Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Who is "next" for South African fashion?

Who, out of our crop of young designers, waits “in the wings” for their crowning moment as a celebrated South African designer to match the acclaim of Stoned Cherrie, Black Coffee, Tlale, Rundle and many others that I seriously have no space or luxury of time to mention?

Will it be an unknown figure rising from the ranks of LISOF or maybe one of the past winners of the ELLE New Talent Competition?

I guess all one can do is to wait and see, but I want to add my two cents worth.

There is something beautiful and mystical about an unexpected individual’s rise from obscurity and sudden acclamation. Would it not be great if the next best thing in South African fashion were a designer whose work is yet to be discovered; maybe in the streets of Rosebank, he or she revels in a small client base, hoping that his/her efforts will be recognized on the backs of unsuspecting ambassadors? “Oh, this was made by a friend of mine. She uses her bedroom as a studio,” the unsuspecting ambassador would say.

I read a story about one such designer some time ago and how he is now planning to compete with the allure of FW in New York to attract buyers and schlebs to his little show. The article mentioned that this guy, with no fashion college education, uses his bedroom at the back of his grandparents’ Brooklyn home to make designs that he himself claims not to know come from where.

LaQuan Smith is his name and with the help of a New York fashion publicist his designs have found their way into Lady Gaga’s tour wardrobe as well as a Rihanna video.

How I would have loved to have been the unmentioned publicist (I’ve forgotten her name). I think it’s time for me to go talent spotting in SA to find that designer who “waits in the wings” for their moment.

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