Monday, December 7, 2009

Where Lacroix went wrong others must learn and do right.

    "Although Lacroix was adored by fashion editors and celebrity A-list customers for his extravagant, fairytale clothes, couture is notorius for loss-making activity" says an article in The Telegraph UK. The article goes on to say that those who do indulge in it need to have a "solid backing of ready-to-wear lines and more importantly, accessories and perfumes that the general public can afford."
    It all just makes good business sense. I know that some of us, as I've pointed out before, are sad to see the fall of the great Lacroix but in mourning the end of Lacroix as we know it it is important that this serves as a lesson for other fashion designers. South African designers, specifically, could learn lots from what I think should become a case study in all respectable fashion education institutions in our country and across the world; art is seldom easy to make a living out of.
    I find that with many local designers, a hyped name seems to define success but of what use is it when all that recognition does not translate to cash in the till at the end of the day? What use is it to have celebrities don your creations if the general public, which are- whether or not one is willing to accept- the real consumers of fashion, cannot access the brand due to astronomical prices and an exclusivity that only becomes the source of a brand's downfall?
    I've mentioned this before and I'm glad that today an icon such as Christian Lacroix has become a victim of something that could have been avoided and, on the bright side, will now serve as a lesson for those who look(ed) up to him.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Burberry's Art of the Trench

Dressing up in winter is probably the easiest thing known to man. Okay, that’s a hyperbole but I’m sure you know what I mean. You could be in a pair of jeans and t-shirt, which is not too chic, but then when you throw a scarf around your neck and drape yourself in a gorgeous trench; voila!!! You smart, dresser, you!
I love trenches. Their ability to transform the dullest of outfits is just amazing. Even the least stylish beings can seem like uber-fashionistas in trenches.
It is to my delight then that Burberry launches ‘The Art of the Trench’, a site where people can post pics of themselves in trenches. The website gives one a peak into how people across the globe style themselves in the trench. I think it’s rather awesome.
It is to my disappointment, however, that in my part of the world summer has set in and my trench coats are in hibernation. Oh, well, guess the kid in Ireland is also yearning to be in shorts and slops like me…

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Signs of economic recovery saves jobs at Prada

An unexpected ten percent surplus in orders has led Prada to shortening lay-off periods on some staff members as the company sees signs of recovery from a crippling global economic downturn, reports Reuters.
"The company is extremely pleased to identify the first signs of the market's recovery that allow it to schedule a speedy return to full production," said Miuccu Prada's Italian based fashion house in a statement.
Workers reportedly began returning to work on Monday after a lay-off that was expected to last at least six weeks. Consequently the period has been shortened by three weeks.
Versace, on the contrary, is reportedly expecting to report a loss as the economic crisis continues to bite.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

South African "Running In Heels"?

MNet and Fair Lady Magazine are hooking up for a reality TV show that will see six contestants battle it out for a style apprenticeship at Fair Lady South Africa. The six contestants, who- according to reports- will be handpicked by Fair Lady editor Suzy Brokensha, will be housed in a stylish Cape Town apartment for the duration of the show which will be broadcast on the Series Channel from March next year.
Entries open 9th November on the Fair Lady website

I see South Africans running in heels...

