Wednesday, October 29, 2014

WALKING THE STREETS BLOND-BRAIDED


I’ve been wearing blond braids for almost a week now and while I do love my hair I could do with a little less attention on the streets. Don’t get me wrong; it’s great to hear someone telling me how great they think it looks and, just like everyone else, I do like compliments but there are certain instances when it becomes catcalling. 
Men on the streets who presumably mistake me for a woman holler things like “hey baby”, “sweetie” and all that crappy stuff they usually say to make women feel uncomfortable walking these streets. Mostly, people pick up on the fact that I am just a boy with braids on and when they do these are some of the reactions I have very quickly learnt to expect:
-       - Laughter
-       - Whispers about what a “faggot” I am
-       - Stares (others literally stop and stare until I disappear around a corner or into a store)
-       - Offers to help me out with whatever I am carrying
-       … and, and, and…


I understand that people are most probably fascinated by the way I currently look and, like I said earlier, I do appreciate a well-meaning compliment. Being a gay man, especially having spent most of my adult life commuting through Johannesburg’s busy CBD, I am quite accustomed to having people throw insults at me for simply walking the streets. It could be my skinny jeans or even a bright coloured shirt (or a blouse, which I love wearing) and some people will feel the need to point out: “staban’”, “moffie”, etc, as if poor little me forgot that I am not straight. 
I’ve come to understand why some gay men choose to be “straight acting” and why some even choose to be strict about dating “straight acting” gay men (besides the fact that some are just bowing down to heteronormativity, at times without even realising it). 
Few of us are strong enough to withstand the constant barrage of insults (and women, I salute you!) and some choose not to associate themselves with individuals who are potential subjects of petty discrimination, I understand that. Few of us are standing up for what’s right perhaps for fear of being victimised for it ourselves. 
Imagine a world where people who know what’s right don’t keep silent when their friends catcall a woman or throw homophobic insults at gay men. Imagine a world where we didn’t have to censor ourselves out of fear of the outside world’s reaction to whatever it is we choose to wear or however we choose to present ourselves. Imagine a world where I don’t have to think about it 20 times before I walk outside to buy myself a cigarette. Imagine a world where I don’t have to actually choose between a taxi and a cab simply because sometimes I am just not in the mood to face all of those whispers, stares and giggles inside a public taxi. Imagine a world where I can just do any damn hairstyle I want and not feel like I’ve done something wrong!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

MISSSHAPE x YASMIN FURMIE


Missshape today launched its third ambassadors collaboration, this time with Yasmin Furmie. I really have no clue who Miss Furmie is but I do like what they've done here. The Missshape signature remains along with the minimalist, sporty vibe first initiated in the debut Ambassadors collection featuring Anthea Poulos, but this particular drop takes it a little further with miss Furmie's style as the foundation, of course. In case, like me, you are wondering who she is and what it is about her style that Missshape found inspiring, the media release describes her as someone with an "unusual" fashion story:
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"...from her modelling days in Sydney and LA, to her involvement in social work projects and now, as a figure who is becoming ever more present on the South African fashion scene. It is hard not to notice Furmie, she has developed her own language through a sophisticated dress-code that moves from refined street wear, to sharp menswear inspired styling and her contemporary take on the “new look”. It was this language that formed the basis of the new Ambassadors collection..." 

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Art Direction & Design  - Lex Trickket 
Photography - Vatic Studio (Brett Rubin & Nicole Van Heerden)
Styling -  Yasmin Furmie 
Make Up - Tamaryn Swartz 
Model - Adera Kachienga 
Production - Vatic Studio  (Brett Rubin & Nicole Van Heerden)

Monday, October 13, 2014

INSPIRED STYLE, INSPIRED SOUNDS


Took some inspo from Solange to put my outfit together yesterday and I must say I felt really good. If you visit her blog here the first image that appears on there is what I tried to interpret here for my skinny little self. I love that clothes make me feel good. It's my favourite thing about them, this ability to make you feel superhuman, like there's actually nothing standing in the way between yourself and greatness!
The blouse, which is totes just... cray, amay, is a vintage find. Think I got it for something silly like R20 at a store in Rosebank (not Jozi, Cape Town) and those amazing shorts are from the Studio W collection at Woolworths. I saw them once and knew I absolutely had to have them. Thank heavens I don't have gender anxiety about clothes. The pants are womenswear, but for me, naturally, there's no such thing. The entire store is an open floor for me! Thank you adidas for the Stan Smiths and, of course, Sunglass Hut for those pretty Prada shades.
Anyway. Miss Knowles is not only responsible for inspiring my totes cray, amay look but she's also responsible for my discovery of the band Chromeo. How cool are they? She features on one of their tracks titled "Lost on the Way Home". I'm totally obsessed with it and hope you will like it, too. I'm all about sharing, so here's a Soundcloud... Take a listen and tell me if this shit ain't da biznis...

