Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Shell of Optimism and Hope at SA Fashion Week

It felt like there was a new life with a different energy as SA Fashion Week began at Arts on Main in the heart of Jozi last night. The ramp took the form of the letter “H” and I have to admit, Arts on Main will take some time for me to adjust to. I really like the Turbine Hall, but I guess it’s fine.

Optimism was the theme for the hopefuls of ELLE’s New Talent competition- in conjunction with Mr Price- and Cleo Droomer walked off with top honours (he’s a “he” not “she”, as the Sowetan reports) for his tight silhouette, digital print spandex garments. The Cape Town College of Fashion Design trained 22 year-old told ifashion that “his designs were inspired by the people of South Africa, whom he compared to the abalone shell, which is rough on the outside and soft on the inside making them very pleasant people.” And yes, the purple, silver and grey print on the garment does look like an abalone shell. The thought behind this concept is striking and, for me, holds promise that Droomer will soon be one of those fashion designers that South African can be seriously proud of. I applaud the judging panel on their decision. The rest of the New Talent candidates were largely forgettable, in my opinion, with highly predictable displays of colour and, at times, references of African fabric and colours.
I missed Shaldon Kopman’s fashion week debut with his Naked Ape brand and this was apparently the highlight of the night. I could smack myself! All in all, if opening night at SA Fashion Week Winter Collections 2011 is anything to go by the rest of the week should be filled with much fun and a new energy for South African fashion design. I can’t wait for brands like Christopher Strong and Two; beautiful and practical simplicity, or at least this is what I expect. Being pleasantly surprised would be a cherry on the cake!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

SA Fashion Week Winter Collections 2011 Here We Go!

So, SA Fashion Week’s Winter Collections start tomorrow at Arts on Main and we’ve been promised an unprecedented collaboration between fashion and art as designers and fine artist collaborate at the shows. Word also has it that Clive Rundle, the ultimate South African coutorist in my books, will be showcasing a collection called “Braille”… Ah, the blindness of beauty? Don’t know. We’ll just have to see what that is about (or read, depending on how you look at it)*I hope that’s not a bad word play*.

Some of the shows I’m looking forward to include ELLE New Talent, which I might have to miss due to other commitments (I’ll do my best to make it there though, can’t miss a peak at the future of South African fashion design). There’s also Terence Bray, Silver Spoon and Christopher Strong (two brands I can’t miss, I love the practicality in their designs, let alone the beauty). I also cannot wait to blog about my experience of this fashion week season.
Tonight, Johannesburg’s fashionistas get together at Uyanda Mbuli’s Diamond Face Couture store in Rosebank for a supposed Cocktail Party. Reading her Twitter musings, however, I gather that she is at some or other boat race or something along those lines. I wonder if she’ll be pitching for her own party??? Or if there’ll be a party to start with.
Ah, there we go; a tweet from her saying “…then I rush to my event tonight. Whoop whoop!”
There’s hope after all.

Anyways, look out for pix from both Fashion Week and ELLE Mastercard Style Week on a group blog my fashion-forward tramps and I just started at
We will be posting and musing throughout the week. I'm also on @Sandiso_N on Twitter for updates about FW (who's wearing what, who's sitting where, next to whom, how are the shows proceeding, etc.)
Have a fantastic week, I know I will!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

AnOther fashion first: Kate Moss in 3D

Kate Moss goes 3D in a new fashion film, the first ever using this technology, for AnOther Magazine
Check out the behind-the-scenes on


Says Tommy Ton of; "Francesco has a way of wearing clothes in such a way that they become completely unidentifiable on him. You wouldn't know whether he's wearing Kenzo or Zegna or a market find; that's a gift of Francesco's styling abilities. He has fun layering and mixing patterns, textures, and colors, and it's refreshingly young and sartorially playful at the same time."

Read More

This guy; Vogue Hommes International Fashion editor Fransesco Cominelli is definitely a style maven. Love him! Pics from

Monday, September 20, 2010


The perception that fashionistas are airheads is one that took root in society ages ago. Many, outside of fashion, see it as a trivial field to be working in. As a young person getting ready for varsity, dare tell your parents it is fashion you want to study and you’re likely to be faced with a battle in convincing them that, actually, fashion can also be a viable career path. The predominantly frivolous nature of fashion magazines is also of no help to youngsters hoping to carve themselves a meaningful career in fashion. All an onlooker sees when they open up a copy of Vogue, ELLE or whatever fashion magazine is a lot of glamour that is hardly concerned with the realities of life. It’s a dreamy world they see. Do you want to live in a fantasy world for the rest of your life? They might ask. It is therefore refreshing to note that one fashion magazine in this country is engaging its fashion loving audience not just with kick-ass fashion but with equally powerful journalism. I must say, I am utterly impressed with Marie Claire SA. The current “Black and White” issue is surely the envy of any magazine editor who takes their job seriously. Aspasia Karras and her team deserve a pat on the back for delivering such a great read. In fashion, good reads often mean less interesting fashion, yet this team is able to bring the two together in an exciting manner. Big ups! As far as Marie Claire SA is concerned, I think the words “airhead” and “fashion” are set worlds apart.