Monday, October 26, 2009

When the Web Breaks Tradition

Imagine this; editor-in-chief at Vogue Anna Wintour sits in her presumably posh New York office at Conde Nast HQ. Her assistant, whoever that may be, sits at the edge of the fashion ruler’s chair, handing Ms. Wintour one Kleenex after another. Anna’s make-up is smudged and her nose is red after all the blowing. You’ve probably gathered that she’s in tears.
“How could they do this to me,” cries a livid Anna, “They are nothing but petty wannabes. How can they let them encroach on my crown like this?”
Okay, maybe this is an unlikely scene, but an encroachment on that crown is what we’re currently seeing as a new breed of fashion aficionados are being officially ushered into the exclusive club of world fashion elites.
Bloggers- the click and post, seemingly insignificant creatures who load the web with seemingly insignificant information- were, at the recent collections at New York, London, Paris and Milan fashion weeks, invited by designers to sit side-by-side with the likes of Suzy Menkes and Anna Wintour on the coveted front row. If this isn’t a confirmation of elite club membership, then what is?
The presence of these cyberspace fashionistas on the front rows of some of the world’s most respected fashion events is due to an increasing perception that a shift in power and influence is becoming evident in the world of fashion and the statistics do confirm such a notion.
The Telegraph UK recently reported that, a blog that began as one London College of Fashion student Gemma Cartwright’s labour of love, bags more online hits per day than Vogue’s website.
Manila’s 22 year-old blogger Bryanboy’s diary like blog not only landed him a string of invitations (that he was more than happy to share by posting pictures of those invites on his blog) to some of the world’s most popular fashion shows but also got him a Marc Jacobs bag named after him.
Scott Schuman’s photo gallery like blog,, earned him a spot on TIME Magazine’s list of the most influential individuals in the design industry.
The power shift is not only symbolic of the democratisation of the fashion media landscape due to the web, but clearly exhibits its increasing dominance over traditional media platforms.
US fashion house Halston, for instance, opted for a video blog to launch its fall/winter 2009 line instead of putting together a fashion show. When the recession ploughed its claws into Mother Earth’s womb the head-honchos at the US’s Nylon Magazine made a decision to can the print version in favour of an electronic one. Subscribers were told that they wouldn’t be receiving their copies in the mail anymore, but rather via email.
What is also changing is the model’s chokehold on being the canvas on which designers display their creations and their dominance of magazine fashion spreads as bloggers like Scott Schuman and Yvan Rodic of prefer taking pictures of average stylish folk on the streets. The popularity of their blogs signals the audience’s preference for “normalcy” rather than the photo-shopped, fantasy-fuelled world of the magazine fashion spread.
The instant nature of the web, which allows news to travel at unprecedented speeds, will further render traditional media a secondary source of news. Why wait for Saturday’s edition of The Showbizz Report, a three months late edition of your favourite glossy or even tomorrow morning’s newspaper to read about tonight’s news when a simple click can deliver it almost instantly?
Anna Wintour herself is realising the web’s insurmountable and undeniable power albeit via Twitter’s micro-blogging platform. That is if her twittering during the recent fashion week season is anything to go by.

Friday, October 23, 2009

"The State We're In" between covers

The economic downturn has fostered many changes in the way we live. It has sparked a revolution, changing our way of life fundamentally. Technology has provided the tools for change and through new media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter we have seen the occurence of social changes and industrial revolutions; one I can think of on the top of my head is how the consumer magazine market is having to adapt to the rise of web based blogazines that are increasingly becoming the prefered source of lifestyle news for many consumers. Traditional print publications have had to close down as a result, just like many businesses have had to pack up shop as a result of the greatest global recession since the Great Depression.
There are many other changes that we've seen in the past year and the 2010 Flux Trends Review book "The State We're In" investigates these through contributions from some of South Africa's most recognisable and respected voices. Get yourself a copy of this compilation of intelligent observations and understand the state we are in as the human race. Available at all good bookstores.
Visit for more information and other interesting trend observations

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Put Your Hands in the Air for the GQ Man of the Year!

Okay, so I borrowed some lyrics from rapper NAS, but this is, ladies and gents.... GQ SA's Best Dressed Man of the Year 2009. Meet Cape Town entrepreneur Jon-Paul Bolus.
Check out the November issue of GQ to see the rest of the top 40.
(pic: courtesy GQ Magazine)