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

AFRICANS SHAPING THE GLOBAL FASHION INDUSTRY, ACCORDING TO BOF.COM

THE FOUNDERS OF THE KENYAN-SOUTH AFRICAN LABEL LALESSO
ARE CONSIDERED BY BUSINESS OF FASHION AS GLOBAL
FASHION INDUSTRY SHAPERS

Lupita Nyong’o, Johann Rupert and his daughter and owner of Merchants on Long Hanneli, the Lalesso duo and Nigeria’s Omoyemi Akerele are among the 13 people of African descent who make the businessoffashion.com BOF500 list for 2014. The annual list claims to be about the “People who are Shaping the Global Fashion Industry”. In basic terms, these are the people the website believes are the global fashion industry’s most influential and these are the people they think are changing the fashion landscape.
I agree to some extent with some of their choices but I also disagree with many. To be quite honest, I don’t know how much research goes into this thing but I think the African names on this list are mostly there because of the attention they get from the global fashion media (let’s not go into the media’s coverage of Africa, that’s another new, very long blog post). The list has very little to do with people who are really the movers and shakers of the status quo.
It doesn’t take much research to find out who the chairman of Richemont (Johan Rupert) or his daughter Hanneli. Let’s not even speak about Lupita Nyong’o because… Hollywood. It does, however, take a lot more than Googling or reading your favourite blogs to find out who is making a difference in any industry; who is shifting perceptions, who is creating jobs, who are the innovators who are ACTUALLY shaping what the future will look like for the "globe" and not just America and Europe. I’m not playing anyone’s contributions down here because contribute much, they do, but I honestly feel that when it comes to this continent BusinessofFashion.com really did a lousy and pretty much lazy job of finding out what is going on. The only way that these are the only Africans who can be considered to be contributors towards the shaping of the global fashion industry is if what is happening in this continent is not regarded as part of what is rolling out in the said “global” fashion industry. The only way is if Africa is really not considered by the editors of this website as being part of the “globe”.
Anyway…
This is the full list of Africans who made the cut:

SOUTH AFRICA
Hanneli Rupert, businesswoman & owner of Merchants on Long and Okapi
Johann Rupert, chairman of Richemont
Adrian Joffe, President of Dover Street Market
Alice Heusser & Olivia Kennaway
Ian Moir, Woolworths Chief Executive (listed under SA even though he is of Australian origin)

KENYA
Lupita Nyong’o

NIGERIA
Omoyemi Akerele, MD: Stylehouse Files

MOROCCO
Sydney Toledano, CE: Christian Dior

TUNISIA
Azzedine Alaïa, Designer
Jean Touitou, Founder of APC

GHANA
Edward Enninful, W Magazine Fashion & Style Director

ETHIOPIA
Liya Kebede, Model & Businesswoman

EGYPT
Susan Sabet, Publisher 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

