Welcome to Wes Africa: A new fashion campaign with a touch of nostalgia

Online fashion store Superbalist presents a Wes Anderson-inspired cinematic winter campaign shot in Dakar, Senegal. We'd like to share it with you.

This atmostpheric winter campaign was created by a top team of South African creatives in Senegal's capital, Dakar. Inspired by the films of Wes Anderson, the campaign uses the city's historic train station as its set. With photography by Rudi Geyser, style by Tammy Tinker and video by Pete Verster-Cohen. Read their first-hand accounts from the trip, as published on Superbalist, below. 

Tammy Tinker, style director

Dakar, what a city! The people are beautiful, the food is amazing, the culture is incredible and beer costs less than water. After googling “train station” we decided that the one in Dakar was the most beautiful and came up with an idea of a train trip through Africa type story. Also, Dakar is coming up more and more as Africa’s fashion capital and we thought that there’s no better place to do our biggest fashion campaign ever. Now often a concept never materializes or reaches its full potential, the weather can change or a model might arrive not looking like they did at the casting, but luck was on our side and there was definitely a Senegalese guardian angel watching over us. Although I was slightly more stressed out than I like to be, everything was perfect.

Rudi Geyser, photographer

Dakar in 72 hours was intense, but I’m so grateful that I got to shoot it. Obviously there was a lot to do in such a short period of time, and as soon as we got off the plane we went walkabout. We were super happy with our first location, the train station, and then went to look at some hotel options, and unfortunately those didn’t work out as planned... Everything in Senegal seems to have a long conversation attached to it. This can be frustrating, because you just want things to happen, but then it’s also that old way of doing business and getting to know people, which is nice. In the end we couldn’t get the hotels that we wanted to shoot at, but that was fine – Charl converted one of the rooms in the train station and we walked around with the product and got our shots elsewhere. Like the traffic, the language barrier was crazy and because the models we shot weren’t actually models, the casting was a really special moment. Even though we couldn’t communicate that well, everyone understood what they had to do, and they were super happy doing it. Dakar is quite small, and there are too many people trying to fit into a small space, with everything this dusty colour palette and a really soft light. It also boasts some of the best seafood I’ve ever eaten, with prawns as big as your face, and if I had more time I would’ve loved to have spent more time on the beach and explored the surf spots.

Pete Verster-Cohen, videographer

Senegal almost didn’t happen for me, as I was accidentally told that the shoot would happen in June when it was actually May… Normally this would be fine, but my passport was full and I needed to arrange a new one, fast! Tammy told me to get on the plane to Johannesburg and we’d reassess from there, and as luck would have it I arrived to an angel holding my new passport and a fresh Senegalese visa. I gave him a kiss, bought a flight, checked in and drank a stiff G&T. My first impression of Senegal was that it has the most beautiful patina and I think having a large city on the coast really brings a unique quality to it. I really had to think on my feet on this trip, and it was a daunting task being a one man video department trying to create a low-budget Wes Anderson film. Working with the models was probably the biggest challenge: although everyone was so sweet and keen, none spoke any English. However, after a day of charades we learned to connect through signals with each personality and quirk coming through. I think we nailed it.