The T-Shirt: More than Just a Piece of Cloth

As summer draws ever so close there is one garment that we are bound to see more and more of, in various colours and diverse patterns. It’s not that this item disappears in the colder seasons, it serves rather as an undergarment, but in summer the t-shirt becomes apparent on almost everyone’s back, covering the torso, revealing a larger portion of our upper body limbs.
The t-shirt is probably the most underrated of all fashion items, yet its power is evident on wardrobes the world over. And this little guy is no softy, he’s been around for ages, playing his part in political activism whenever called upon to do so and being the force behind many brands through what has become known as the human billboard. Yes, the t-shirt also plays a role in advertising.
In recent years the street fashion culture in South Africa has become well acquainted with the decoration of t-shirts, creating brands such as AmaKip Kip which, just by keeping eyes peeled, one realises is probably one of the most powerful brands in South African fashion’s recent history. Whether or not the head-honchos at AmaKip Kip are willing to exploit this, the t-shirt did provide a good foundation for them to build an exceptionally influential brand.
Model Agyness Deyn’s chum, Henry Holland, did just that using the t-shirt for its most powerful known function- self expression- yielding results beyond what he even probably imagined.
House of Holland, his t-shirt brand, has earned him recognition and success for the bold, multi-coloured, 80’s inspired tee designs that incorporate fashion-insider wordplay printed on the front. The most popular of his tees features a boldly printed ‘I’ll Show you who’s boss Kate Moss’. The wit is impeccable.
Holland has even earned himself a deal with Levi’s Strauss, designing tees for the popular denim brand.
And the t-shirt’s history of activism within and beyond fashion is well known. The hippie movement has been known for using the t-shirt in self expression. ‘Make Love Not War’, probably comes to mind as the most popular slogan ever printed on a tee. Tie and dye- can anyone say treehugger?
When it began, South African fashion label Stoned Cherrie, became known for their t-shirts embossed with iconic Steve Biko and vintage Drum Magazine cover imprints. The label went on to become one of the biggest brands in South African fashion and for many those tees remain symbolic of the brand.
So, the next time you adorn that t-shirt- which in this summery weather will probably be as soon as tomorrow- maybe for the comfort it provides you, do acknowledge that it is not just a button-less, collarless and pocket-less piece of cloth with short sleeves commonly made of cotton and knitted in a jersey stitch. The t-shirt is way more than just that. Looking back at the post-Polokwane, pre-election period the African National Congress is probably well positioned to attest to the power of the tee!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Is all that's African curio?

Browsing through a blog this morning I stumbled upon pictures of a fashion spread, supposedly from TIME Magazine, called "Out of Africa". I'm sure by now you know what the look and feel of it is; it's a no-brainer. Africa theme + fashion spread= Curio!
Big, round, wooden earings. Hats made of straw, fastened with a piece of scarf-like cloth. Necklaces resembling a Zulu kraal. Bold print blazers and peacock print skirts. And at the model's feet? Is it not always sandals? It is all just exhausting.
In 2009, this is how Africa is still represented in the world of fashion; as some sort of archaic, non-evolving organism. It makes me want to puke!
Don't get me wrong, the garments look amazing, I just can't help seeing beyond the theme given to the spread though and the Grace Jones clone they used as a model... oh, wow! What can I say?
As an art form it is amazing how fashion has, after all these years, only managed to explore Africa from a very shallow perspective choosing to only see it as a place that can only inspire tribal couture. Where do they think most of the world's gold comes from? Have they not been to Johannesburg and seen how not-so-dull and wooden the colours on the streets are?
Besides, are they not getting tired of exploring the continent from one perspective. If I think of all the "Out of Africa" like fashion spreads I have seen, I could swear that all were inspired by one African tribe. South Africa alone happens to have 11 that I know of (and you thought I'm counting English people as an African tribe. No, it's just Afrikaners- they exist nowhere else in the world- and the Khoisan) and all differ from the other quite vastly, let alone the history that will teach one about the existance of such civilisations as Mapungubwe. Thanks to Stoned Cherrie and their collection shown at Sanlam SA Fashion Week earlier this year Mapungubwe was finally explored by fashion. South African designers could do well to explore our rich heritage and stop regurgitating the same old same old, year in year out. The Westerners should learn something from us, it's the only way we can escape being pigeonholed.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

French Vogue paints white models black

So, I believe there are no black models in France, are there? There are? Why, then, did French Vogue's Carine Roitfeld see it fit to paint white models black for a fashion spread? Would it have not been much simpler to just hire actual black models?
I'm not sure what informed the decision and quite frankly it's in bad taste. Read more on
(pic: page from French Vogue,

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The history of SA fashion will be distorted

