I recently had the chance to catch up with Djulia, who has just launched her online site AFROLIA. I first met her more than a year ago when she was still going through the creative process. It's amazing to see how far she has now come; how her idea has turned into reality.
What is AFROLIA? It is a website through which Djulia promotes afro culture. She emphasizes that "afro" relates to Africa but not only. She includes the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean Islands because these regions share cultural traditions; more than most people know of. Her aim is to provide a new perspective on afro culture. Too often the media make us associate it with poverty and famine and the wealth that this superculture has to offer is thereby overlooked.
Inspiration - Djulia is very much interested in traditionally-inspired objects that embody the old and the modern. Although she grew up in Africa, she sees herself as a citizen of the world and has made Luxembourg her home. She wants to focus on what cultures have in common instead of what separates them and this goes even beyond afro culture. There are lots of examples that she shared with me, which even tie in European elements.
AFROLIA website - This is the platform through which Djulia promotes her message, via her blog and her online shop. The blog contains articles about products, such as textiles and jewellery, and makes us discover the history behind them. The goods that she sells encompass fashion, cosmetics and home products, such as pillow cases.
Necklaces - The exclusive necklaces that you can see Djulia wear in these photos contain antique elements that originated decades ago. They embody what AFROLIA stands for and what I mentioned earlier on: the combination of the old and the modern. The pearls and ornaments are made of glass (in Murano, then found their way into Africa as an exchange currency), bronze or bakelite. They were then reworked into unique necklaces. You can purchase them here.
Future - Djulia is going to expand the range of products that she offers through the website. She would like to include spices and more textiles (did you know that some popular fabrics used in Africa, such as Dutch wax come from The Netherlands?) and her blog will incorporate literature, art and lifestyle. The great thing about Djulia's venture is that she brings afro culture closer to us and meanwhile is on a discovery journey herself.
It was super interesting to listen to Djulia and have her share about her passion. I believe that any project that wants to open a cultural dialogue, in order to focus on what we have in common rather than what divides us, is important and exactly what the world needs now. I wish Djulia lots of success!