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.