THE 90s THROWBACK


Crop tops, flatforms, dungarees, checks and the sporty aesthetic that has engulfed fashion over the last few seasons continues into this summer as the 90s take a stranglehold on fashion. In the streets and all over tumblr and store rails t-shirts emblazoned with logos and joggers seem to be having a huge moment. Party scenes resemble 90s hip-hop videos as if FUBU is still cashing in and TLC are still an R&B supergroup. Don’t be surprised if kids suddenly started wearing doo-rags again!
Stylist and former fashion editor Bee Diamondhead has noted the return of the 90s in fashion and says brands have been quick to embrace this with their offering.
“Rihanna released her first River Island collection last year and it was quite reminiscent of 90's R&B starlets Aaliyah, SWV, TLC and so on,” she says. “Lots of denim in dungarees and heavy two-tone baggy jeans, crop tops and the like are everywhere. We've also seen the return of the flatform and sneaker wedge with sports brands like adidas and Puma embracing that. I mean Miley Cyrus lives in her flatforms!”
“You see a lot of young girls these days in their denim cut-offs, box braids and extra long acrylic nails; all 90's trends that have made their way back.”
Sports luxe specifically, spearheaded by designers such as Alexander Wang has perhaps been the most visible indicator of just how strongly the 90s are the latest fashion obsession.
Flux Trends Senior Analyst Nicola Cooper notes that in terms of designer fashion, the trend can be traced back to 2012 and names like Alexander Wang are among the pioneering designers for what is essentially a throwback- something fashion loves indulging in.
This year it has been seen on runways with mesh, initially favoured by Isabel Marant and was the fabric of choice on catwalks from Altuzzara and again to Alexander Wang with  manufacturing details featuring exposed zips, nylon straps, d-rings and aeroplane clasp belts,” she says.
“As we know the 90’s were all about gyms, sweat tops, platform sneakers and hip hop. We are borrowing a substantial amount from the decade with the platform sneaker reemerging and prints by Jeremy Scott and Converse paying homage to cartoon icons such as The Simpsons, Mickey Mouse and South African designers such as Suzaan Heyns collaborating with Disney. Hairstyles such as the box cut paying tribute to Will Smiths ‘Fresh Prince of Bellaire’ oversized garments and limited edition sneakers being high level priority.”
Local designers are also dabbling in the 90s trend albeit with a local twist to suit the local consumer as buyer Felicity Spies notes. “We have definitely seen a renewed obsession with white this season as anyone who attended Cape Town Fashion week will attest to. White is very signature 90s,” she says. “However, there is still the signature sense of artistry, colour and playfulness in all our local designer collections. I think the 90s can sometimes take itself too seriously.”
Spies notes local brand Guillotine and their focus on bright block colour dresses and vests that can be paired with white jeans and chunky heels as an example of easy styling.
“AVANT is keeping it clean and elegant with black column dresses and white draped wrap dresses but even they could not resist introducing a juicy tangerine shade and a splash of metallic gold.”
But the trend is not limited to clothing. Piercings are the accessory of choice for cool kids from the Cape Town city bowl to the streets of Joburg.
“Young starlets are wearing chokers and getting lots of piercings,” says Diamondhead. “As much as parents hate them and they scare children away, the septum ring is everywhere. There’s also the multiple ear piercings which was huge in the 90s. I think as long as we have starlets like Zoe Kravitz, Kylie Jenner, Miley and Rihanna being so popular the trend should stick around for the next season or so.”
The nature of trends is such that other influences beyond just the runway and celebrity trickle down are at play. The 90s trend and the comfort factor that it brings with it is a reflection of this nature.
Cooper says the recession and global economic meltdown of 2008 fueled the trend towards a preference for comfort. With this preference comes the need for slightly casual dressing hence the manifestation of the sporty silhouettes.
“Post recession period with many people working from home: these individuals long for something comfortable to work in and in addition to this have the ability to represent a professional attitude should they want to attend a meeting,” says Cooper. “The combination of tradition sport silhouettes with high-end finishes and fabrics has therefore resonated soundly with this consumer typology.”
This article was originally published in the September 21, 2014 edition of the Sunday Independent LIFE...

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

STOP CALLING FKA TWIGS ALTERNATIVE R&B!!!


