August 2016 we took to the streets with a new story titled Za-Kuza. A reversible jacket, in the range, sported a lining graphic that resembled a style quite familiar to the eye. The name itself seemed familiar too.
‘Za-Kuza’ is a combination of South Africa’s international code (ZA) and the name for Japan’s notorious organised crime group the Yakuza. The Yakuza are known for their distinct full body Irezumi tattoos. These tatoos are done by specialised artists who use a wooden handle and metal needles attached via a silk thread. A special ink must be used too called Nara ink.
When the ‘Za-Kuza’ graphic was created for our range, an Irezumi type of dotted technique was used and sketched by hand. No vector! When you pay careful attention you’ll notice the dots throughout.
For the final ‘Za-Kuza’ graphic – Proteas replace Lotus Flowers – Cape Cobras replace Dragons – Fish Eagles replace The Phoenix – Lion’s Head mountain symbolises Cape Town. This is South Africa twist on full body tattoos typically seen on the Yakuza of Japan.