To the Moon and Back

Taking her Ivory Coast roots and Beirut home as starting points, the designer behind fashion line, Super Yaya is taking African style into uncharted territory.

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Beydoun takes all the photos for her instagram—@superyaya100, a take on her line's slogan, 100% Africosmic. The slogan draws from her Space Age influences and the exaggeration in West African ad copy. Photograph courtesy of Beydoun's Instagram account, @superyaya100.
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Motocross, futurism, the African pop star Meiway, modernist architecture, jazz, space, the Virgin Mary—these are just a few of the things that inspire fashion designer Rym Beydoun. The designer was born and raised in Ivory Coast in West Africa, and the country permeates her line Super Yaya. Using almost exclusively West African textiles, the designer works off the principles of African style: "There is no fashion for clothing," explains Beydoun, "there is only fashion for cloth." In other words, African fashion is traditionally all about the print, not the cut.

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Returning home after completing her degree at London's esteemed Central Saint Martins in 2013, Beydoun began making clothing from these striking West African fabrics. After receiving a lot of compliments on her pieces, the designer, now based in Beirut, Lebanon, created an online marketplace, making her pieces available worldwide. And so, Super Yaya was born.

Surrealist locations, which Beydoun scouts herself around the Ivory Coast, add another layer to her futuristic aesthetic. Photograph courtesy of Beydoun's Instagram account, @superyaya100.

"I see Africa—more than anywhere else—in a very modernist way, and I really needed to portray that," says Beydoun, who photographs most of the collections herself. "That is why you always see African modernist architecture in my visuals—spaces you wouldn't expect to see in the Ivory Coast." The hard-edged, concrete architecture that defines the '60s modernist era does indeed make a fitting backdrop for her square-cut necklines, mini shifts, and flare pants.

West Africa's unexpected modernist architecture complements Beydoun's designs. Photograph courtesy of Beydoun's Instagram account, @superyaya100.

Beydoun hopes to expand her line beyond clothing. Though her site only launched three months ago, she already has a line of bed sheets in the works and is planning to expand into knits, footwear, and handbags. Likening the project to the cult skate brand Supreme, Beydoun sees Super Yaya more as a lifestyle brand or concept shop than a high-end fashion house. She also hopes to weave in her experience in the sport of motocross; the biker look, helmet and all, has that futuristic vibe she is after.

One example of the eye-catching West African patterns that inspired the creation of Super Yaya. Photograph courtesy of Beydoun's Instagram account, @superyaya100.

But Beydoun doesn't want to get ahead of herself: "It's so new—these are all just ideas," she says explaining that, for now, she wants to focus on the clothing. One thing's for sure, though: we'll be keeping our eye on where Super Yaya is headed next.

For more from Super Yaya, visit super-yaya.com

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