One day when Vogue loses the record for the biggest fashion issue ever published to some or other title they will go down in history as the ones who set the trend and such information will be available to those who will want to write about this; on the internet, in Vogue's archives as well as in film format, thanks to the documentary "The September Isuue".
Our industry here at home will also one day be well developed, yet those who will want to credit our trendsetters will battle to do this reason being our failure to document properly the goings on in our industry.
But how does the failure to document history come about?
It begins with the failure to disseminate news, because what makes the news today is what will go down in the history books; facts that can be verified in totality. The reason why the history of South Africa's indigenous people is so terribly distorted is because the culture of documenting it only occurred through verbally told stories, descending through the generations and the trouble with verbal storytelling is that, over time, the truth tends to bend; our memories have not the capacity to serve us well enough for such to be prevented.
In the interest of informing future generations of the humble beginnings of our fashion industry- and I believe this is the responsibility of all parties involved, from the designers themselves, to the PR companies that work within the industry and also the media- we should all make sure that the correct information is detailed fully in all possible forms of archiving.
As one who reports on fashion events in this country I struggle, being a new industry entrant, to find information. Designers are, for some reason, unable to communicate wholly with the industry at large, about their brands.
PR companies either communicate information way too late and there seems to be some sort of elite society one must belong to in order to find information.
That aside, where does one go to find out how the industry operated prior to fashion week? Can anyone tell me what the progress on the city of Joburg's Fashion District plan is? Has anyone ever attempted to analyse how the industry has been affected by trends outside of fashion itself? The world is intertwined, fashion is not isolated, such analysis should be done in order to understand fashion itself.
I truly believe that all parties- PR, media, designers- in our country are failing to properly preserve the legacy of South Africa's fashion industry (I think such is also the case with most art forms, to a certain degree). It would be a shame to one day read a book- written 25 years from now- about SA fashion and find it packed with undocumented history that can neither be verified as fact or fiction.
The history of Shaka Zulu and our indigenous people at large should have taught such a lesson to us a long time ago. Why do we ignore it?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Good brands adapt to change. So will Fashion Week.

I've heard some really weird comments from people regarding Sanlam's withdrawal from SA Fashion Week, where they've been headline sponsor for four years. People are prophesying doomsday for the country's oldest fashion week (urgh, even having to call it the oldest leaves a bad taste in my mouth- the conundrum of having thousands of them in one country) and others are assessing what the fashion week gains have been for the industry.
Designers do acknowledge that fashion week has been a great marketing platform but exhibiting doesn't always produce the desired results on the business front. Like... what was fashion week supposed to do- catapult fashion labels into powerhouses?
It has always bothered me how designers in this country tend to have this silly idea that fashion week, and it alone, is enough to take care of all the required marketing of a brand.
From where I stand or as far as I understand fashion week is one, a marketing tool (yes), two- where designers exhibit their collections for the season in the hope of enticing interest from buyers and three- or at least I think this should be number three- to gauge direction and growth.
Glitz and glamour is a part of it. This shouldn't be read as a hindrance at all. I read one online comment where a reader said fashion week was more about glitz and glamour than the industry and I thought such is a comment that adds no value to the argument.
What people need to realise is that it takes a lot of hard work to establish and sustain a brand. This tendency of off loading responsibility and blaming things on fashion week is a sign of laziness and a lack of business savvy. Work and stop moaning! Think... how else does one make money in the fashion business besides trying to sell your ideas to buyers and private clients?!
With that said, Sanlam's exit from the business of fashion should not be seen as the end of the world but rather the end of an era where the industry grew in leaps and bounds. This also presents an opportunity for many companies that I am sure would like to associate their brands with that of fashion week, which Lucilla and her team have worked a great deal to turn into one that I think many of us love, to do so.
Things come and go. We should not be resistant to change. Fashion Week will not suddenly disappear, it will simply adapt to the change. That's what good brands do!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Are bloggers the new fashion elite? reported, a week or so ago, that some of bloggerville's most prominent citizens have been spotted occupying front row seats at New York fashion week, a place usually reserved for editors and prominent industry players.
Amongst the bloggers on front row were Super-Androgynous's Bryan Boy, Susie Bubble of and Rumy Neely of
This, for me, indicates a powershift in the fashion world, where top editors can no longer claim to have the sole authority of deciding what's in or out. Bloggers are quickly gaining influence. Long live the blogger!

Check some of these bloggers' blogsites

Monday, September 21, 2009

Designers lost the plot at Fashion Week

Evolution is very necessary in all aspects of life. Change- it's what keeps the world going round. Once things become stagnant we fall into a state of depression as the global economic downturn has clearly shown. Stagnant economies send us into a state of panic.

It amazes me, then, to go to a fashion show and see nothing new. Fashion is a reflection of social change, isn't it. It is an art, and like any other, a mirror displaying the character of society.

So, there I was at the Sanlam SA Fashion Week, unentertained by the lack of innovation on the part of some designers. The garments were beautiful, yes, but isn't fashion week about the shows as much as it is about the clothes?

When you leave a show without an eye catcher lingering in your mind, clearly the designer has failed to captivate and this was, for me, the case with the Loxion Kulca show. I only remember one garment from that show; pants that looked like an inverted sweater. It reminded me of a blog post I did a couple of months ago, titled "Put your legs throught the arm holes".

