Wednesday, September 24, 2014



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 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 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”.
This is the full list of Africans who made the cut:

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)

Lupita Nyong’o

Omoyemi Akerele, MD: Stylehouse Files

Sydney Toledano, CE: Christian Dior

Azzedine Alaïa, Designer
Jean Touitou, Founder of APC

Edward Enninful, W Magazine Fashion & Style Director

Liya Kebede, Model & Businesswoman

Susan Sabet, Publisher 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


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


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


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


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


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. 


Thursday, August 7, 2014


Busisiwe wakes up in the wee hours everyday to catch the bus to town where she works as a domestic. These are the rules: she’s gotta be at the Smiths at 6am, wake the kids up and get them ready for school. She must pack their lunch tins and make sure that by the time Mrs. Smith is ready to jump in the car and take them kids to school, the kids are ready. On her first day at work, about a decade ago, Busisiwe was handed a uniform: blue tunic, black shoes. She has to tie her hair in a doek. Nobody wants her lice up in their shit. Go on cover that shit up, Busi.
Busi is uneducated. She dropped out of school while she was in Sub A because her father had died and her mother needed help in the home. As she grew older and had her own kids, helping out in the home was no longer enough. She too had to go and find a job and what else can she do except find a family in the ‘burbs to work for as a domestic?
The Smith kids find it funny that Busi’s ass protrudes through her blue tunic and why the hell does she have black skin like that? Her hair looks like that steel wool she uses to scrape the pots. It’s all just ugly!
Busi can’t discipline the Smith kids. Even when they make fun of her protruding ass and the fact that she can’t read she has to smile, keep her mouth shut and carry on with her work. Part of her job is to keep little Johny and Amy happy. If they want to laugh, she must act like the clown that she is to them and play along.
Busi hates the fact that she has to wear this stupid uniform and the fact that sometimes, when she is busy cleaning Johny wants to ride on her back and play cowboy while she plays the horse.
Even though she might want to protest: “Ndiyaqhelwa apha!” Busi knows that the madam will be on hand to reprimand her for not letting the kids be kids, even if it is at the cost of her dignity.
Busi is a peculiarity for little Johny and she provides much comic relief with her reactions whenever she sees something shocking on the TV, she makes this funny “Yhuuu” sound.

That Busi is goddamned funny. She’s a peculiarity. She’s not like mother Smith with her pretty hair that blows in the wind, her nicely toned body, pretty clothes, fair skin and that smell of expensive perfume. 
Busi, too, would love to be pretty and sometimes, as she cleans up after Mrs Smith, packing away the madam’s beauty kit and stuff Busi will look at herself in the mirror and take that doek off. She'd comb her hair and admire it’s kinky beauty. She will smear on Mrs Smith’s red lipstick and even put on the madam’s mascara. She’s even toyed with the idea of putting on one of Mrs Smith’s pretty cocktail dresses just to see how it would sit on her. But Busi knows her place and how dare she want to equate herself to Mrs Smith! She can never be as pretty. Not with that protruding ass. Not with that kinky afro, not with her thick ass lips and round nose fit to make her a hesitant clown.
She is so funny, she makes an excellent Halloween costume. Oh, wait! Let’s just have a party where we can all dress up as Busi. I bet it could be hilarious. 

Let’s see who can make the best impression of Busi. Don’t be shy. She really doesn’t mind it. Busi has long come to terms with the fact that she’s not beautiful, her big bum is funny and her face is ugly. We’re only just making fun of her and her unfortunate situation. If she takes offence, well, you know, she simply lacks a sense of humour.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


Re-imagined Amish headgear at Loin, Cloth & Ashes

It's always exciting to see young people coming into the fashion scene and shaking things up a little bit. That's what I think happened at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Cape Town this past weekend. The younger designers, for me, did much better than a lot of the established names, who are quite frankly just wasting everyone's time with their same ol', same ol'. Get a stall at Neighbourgoods or something, just don't come to fashion week to show us what you showed us last year and the year before and the year before that and the season before that and... you get the idea. 

Loin Cloth & Ashes
Anisa Mpungwe of Loin Cloth & Ashes is not so emerging anymore but one can't help putting her on this list because if it is going to be called Fashion's Fountain of Youth, her work fits the description perfectly because youth is what her collections inject into the often very tired scenes that one often has to endure day-in and day-out as fashion week rolls out. Everyone knows: LCA always brings it and this year was no different! Her Afro-Amish collection brought together the simplicity of the Amish dress code with the diversity of urban African youth culture giving a fresh spin to flirty summer dressing and switching up the print game we've come to know as her signature.

Nicholas Coutts 
I was most impressed with Nicholas Coutts fashion week debut where the ELLE Rising Star winner came out guns blazing with bold colours, structure and beautiful textures. His collection stood out the most out of all the AFI Next Generation designers, in my opinion, even though- I have to say- the rest also stood their ground. I think the standard in this emerging talent segment keeps on rising and that's exactly what one wants to see. If I may add, I think it is great that Ernest Mahomane, who was part of the New Generation line-up, was retained after showcasing last year because I think the more we get familiar with the younger designers and not rush through them like we are on some sort of assembly line, the better. It's best for the industry if we get more familiar with the emerging designers while gradually introducing new designers instead of replacing the entire group every single year. What that has shown us in the past is that people generally fall away into obscurity in the sea of other little known designers. How's a bitch meant to breath when he be out here getting choked up?
Of course these designers are not perfect (show me anyone who is emerging whose collection is entirely perfect) but they definitely show great promise and that is worth applauding!

Lara Klawikowski
I also liked Lara Klawikowski as I usually do. I love her in-tucking technique and how she used fabric to reflect the concept of a flower growing in ice, the theme she told me she was exploring with this particular collection.  
Speaking of the fountain of youth and in spite of the fact that she is no longer a youth, I think Marianne Fassler's collection was one of the most fun to watch. It was easy, full of optimism and was one hundred percent the best way to open this fashion week. The clever clashing of prints and the Afro-urban aesthetic, as I told the designer after the show, reminded me of Durban. 

Marianne Fassler
It seems I wasn't too far off the mark because she said it was a lot about taking this Afro-urban aesthetic to the beach. I just had to mention that in this post even though it is about the younger people I think the spirit of Fassler's collection warrants a mention!

Images: Simon Deiner/SDR photo