A Rather Big Week of Fashion

Johannesburg will next week experience a bumper week of fashion as the SA Fashion Week Winter Collections kick-off at Arts on Main, ending Saturday. As if this was not enough to get any fashion lover excited; ELLE Magazine hooks up with Mastercard to bring you a localised version of Fashion's Night Out called Style Week. Get ready to shop-till-you-literally-drop (well, that's if the recession hasn't rocked your finances)!I'm not sure why they chose to schedule this at the same time as fashion week but one thing is for certain; next week will leave a lot of us with a fashion hangover of note and negative bank balances. My advise to you; practice some restraint! I can only hope that I can do the same *closing my eyes to say a short prayer* Good luck!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

My Hair is an extension of Me

India Arie was spot on when she said "I am not my hair". Of course not. Your hair is, however, an extension of who you are and more often than not it places you firmly in a box that the less than open-minded will always put you in. For close to two years I have had dreadlocks and very often people would call me "Jah", "Rasta" and whatever else that relates to rastafarianism. People on the street often asked me for a cigarrette lighter. At first I used to think; "Damn, my lips obviously tell a story of my chain smoking ways," but I increasingly realised that my hair told the story that I probably always have a joint to smoke in my possession and would therefore have a light to burn it up when I need it. I have now cut my hair short. I'm not yet sure if I'm going to go through with dyeing it silver grey as I've been saying to my friends. Maybe I'll just shave it all off. Maybe I'll rock a mohawk. Maybe I'll just let it be... For now. But whatever I do with it it will be what I feel in my soul as that is what dictates who I am and what I feel. What I feel is who I am and my hair, therefore, is an extension of me.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

"Gays try to outdo models," says Felipe Mazibuko

Felipe Mazibuko laments the "dignity" of fashion week in the face of "gays" that try to "oudo models"

Whoa! And we get real!

Felipe Mazibuko- if you’re into fashion, you know who he is- appears in today’s Sowetan in a feature by Zenoyise Madikwa, practically bashing what I’ll call the “fagottisation” of fashion week.
“Hear me well, I’m not homophobic or anything like that. I am defending the dignity of fashion weeks against being made a mockery of,” Mazibuko is quoted as saying in reference to “gay folk…” who have “reduced most events on the fashion calendar to gay festivals where they show up to promote their own personality cults…”
Mazibuko also takes a swipe at gay designers who “design for their alter egos”. Hectic stuff, yeah? But I guess someone out there has to say it. It’s a fickle industry filled with people who lack the balls to tell it like it is. “Gays try to outdo models,” he adds.
Add to that and Mazibuko goes for seamstresses who call themselves designers. "It's like calling yourself a doctor when you are just a nurse!"

Check it out on page 22 of today’s Sowetan newspaper.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Accessory Slut? Yes, I am!

I'm a total fan of accessories and I oftentimes find men's accessories to be too simple and boring. I've even gone to such lengths that I borrow from my sister's accessory box and I have to say that the compliments I get from people when I do this make me envious ("Oh, thank you, but they actually belong to my sister." -sob). And so I think I've come to a point where I'm going to start an accessory box of my own; beaded necklaces, cuffs (of which I already have a gem, courtesy of Maria McCloy), light scarves (thanks to Mr. Price I found one that is the nevy of all around me and it came at a price... wel,, Mr. Price, you know it), etc, etc. And I'm not going to be minimalistic about it, I'll let the clothes do the minimalism, the accessories will be layered all over. One thing I know for sure is that they do enhance one's entire look. You can go from drad to fab almost instantly, provided you have the right combination of accessories.
Speaking of which, I spotted some awesome beaded jewellery at the Rosebank Market this past Sunday and I'll be going back there, cash in tow, to stock up a fat collection. Can't Wait.
For now, though, my eyes are turing green thanks to the boys over at

Nice? Too minimal *My eyes are green, that's why!*

Monday, September 13, 2010

Gaga comments on Gays and the Army on the MTV VMA red carpet

Well, so says a report on, where I also got this pic. Read the story here. Personally, I just can't wait to watch the ceremony... or the red carpet specials on E! Entertainment rather.

