Air Afrique's latest venture includes an exclusive partnership with Bottega Veneta, resulting in the Air Afrique magazine.
Air Afrique was once Africa’s premiere airline, servicing the Pan-African countries of Senegal, Central African Republic, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Benin, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Niger, Congo, and Chad with a goal to promote solidarity among African states through air travel. It became operational in 1961 and went out of business in 2002, but during its time it made a significant cultural impact, imbued with ideas of a unified Africa. In its time, Air Afrique provided funding for the First World Festival of Black Art in 1966, the Paris Dakar Rally in 1978, and many African-made films.
In the modern day, Air Afrique is the name of a collective of four Parisian creatives who are striving to honor the history and cultural importance of the former airline. They have made extraordinary efforts to tell the story of Air Afrique through art exhibitions, apparel launches, collaborations, and film clubs. Now, their vision is set to soar with the announcement of an exclusive partnership with Bottega Veneta, which will see the publication of Air Afrique in magazine form. In keeping with the airline’s cultural vision, Air Afrique magazine is dedicated to “African cultural heritage, cross-border creativity, and discussion.” Every issue will resurrect archival materials from the airline’s heyday, and combine them with contemporary artistic and written contributions from French, French-Caribbean, and African artists and writers.
The Air Afrique masthead includes Founder and Creative Director Lamine Diaoune, Editor-in-Chief Amandine Nada, Co-Founders Djiby Kebe and Jeremy Konko, Editors Zhedy Nuentsa and Ahmadou-Bamba Thiam and Graphic Designer Axel Pelletanche. “Our mission is to preserve this heritage, to put Air Afrique back in the cultural conversation, and to build on their example of cultural engagement,” says Founder Diaoune.
For its part, Bottega Veneta will support Air Afrique with events (like the launch event happening at Centre Pompidou in Paris today), and with the use of its brand name and platforms to help build a community of readers. Creative Director Matthieu Blazy also commissioned a limited-edition series of blankets to mark the launch of Air Afrique, which were designed by Abdel El Tayeb – a designer in the Bottega Veneta studio. El Tayeb’s Afro-futuristic vision helped land him the coveted Debut Talent prize at Fashion Trust Arabia in 2021, and he has brought that same colorful, unique design ethos to this extraordinary blanket collection.
In similar fashion to Bottega Veneta’s collaboration with The Strand in New York City or its incredible ‘The Square’ series, the luxury brand continues to set itself apart with unique, thoughtful, and most importantly, impactful partnerships that beat with a passionate heart for arts and culture.