), now I’m just loving our own logo 🙂 But the reason why I placed it in the neck was, actually, that I didn’t want to see so much of it. However, at the same time it was important to have something that the children recognised before they were able read. And they recognize the eye.
Can you describe the moment when you felt “this is what I’m going to do”?
I’d previously worked with sustainability within the fashion industry; more specific how Danish and other Nordic brands could be front runners by approaching sustainability in a holistic way. With this experience and production internships at brands like Won Hundred I thought I knew the value I wanted to give WAWA. I’d never really worked with design and sourcing, but I was just quite clear that it’s just about asking everyone you know, and also everyone you don’t know (but get to know) and that’s how we work every day. We’re curious and always wanting to improve the WAWA.
Who’s working with WAWA?
We’re three owners in WAWA with two of us working with the operational part.
It’s me, Warawara Wawa Johanna Topooco, who more less runs everything, from designing to sourcing, distribution and administration.
Then there is Stine Erlang Sloth, the Art Director who transform everything into digital design, and my one and only buddy making things run smoothly.
Last, but not least, we have our partner Mikkel Borg Bjergsø, the king of beer, founder of the craft brewery Mikkeller and who is a crucial supportive business partner, who believed in us since we first met. Throughout the whole process he has been a huge support and has made his many contacts, places and creativity available for us.
Where do you find inspiration?
The young generation’s curiosity on life is WAWA’s greatest inspiration source in designing sustainable products.
The ongoing inspiration in creating the WAWA styles comes very much from the everyday life and tendencies. WAWA foremost wants to stay simple and be the good match to everything that’s around it. There is nothing called boyish or girlish in our creativity. The colour pallet is wide, we want to make room for all kind of colour nuances but we are also strategically following the tendencies in the women and menswear industry.
WAWA’s handmade watercolour prints have become very significant for us. We like to make them big and graphical and, in this way, we let the fantasy decide what it can be.
Describe your work with sustainability?
In WAWA, it is a fundamental choice to design long lasting products, both in terms of style and quality.
Based on a core value of creating essential garments, WAWA is committed to use modern and more sustainable production processes that recognize both its impact and responsibility to the environment, employees and the end user.
This means that everything starts at the design phase and continues the whole way through our value chain. We know that our choice of materials has a significant social and environmental impact.
In WAWA we choose sustainable materials that both enables us to prolong the lifetime of our products.
With “sustainable materials” we mean materials that are non-conventional and have a lower impact on both nature and human health than conventional materials.
More than 95% of our production is made of organic cotton, dyed and printed without using any health- or environmentally harmful chemicals.
We have decided to solely work with GOTS certified suppliers. This certification standard demands rigid environmental criteria on the entire manufacturing process of products from the raw material to the final fabric.
Who is the typical WAWA-customer?
The typical WAWA customer has an interest of design and/or sustainable products for their children. It’s also the one who wants healthier and more responsible products for their children and who pays great attention to timeless and unisex styles.
Describe your work desk to me!
Our working desk is quite corporate I would say. We have a desk at the Mikkeller head office, so our lab-dips and samples are quickly moved into boxes to make space for the beer – no, just kidding. But for being a very creative brand our workspace is very minimalistic. Two times a year, when I draw and paint the new collections, everyone at the office finds it kind of amusing, and a little bit childish watching me painting with watercolours. So most often, during this time, I bring my pencils and everything back home to my living room window. In the same window where I designed the first WAWA styles. I love to sit in the window and draw.
Which pieces are your favourites?
My favourites from the SS20 Eye Sea collection are absolutely the light pink and foam green solid coloured styles. They are so simple and fresh. The Stone and WAMA print are also two prints that will become favourites.
Describe WAWA in three words.
It’s sustainable, curious and simple!
Thank you Johanna and a warm welcome to the Babyshop family!