P.S: She's rocking a regal number from the late McQueen's last collection.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Balance of Forces on Fashion's Frontrow

Fashion Powerhouses; Suzy Menkes, Michael Roberts, Bryanboy, Sally Singer, Anna Wintour, Hammish Bowles and Tommy Ton on frontrow in Milan
(pic from Dennis Valle/NY Times)

When Sonia Booth threw a hissy fit at the Audi Joburg Fashion Week (JFW) earlier this year due to her seat being taken by a relative “nobody” it was symbolic of the power struggles that grip front rows at fashion weeks across the globe. God-forbid a designer’s publicist places Anna Wintour or Suzy Menkes in second or third row; such would be a literal death wish! Well, in terms of fashion, anyways.
The rise of the fashion bloggers with real superstar clout and influence has brought about a new headache for fashion designers and publicists as they try to allocate seats for editors, buyers, friends of designers and celebrities. Where do they place Bryan Boy or Scott Schuman? They have to be on the front row, their influence is undeniable. Where, then, do the likes of Anna Wintour and her counterparts at Harpers Bazaar, ELLE, W and other influential publication go, without finding themselves next to each other(God Forbid)? Adding to the stress of bloggers needing to placed, there’s also the online editors of fashion publications who- as a result of magazines trying to play catch up with developments that have chowed away at their dominance in the industry- also need to be prominently seated.
The composition of the fashion week front row is indicative of the balance of forces in fashion and as this changes, so does the thinking behind who goes where in those seats. I guess in South Africa, where- bar SA Fashion Week- celebrities and friends of the elite dominate the front row, it is no rocket science where the publicists think fashion power and influence lie, now is it? Okay, okay… Let me be fair. Africa Fashion Week 2010 was kind of different to what had been the trend at the inaugural event as well as JFW, where members of the media could be found on the third or even fourth row.
For me, observing the tussles and the rush to take over front row as soon as the announcement is made that empty seats can be taken is always fascinating. We all love power. Even when it is just a “look”!
Read "At Fashion Week, It's Where You Sit That Counts" in the New York Times

Monday, September 6, 2010

Fashion's Newfound "realness" is a farce

Celebrity covers are far from dead. "Real People" covers are a passing fad.

I have no doubt in my mind that the magazine industry’s fresh approach of unretouched images, normal folk rather than models and celebrities, plus-size rather than size-zero is exactly that- fresh and appealing, but it is all starting to seem like yet another trend that we will all obsess about before really getting to grips with the reality that fashion is an industry that feeds off on “fantasy” rather than reality. The reason we all want those Jimmy Choos is because SJP’s Carrie Bradshaw made them cool, despite the price tag, when there are many other good shoes for far less a price; Aldo, for instance.

I’ve just read an article about how Essentials Magazine in the UK came out with no models and celebrities from cover to cover this month and how Glamour US was applauded for refusing to retouch images of plus-size model Lizzie Miller last year. How noble!
For me, the whole obsession with “realness” is based on our thirst for a more utilitarian existence and perhaps it is a much needed break from all the bombardment with luxury that had us all “wanting” rather than “needing” before the economic meltdown came and reminded us that needs should, after all, take priority over what we want. Luxury is a want and unfortunately the price tag on contemporary brands, the price tag on good brands- in fact- makes the likes of Marc Jacobs, Gucci, LV, David Tlale, Black Coffee and Marianne Fassler a luxury. If we need to wear clothes and look good in them too Mr. Price has lots on offer for a fraction of the price, but who will settle for Monsieur if their bank balance allows for Country Road? Essentially, it may be interesting now to be buying “real” covers with real people on them and not photo-shopped faces of Chanel Iman and the like and maybe this is sustainable for a magazine like Essentials, but for magazines with a specific focus on fashion I can tell you now that fashionistas are not trying to buy mags that feature some “girl-next-door” on the cover let alone fashion spreads that are too close to reality and what we can actually afford. Fashion mags are all about aspiration and their allure lies in the fantasy element and their portrayal of perfection that we all know is unattainable. As Milisuthando Bongela argued in the September issue of Marie Claire; fashion may have her ethics in a shambles but those who consume it have a choice. Consumers in this regard, myself included, prefer the hottest Hollywood It Girl on the cover rather than Mrs. So and So who won a competition on fashion covers. The reality is that Mrs. So-and-So will probably not succeed in selling a pair of jeans or a top to me, the It Girl does.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Do the skinny leg, Witboy!