The show that followed Loxion Kulca- House of Ole- struck me as little more than an upgraded version of the former; the pantsula has grown up and his wardrobe is becoming a bit less playful, more mature but still lacking on the creative side.

One baffling show came in the form of RJayK, where each and every model came out to thunderous applause, as to the reason why I'm still trying to figure this one out. All I saw was glitter, very little substance and no clear direction in terms of what the collection is about. How does one just go ahead and stitch together a bunch of outfits without a clearly defined direction for the collection?

In basic terms, Friday night left me feeling sad that I'd be missing Clive Rundle the next day. The couturist never leaves room for disappointment. Rundle, at the last FW, exhibited the necessity of change with a show that told the story of evolution and from what I heard, Saturday night was indeed a highlight.

(pic: archive, courtesy African Fashion International)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Does fashion not deserve proper coverage?

I look at the New York Times and The UK Telegraph's coverage of fashion events with green eyes and envy fills me up at the thought of how well developed fashion journalism is in the US and UK.
The New York Times has a total of three regularly updated fashion blogs, with dedicated bloggers working on them and the paper's online fashion and style section is a read to die for. The same goes for the UK Telegraph; the fashion journos at these publications work hard and it shows.
I then look at The Times Live, Avusa's newly renovated online home of The Times and Sunday Times. I also look at the M&G online, South Africa's oldest online newspaper and what this year's Sanlam Fashion Journalism Award recipient Milisuthando Bongela said to me in an email interview for ifashion; "The only way the fashion industry can compete with other industries such as sports or music, is for the voices of the industry to be heard on mainstream print and broadcast media platforms," rings ever true.
How do we expect to develop an industry when the required stakeholders aren't coming to the fore? It totally baffles me how fashion week comes and goes in this country without the full support of some of the biggest news publications. That multimedia platform on The Times website should be buzzing with colourful slideshows, interviews and features around fashion week but it seems the editors of that paper couldn't be bothered.
Is politics and the stock markets all we really care about in this country?
South Africa's media industry has a lot of room to grow but the ones in the driving seat do not realise that there's a gap in the market. If they did they would be catering for the fashion loving masses in addition to the suits and hollywood gossip consumers.
Until such time that somebody up there realises this fashion journalism and the business of fashion itself will remain what many people still perceive as trivial.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A little less fun couldn't kill a man

Life is meant to be fun. You know; adventurous, exciting- that sort of thing. Lately, however, I've been feeling like mine has become quite routine. I know that come Thursday I go visit a friend and drink and party the night away, wake up Friday morning feeling real 'kak', drag myself through the day only to go back and drink some more on Friday night and on Saturday and, occassionally, on Sunday too. This routine has defined this entire year and quite frankly... I'm tired of it.
Today I have sworn to myself that I'll spend the evening at home, reading one of those books that I've been avoiding this whole year- books I started reading in January and have yet to complete thanks to my hectic party schedule.
I hope I'll be able to just chill at home and not be tempted to take my phone and make calls along the lines of; "Where the party at, y'all."
I think I might have to ask big sis to lock me in my room, take my phones away and not respond, even to the most desperate of my cries!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Keep fashion exciting, please!

Magazines, fashion week and the occassional catalogue in the mail is how most of us have always been staying in touch with what's poppin' in the fashion world. Editors have always defined what's in and what's not, but things do change and when one looks at street fashion one realises that people are no longer prepared to let the fashion elite prescribe their wardrobes.
For quite some time luxury defined fashion simply because exhorbitantly priced garments were all we could see in the magazines. This resulted in the glorification of expensive labels; Gucci, Prada, you name them.
When the financial crisis hit and recession deepened we became out of the box thinkers as we became increasingly pressurised to find creative ways of dressing up; why buy that expensive jacket if I can get it made for much much less?
The days of looking down on Monsiour Price, because "I can't be seen wearing a shirt that twenty other people in a 5 km radius are wearing" ended and were replaced by "we can both wear it but I can wear it much better than you can".
A lot has changed in the world and taking into consideration that people are no longer blind followers of advise in the pages of glossies I think it would only be called for that the way fashion is marketed also changes. Already, in other parts of the world, innovation is taking place. American brand Halston, for instance, last year launched their fall collection via You Tube instead of coughing up the millions it would have costed to have a fashion week show. And, as The Telegraph UK reports, a fashion show recently took place inside a train carriage on board the Underground. It's not just the consumer who has to think out the box anymore. The industry itself needs to adapt to the times and find new ways of keeping fashion exciting.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Springing into Action!

