Sun broke over the South African desert as photojournalist Steve McCurry scouted locations. A man from a local village trailed behind the photographer, as another local woman and McCurry’s team followed in their footsteps. At first, the group appeared slightly out of place amidst freely roaming giraffes, gazelles, ostriches and zebras, but as the sun rose higher, they found their niche within the Savanna.
McCurry–whose Afghan Girl portrait is one of the most iconic images of recent decades–photographed the man and woman with his established portrait techniques, but rather than a personal project, the shoot was a collaboration with eyewear brand Etnia Barcelona. Together, Etnia Barcelona and McCurry launched the brand’s latest campaign and collection: Wild in Africa. “My approach is photographing the world as it is, people engaged in their lives” McCurry said. “This is an extension of my personal work. We just asked the man to put on a pair of sunglasses.”
Etnia Barcelona’s spring and summer 2014 collection draws heavily from various African cultures and landscapes, featuring five bold patterns reminiscent of zebra, cheetah, and giraffe-print as well as the textures and appearances of tree bark and horn. The frames are produced in three different shapes, while multiple hues are available for the lenses. Look out for our personal favorite, which is a vibrant blue that reminds us of the Majorelle Blue found at the Majorelle Garden in Morocco. “Steve, for us, was the best one to portray it,” Etnia Barcelona CEO David Pellicer said. “He was the best with the color and has a lot of experience with other cultures.”
In addition to partnering with McCurry, Etnia Barcelona also brought in Ndaba Mandela, Nelson Mandela’s grandson, and the organization he co-founded, the Africa Rising Foundation. A percentage of global sales will be donated to Africa Rising, which aims to promote a positive image of Africa around the world by engaging African youth worldwide who are dedicated to their continent. “We want people to know and understand that Africa is not just a poor continent. It’s a continent where people care about fashion as well,” Mandela said.