It's spring and no, the title of this blog is not about denims. I'm talking my own all-natural, slightly hairy, really scrawny and abundantly light-skin tone legs that I'll be showing off for the first time in a while this Saturday.
I've had a couple of friends asking me if I'd be ditching my signature skinny jeans to show some flesh this spring and my answer has very often been; "I don't know. I've been hiding my legs for years now. Dunno how I feel about letting them out in the open now."
"Are you insecure about them?"  they often ask.
"Well... People laugh. Dunno if they laughing at how skinny they are, but more often than not people fuss about how light they are."
Well, you know what, I'm a light skinned boy (yes, call me "Witboy" if it suites you) with skinny legs and I don't have any other pair except this very one. This Saturday (praying that this sort of energy and confidence lasts till then) I'm rocking an old pair of denims that I've cut into a short version. Skinny or not, light or dark, come rain or sunshine, it's Spring and it's about time my legs sprung out of confinement!
Laugh all you like!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

My (Jacquie) Fashion Thursday is No More!

My Thursday mornings are quite routine; panicking about deadlines at work, but always managing to slip in a minute or two to read what had become my favourite column in any South African newspaper- Jacquie Myburgh-Chemaly's "Fashionising Business" in The Times.
This morning as I paged through the paper, however, it sudeenly hit me; what are you doing, Jacquie bid the fashion column readers farewell last week. Oiy! And so we take a step back. I have for a very long time bemoaned how fashion as a whole is sidelined by newspaper editors as if it were some negligible subject and in Jacquie's column I found solace in the fact that as much as it is one paper and one column dedicated to fashion (I think we need much more) at least someone out there was giving fashion a bit of love.
And so... The column is gone! One less routine on a Thursday and sadly it is one I will miss. I wonder if The Times will be looking for a replacement.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

So, this Girl would like to see Bloem, PMB and Polokwane Fashion Week...

We see it all the time in South Africa and I think sometimes I forget how much a lot of people out there fail to reason properly. An example of this is the argument that the South African press is not patriotic, simply because the ANC is mostly found wanting. Does support for the ruling party constitute patriotism? Well, this is a far stretch from fashion and here I find myself being accused by one ifashion reader who, after I posted a blog on the website bemoaning the creation of countless fashion weeks, called me unpatriotic and opposed to the upliftment of designers around the country. She seems to believe that the segmentation of the industry that has resulted from the creation of various fashion weeks is good. I argued that it isn't and until such time that one, any one, can prove that the unity of the design industry is not a desirable model for its own growth I can't see how I can support initiatives that perpetrate mediocrity.
Read the thread below:
written by Tashie, August 30, 2010

Wow, this is quite a sad philosophy about fashion in South Africa...

Tell me do you have any evidence to support your theory, i think not! Ive done my research yes... And the more exposure the better, its called creating job oppertunities, expression of the arts...

You clearly have no faith or pride when it comes to South Africa!

Be it PTA or even Bloem! it will pave the way for creativity to boom in this country! it will inspire young designers, and for once the arts will get the recognition it deserves...

written by Sandiso, August 30, 2010

Hi Tashie.

Thanks for the comment.I'm glad you've done your research and concluded that segmentation, as it were, is a good thing. I'll have you know that it works for no industry. Have you ever heard of initiatives like BUSA (Business Unity South Africa)? Such initiatives are ways of uniting to advocate for a better business climate in the country. As the saying goes "there's power in numbers". If we all decide to do our own thing instead of strengthening the intiatives that are already in place e.g: SA Fashion Week, are we not reversing the gains? I hope you do engage with other credible people in fashion,it might broaden the scope for you to better understand what the point here is. Faith in SA FASHION, for me, also involves resisting actions that seek to compromise the standard that so many people have worked for so many years to make a norm. I have personally witness the standards at places like Mpumalanga Fashion Week and I have to say I don't see how you could be so "proud" of such things.


written by Tashie, September 01, 2010

Well in that case it is up to people like you who know so much about fashion to set a standard, to involve those who need to be educated about fashion weeks... dont you think?

I stand by my point. Do you seriously want fashion weeks to be so scares in a country with so much to offer?

Do you want to be one of those pessimistic people because according to you there has to be a so called standard?

If you are so concerned about standards being dropped, why dont you do something about it? Or dont you believe in giving back to the community?

Offcaorse there is going to be some bumps along the way... but are you selfish enough to not want other provinces to prosper even if they start from scratch?

Luckily or must i say hopefully your not one to be making these dicisions...

written by Sandiso, September 01, 2010

I rest my case and hope someday you'll learn the meaning of blind and uniformed patriotism.

The one thing that I find correct in Tashie's argument is the fact that commentators, including myself, should be at the forefront- along with other stakeholders like designers and such- of setting the standard. I'd like to believe that my rejection of mediocrity is one such step. I'd also like to assert that the standard was set long ago- when it comes to fashion week- by one Lucilla Booyzen.
(Tashie's comments along with mine are taken from