Elle Magazine, featuring a 'new' Drew Berrymore on the cover, has changed it's layout to a fresher look that I find symbolic of the season we're in. It's spring and damn, does it not feel like summer already? The sun, at least here in Johannesburg, is just smiling at us and the past three days of the new season, one must say, have been beautiful. It makes one just want nothing to do with the office but rather more to do with green fields, blankets and baskets filled with wine, cheese, bread and snacks.
One conundrum I always face, each year, with the changing of the seasons is the task of re-organising my wardrobe to fit the change. It's a bit hard, because dressing up in winter isn't too difficult at all. Scarves, trenches, sweaters- these items almost always transform any look into a good look. It's probably in the accesorising. In summer accessories can't just be done as easily, especially when your are a male. With females beads, earrings, sarongs and flip-flops are bound to do the trick. How I wish I could dress like that without attracting bulging eyes wherever I go.
Spring is here and it's time for one to spring into action. This is, after all, the year I decided that fashion can cross the gender boundary.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Does it end with fashion week?

Catalogue, couture and commercial are the three C's of fashion. I don't have to explain the meanings do I? Looking at the fashion landscape in our country one must conclude that most of our designers, however commercial they may be, are forced to go the catalogue route; i.e: sell garments by order because very few designers' garments make it into the store shelves.
I have no insider information, but I think I must be forgiven for asking the question; why do buyers got to fashion week in this country? Like I said, forgive me if I'm wrong, but how many of the designers that show at fashion week can boast that their line has been snapped up by some or other big retailer?
It leaves me wondering what fashion week is about. Is it about making a name for oneself as a designer, showcasing talent and wowing the fashion faithful? Is it about entertainment or business? Is it a glorified festival, where anybody with enough cash to put together a collection can just get onto the platform and sell their garments? Is it about setting trends and touching down with the fan base? Is it about playing dress up, meeting and greeting whilst blowing kisses in the air? Is it about artistry?
I wonder if designers consciously go into fashion week knowing exactly what their goal is because from where I stand I think few of them go there with any other intention except to garner attention for the duration of their show, disappearing immediately after fashion week and spending the period inbetween praying and hoping that some fashion lover out there will be at the other end of the line when the phone rings.
Fashion week is only but one marketing platform. Designers need to find other means and ways to stay relevant beyond fashion week. As the old English saying goes; "Out of sight, out of mind." Think about it.
As for the buyers; I'm still not sure if their presence at fashion week is all that neccessary- at least not in this country. I hope I am totally wrong on this one.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Black Hair Conundrum

"Good Hair" is a new movie by Chris Rock that takes on the aged-old argument of what good hair from the black man's perspective is. Relaxed or nappy? What makes YOU happy?
It's no secret that black hair has, for a long time, been seen as inferior to that of our caucasian counterparts and such is an element of all things that have always defined the perceived inferiority of all things African.
Black women who straighten their hair fit into the corporate environment much more easily. In fact, it's only recently (although it still remains largely frowned upon) that dreadlocks are becoming more and more permissible as a hair style in schools and in the workplace.
When black people decide to go "back to our roots" the hair is almost always the first point of departure. Ditch the relaxer and grow your hair naturally- it's something almost everyone I know has been through at some stage in their adolescence and even in early adulthood. People begin to shave their hair off or start growing locks. Essentially, hair becomes a statement that is symbolic of our intrinsic journey through the acceptance and discovery of '"who we are".
The politics of race and the historically disadvantaged position held by bl;ack people convinced many that all things good are western. Little wonder, then, that people would find their dark skins and virgin hair to be a flaw or setback.
Little has changed by way of the social acceptance of black hair as beautiful, as a New York Times article concurs; "Anyone who thought such preconceptions were outdated would have been reminded otherwise by some negative reactions to the president’s 11-year-old daughter, Malia Obama, who wore her hair in twists while in Rome this summer. Commenters on the conservative blog Free Republic attacked her as unfit to represent America for stepping out unstraightened." the article said.

Friday, August 21, 2009

South Africa's devil has no Prada!

