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of black hair as beautiful, as a New York Times article concurs; "Anyone who thought such preconceptions were outdated would have been reminded otherwise by some negative reactions to the president’s 11-year-old daughter, Malia Obama, who wore her hair in twists while in Rome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 ;-)