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The young and aspiring kids brand WAWA has already attracted our attention at the CIFF Copenhagen. Plain designs produced in a sustainable manner, organic kids clothes with natural colors and prints. Somehow super stylish but completely normal and natural at the same time. A style that we would were ourselves and that is also enjoyed by our kids.

We are happy to introduce Johanna to you, designer and founder of WAWA. Find out in our interview which of Johanna’s 90s accessories became her trademark and how the Swedish movie director Ingmar Bergman influenced her latest collection.

pepe and nika interview with founder johanna topooco from wawa copenhagen organic kids clothesJohanna Topooco © WAWA

Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from and with whom and how do you live? What is special about you? How would you describe yourself in a couple of sentences?

Today I live in Denmark, but I was born in Sweden and grew up with my mother and her 300 skeletons. She’s an archeologist and besides from a lot of love she gave me a scientific approach to the world. My father lived not far from us but with a totally different view on life. He’s a Bolivian Indian, a dreamer and making his living as an artist by painting tableaux from his home region.

As you can imagine I’m a mix of both my mother and father and affected with both ways of living and thinking. On the one hand, I have a lot of ideas, dreams and creative thoughts like my father, and on the other hand I have the more pragmatic or realistic approach to everything.

I definitely think that is why sustainability also play such a great role in my everyday life. You have to be a dreamer and front runner to believe that what you do can make a difference. Whether it is sorting your garbage, buy organic food or treat your children that material things do have a value and you better take care of them.

Sharing the great interest of traveling with my husband, we try to bring our children Valter and George to unspoiled places around the world, to both see the beauty and to get inspired by different ways of living. It is so important for us to show that pleasure can find in the simplest things.

pepe and nika interview with founder johanna topooco from wawa copenhagen organic kids clothesJohanna at her workspace © WAWA – brand for organic kids clothes

What was your favorite item of clothing as a child? Did you own something that was particularly special to you or that you connect with a story?

I definitely remember my hair elastics. I didn’t only wear them in my hair but also around my ankles and my wrists. I have photos from one of me and my mom’s travels to Africa when I was five years old and where I were hair elastics on both wrists. As I remember it I had them with me all the time and they became ‘my personal detail’ in a very young age.

pepe and nika interview with founder johanna topooco from wawa copenhagen organic kids clothesThere ist nothing like hair elastics on both wrists © WAWA

How did you get the idea to make fashion for kids? What did you before founding WAWA?

When we had our first son Valter almost six years ago it was easy to find sustainably made clothes for him as a baby, but as he grew older it became more difficult. I couldn’t find clothes that were both beautiful, cool and organic and as I was working with fashion and sustainability at Danish Fashion Institute I thought ‘why not try and make it myself. I had always loved to draw and paint like my father.

pepe and nika interview with founder johanna topooco from wawa copenhagen organic kids clothesCoffee and sketches © WAWA

What does WAWA mean and how did you find the name of the label?

WAWA means ‘child’ in Aymara which is the language spoken by the Aymara Indians I Peru and Bolivia. At the same time, it is also a part of me as my middle-name is Warawara Wawa which means ‘Star child’. In that way WAWA is more than just a brand its part of my identity.

How would you describe the style of WAWA and what is unique about your label?

WAWA is simple and natural design. I often say that it’s more stylish than childish and more raw then romantic. WAWA is for all children and the look is very much inspired from my Nordic surroundings and by children’s eye for small details. I think WAWA supply the market with some cleanness without being romantic or boring. We worship the simple look together with good quality and that’s I believe makes us unique and perfect for the curated wardrobe.

pepe and nika interview with founder johanna topooco from wawa copenhagen organic kids clothesDanish brand – organic kids clothes made from finest cotton © WAWA

Where are the materials from and where do you manufacture?

We manufacture in Turkey and India in GOTS certified factories, and our products contain of minimum 95% organic cotton. Sustainable production is a basic condition for WAWA. We are at all time interested in new and more sustainable materials and production techniques, and we therefore hope to add more sustainable materials to our future collections. If we can make beautiful and comfortable styles with respect to people and with as low environmental impact as possible, I’ll be very happy.

What do you like the most about making fashion for kids?

My WAWA team and I love offering more sustainable products for the new generation. We think the children deserve we use our knowledge to create something that is as modern as they are, so that they can shine all day long.

pepe and nika interview with founder johanna topooco from wawa copenhagen organic kids clothesAt work while wearing her ‘personal detail’ © WAWA

Where do you get the ideas and inspiration for your collections from? What your will AW 17/18 collection be about?

Most often I get inspired by people I see in the streets. I often stop and ask from where they have got their particularly item, and if I can take a picture, and very often I just absorb the whole look. The AW17 collection is inspired by the atmosphere and my memories from the little Swedish island called Fårö. Here I spend two important weeks every summer with my whole family. The island is also the place where the Swedish film director Ingmar Bergman settled after he had recorded a movie there. The AW.17 collection is a mix of my summer memories together with Ingmar Bergman’s love for tranquility.  With other words the styles are uncomplicated and easy worn, designs with room for your child’s unique details, whether it might be the freckles, tooth gaps or the curious eyes.

pepe and nika interview with founder johanna topooco from wawa copenhagen organic kids clothesDesign thinking process © WAWA – brand for organic kids clothes

What other kids label do you admire (next to your own of course)?

There are lots of other kids labels that makes specific items that I love! However, I’m not so much for one brand from top to toe. And I definitely admire brands for different things, whether it is the quirky design, quality or because of the brands focus on sustainability business. Mini Rodini is therefore, in my eyes, an important front runner.

Where do you see yourself and your label in three years from now?

I hope WAWA is represented in stores all around the world and that we are a natural part of the children’s wardrobes. I’m so proud that we are already represented in 10 countries from Japan to the US and Europe and I really love all the shops that represents us. But we have to expand to make WAWA viable and my dream is that in three years WAWA has a regular and dedicated customer base around the world.

pepe and nika interview with founder johanna topooco from wawa copenhagen organic kids clothesHappy Johanna © WAWA – brand for organic kids clothes

Please finish the sentence: “Children are great because….”

…they are real. Their filter free way of seeing, listening and… express themselves… is a great inspiration.

Thank you very much Johanna for joining our interview. Thank you for the short flashback to the 1990s (we were also fans of the soft ribbons decorating our wrists) and of course for the Amazon children’s fashion of WAWA and their exemplary contribution to the environment and mankind by making beautiful organic kids clothes!

Organic kids clothes á la Bergman. Take a first look at WAWA’s autumn/winter collection 2017 here:

pepe and nika interview with founder johanna topooco from wawa copenhagen organic kids clothes sneak preview 2017Sneak preview AW17 © WAWA

pepe and nika interview with founder johanna topooco from wawa copenhagen organic kids clothes sneak preview 2017Sneak preview AW17 © WAWA

pepe and nika interview with founder johanna topooco from wawa copenhagen organic kids clothes sneak preview 2017Sneak preview AW17 © WAWA

 

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Nadja Fleischer

About Nadja Fleischer

Nadja (35) is a real Berliner, but absolutely no local patriot. She is the second half of Pepe & Nika and lives together with her son Pepe (4) in a 2-room apartment in children-friendly Prenzlauer Berg.

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