My mornings are characterised by a dose of fashion blogs. The New York Times’ has some of my most favourite, as does The Telegraph and Financial Times.
Today, as I was reading one of these blogs, which was generally about “The September Issue”- a movie about Vogue magazine that is essentially about Anna Wintour, or so I hear- I began to start thinking about the state of fashion journalism in our country. How alive is it? Is there one publication or writer or even editor that we can pin-point as the “powerhouse” of fashion in South Africa?
I doubt it. Yes, I love ELLE (and the increasingly innovation-starved GQ) and I’d like nothing more than to believe that Jackie wields such powers, but the fact of the matter is she just doesn’t.
Jacquie Myburgh, the former ELLE editor and Dion Chang might seem like the closest thing we have to an Anna Wintour, but I’m struggling to decipher how much influence they, too, wield in the local fashion scene. Maybe they have no desires to be the “lawmakers” of fashion because from where I stand they could be- quite easily. Everyone respects their opinions, don’t we?
Speaking of influence and blogs, Jacquie’s column in the Times every Thursday is a must read for anyone is genuinely into fashion, not just clothes. Do check it out.
As for a South African “September Issue”… I don’t see it coming for decades. If it comes any sooner ‘sbound to be a disastrous effort.
One blog I read this morning said “The September Issue” failed to give or teach anything new about Vogue and I bet there’s very little to learn about putting together a South African fashion title.
Call me the cynical critic…but I know you know you know it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Are you a fashionista?
Well, if you define yourself as an avid follower of fashion, read: fashion victim, then- according to Wikipedia you fit the description perfectly!
I don’t know if I fall under such a description. I don’t see myself as a victim for fashion, but rather a lover of design. What interests me, beyond being the one in those threads (I must admit such is not a bad idea), is the industry from which they come. Am I still a fashionista?
Am I a fashionista ‘cause I love the glitz and glamour (although I do get exhausted by it quite quickly) of front row (thank God I’m a journo) and the sight of wine guzzling, cigarette murdering, stilletto wearing folk who are the members of plastic world? Am I fashionista ‘cause I don’t mind an entire night of ramp walking skinny girls and lads on FTV? Or does merely being a part of this world automatically qualify you for fashionistaism, for lack of a better term.
It might seem to you that I’m dissing this world… I’m not! I love it to bits. Those who know me well will tell you so. I can’t miss fashion week for the world! It’s something I look forward to… well, since we have gazillions of them in South Africa… I look forward to it almost every three months.
So, am I a fashionista? Whatever the answer may be I must warn you, should you be considering a career in the fashion industry, the fashion bug DOES bite! Hard!!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Giving back has never felt so good.

Levi's South Africa is running a charity drive which allows one to not only give back, but to receive as well! Mmmmhhhmmm.... Dunno how you feel, but I think giving away a pair of old jeans that I don't even wear anymore in return for a ZAR 200 Levi's Store voucher is one fantabulous bargain! I know you're desperate to get your hands on this one, so go 'head and run down to your nearest Levi's Store for further details. Do it now!
Giving back has never felt so good ;-)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Dark Ages of the 9 to 5 Theory Must End!

It simply makes no sense. It makes absolutely no sense at all! Why, for goodness sakes, does industry expect people to sit infront of a desktop for eight hours every damn day?
What, was it some sacred medieval scientific theory that said 9 to 5 is our most productive period of the day? I beg to differ and I’m not just trying to be difficult here.
How many of us have so much to do at work that it has to warrant eight hours, five times a week of slaving off even when you know full well that you are doing little more than playing damn solitaire or, as we do nowadays, are busy updating your facebook status?
I cannot understand why we have to be punished like this. Why must I pretend like I’m busy “working” when I’m actually not. This, for me, is the reason why people are quick to lose the love for their jobs and end up just slacking off whilst ‘looking busy’ for years on end (the paycheck is no excuse ‘cause it fixes nothing…not when it’s as measly as most of us know it to be).
This 9 to 5 business ought to be reviewed and maybe… just maybe… we can all look forward to going to work everyday to actually work and be productive. As for now I’m quite positive that, like me, most of you wake up early in the morning, hating it with a passion just to go and sit at the desk waiting for the clock to strike 5… or 4 (whatever it is that you are meant to see as knock-off time). I don’t know about you but by the time the clock does finally strike 5, my brain has already switched off hours earlier! Quite productive now, ain’t it?