I’m a journalist by profession, or rather a writer- the title I prefer most- who makes a living working as a journalist. Part of what I do is about defining things and I have to say, as journalists we often fall into the trap of labelling things and more often than not I find that we reach for the easiest words just to get the job done. We call people fashion gurus when they are really just happy snappers of well clad folk on the streets or because they have a blog or they are simply gay men who know a thing or two about looking good. We call people “It girls” because we don’t know what the fuck else to say. It would be easier just to ask the person what they want to be called, really, but we’re too smart for that. Anyway…
The reason I am bringing this up is because late last year I became obsessed with the title “alternative R&B”. I was beyond taken with Miguel, Solange ran my life and the discovery of Kelela and Jhene Aiko made me an advocate for R&B’s “second coming”. Trust me, I was preaching that gospel, as many others were, I suppose. It was only later, just a few months ago, that I discovered FKA Twigs and I don’t think I’ve been as obsessed about something as I am about Miss Twigs. Her music makes me want to just lose all inhibitions and indulge in its psychedelic effect. One thing I know for sure is that her electro-infused, genre bending and somewhat pattern defying sound is NOT R&B and while it is experimental, I feel like calling it alternative R&B is a cop out. The only way that anyone can box her sound within R&B is if R&B and hip-hop is what we’ve decided people of colour are to be categorised as regardless of how they sound. There’s not much sense in that. She’s an artist with a unique sound and it’s okay if we can’t exactly box her because that in itself is an act of reducing her craft to a racial stereotype.
To my surprise, as I thought about how unfair it is that writers and critics have decided that FKA is an alternative R&B artist, a friend pointed out to me that Miss Twigs has herself rejected the label.
"I love annoying sounds, beats, clicks... I don't see anyone else doing that now. It's got loud noises in there, the structures aren't typical, it's relentless. It's like punk; fuck alternative R&B!" That’s what she’s been quoted as saying. Who are we to decided otherwise. In case you haven’t heard anything from this gem of a rock star, click on any of the videos below and then you can tell me just how R&B-ish it sounds because I most certainly can’t hear it. I'd understand if they simply capped it at saying her sound has an R&B sensibility, but that too can be a bit of a reach, I think.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

BLACK BOOK: CAPE TOWN STREETWEAR LABEL 'TRY|ANGLEZ'


One of the many things I appreciate most about living in Cape Town besides the fact that there are numerous little towns and farms one can drive out to randomly to get away from city life is that there's a creative energy I feel permeating in the air and young people of all races are behind it. I know we always say that things are happening in Joburg, but you'd have to be completely out of touch with what is going on in the streets to not know about the creative pot that is cooking out here in Cape Town. It is a world unaffected by the glitz and glam (and VUZU coveting) that one sees in Joburg, it's just young people trying to find a space to not only express themselves, but to create employment, too, which is always great!
Try|Anglez is a streetwear label four friends of mine are working to establish and they have a line of t-shirts, sweaters and jackets they've been selling at markets and other spaces available to them in the Mother City. In the picture above, I am wearing a t-shirt from their range. Not only do I love it, but the compliments were not hard to come by when I was wearing it the other day!
Get in touch with them via Facebook should you be interested in seeing more:


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

SEA, SAND AND LIFE...


It’s the second day of spring 2014 and this morning a package from Bombay Sapphire arrived at my door. I don’t think I have to explain what is in the package because duh! I’ve promised myself that I will be cutting down on alcohol at least until summer begins just so I can focus on having a nicely toned body come time to hit the beach, which is a promise I plan to keep. Unfortunately for me, the weather in Cape Town right now is very much beach weather anyway (rolling my eyes), which is unusual at this time of the year for CT, right? It’s so blazing hot outside, I really feel like a little sea, sand and Bombay Sapphire. Buuuut anyway… This is just me saying “word up” because my posts have been quite scarce lately. Between work and life I just often find myself sans energy for anything else but hopefully, with a new routine I am trying to follow- which includes a lot of exercise and healthy eating- I will once again be the blogging machine I once was. You may have noticed that my posts, lately, while there’s still much about fashion, there’s a lot more about my views on life and social issues like race and gender equality. Well, that’s because when I started this blog a few years ago I was not in my late mid-to-late 20s (I’m 27, if you really wanna know), but as I grow older there is a lot more that matters to me and so I share. Anyway, as I said, just a post to say “hello, sup, howdie”!

Monday, August 25, 2014

#DURBANFASHIONFAIR JUMPSUIT CENTRAL

DESIGNER: ALFALFA MLAMBO 
It was Jumpsuits galore at the 2014 Durban Fashion Fair which wrapped on Sunday at the city's International Convention Centre. From the established to emerging designers, jumpsuits quite clearly became one of the most popular items on the Durban runway as I observed from the front rows of the Fair, now in its third year. 

DESIGNER: KWEZI NKOMO
DESIGNER: NOKWANDA NGCOBO
DESIGNER: SIBONISO ZONDI
DESIGNER: SIBU MSIMANG
DESIGNER: SIBU MSIMANG
DESIGNER: YOLANDI WESSELS 
DESIGNER: ZARTH