Thursday, October 21, 2010

Milisuthando Bongela Marie Claire November Blogger

The November issue of Marie Claire debuts a new feature called "About a Blog" and my friend and fellow blogger/journo Milisuthando Bongela became their first pick. Few people know how robust the South African fashion blogosphere is. Yes, names like Bryanboy, Rumi Neely and Diane Pernet ring a bell with many, but ask them who Seth Rotherham (before he was named GQ's Best Dressed)  or Tiisetso (Urban Mosadi) is and crickets are bound to end the silence. Although Mili has had much exposure through the likes of ELLE Magazine and other publications- which is good for blogging in South Africa- bloggin in this country remains unsupported by the masses. This is indeed a great initiative!


I should've posted this on Monday, but didn't. But these pics can't go to waste now... So...

Fresh from the box, these are Cream Cartel member CHOC's new shoes as he got ready to attend the GQs!


Tuesday, October 19, 2010


1. Seth Rotherham, Blogger
"You can't do better than shopping in the US- great for timeless essentials"

2. Larry Cohen, Professional Footballer
"I just wear what I feel comfortable in"

3. Themba Mngomezulu, Darkie Clothing Founder
South Africa's worst dressed man is "all politicians. They put the country to shame."

4. Mokotjo Mohulo, Fashion Designer
"Fashion is an illusion. A way to make people see you the way you want them to"

5. Shaun De Wet, Model/Businessman
"There's nothing worse than seeing someone dressed as though they took the exact look off a mannequin"

6. Siyabonga Ngwekazi, TV Presenter and Radio DJ
"Style is not a game. To me, at least, this thing is a science"

7. Guy Ndlovu, TV Personality
"If I'm going to wear anything baggy it's going to be a tracksuit"

 8. Tyrone Arendse
"My dress sense is classic, but I include one or two unusual accessories"

9. Andrew McDade, Marketing Manager
"The people at work seem to think my rolled-up trousers and no socks look is quite amusing"

10. Spoek Mathambo
Shop "Joburg's city centre, you will find stuff there that you won't find anywhere else"

Other men in the top 50 that are worth mentioning include:
DJ Kenzhero, DJ
Mpumi Mcata, Rockstar
Sandile Zungu, Businessman
Ephraim Molingoana, Fashion Designer
Steve Tanchel, Fashion Photographer
...and many more as listed in the November issue of GQ Magazine


Vogue Paris

Many will undoubtedly disagree with my position in this regard, but I truly believe that skinny male models that have largely defined the past decade of menswear are much easier to relate to than the beefcakes that preceded them (and still continue to dominate the ramps in South Africa). Am I being subjective? Totally!

I’m a skinny man with no interest at bulking up and models with slabs of steak for chest muscles and arms the size of meatloaves have no appeal to me. There’s nothing like a skinny boy in a tailored suit. A tailored suit on a bulky brother, on the other hand, can make any design look silly. They look like the letter “V”. I’m not sure if “V” is something I’d like to look like. Proportion, proportion, proportion!
In an article about the return of the “handsome, mature models” (“beefcakes” in my language) Guy Trebay of the New York Times states that the image of the “Dior man was so influential that it spawned a host of imitators and, not incidentally, exiled a generation of conventionally handsome and mature models from runways into the gulag of catalogs.”
The said “Dior man” was introduced to fashion by the head designer Hedi Slimane just after the turn of the century. In my opinion, the “beefcakes” should remain in the catalog exile. Their bodies are as symbolic of fantasy as thin female models are of anorexia.
I’m not condoning “skinny” as de rigueur or anything like that and probably wouldn’t mind healthy young men on the ramps of international fashion weeks and product ads, but the beefcakes? I do not support their return.

Return of the Frock Report

This is a post I'm really excited about. Remember when Jacquie Myburgh-Chemaly announced that she would no longer be penning her weekly fashion column on TimesLIVE? I posted a blog lamenting the situation and her blog- The Frock Report- on the same newssite also grinded to a halt, remaining idle for the past two months now.
Well, the column is yet to be revived but the blog is on it's way back with Sarah Badat and (wait for it...) yours truly as the new Frock Reporters.
It is a great honour for me to be part of a blog that has previously been run by two women- Visi Magazine editor Jacquie Myburgh-Chemaly and Marie Claire editor Aspasia Karras- that I have the utmost respect for. Sarah and I hope to keep the Frock Report exciting for it's readers and to really inspire dialogue about fashion and style all the time.
I haven't made a decision about what will happen to Trends Beyond Threads, but for now, it remains. Do keep coming back, but do also check out The Frock Report. We haven't yet made our first update, but will be doing so as soon as the technicalities have been taken care of.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Fat Ain't Fancy!

Okay. I promise I am not trying to be controversial or anything, but just trying to stay real.
A lot of my friends think I am "fattist"- they think I discriminate against overweight people- but the truth is that I don't. I do however express my concerns with regards to weight. Yes, I'm skinny and I am not condoning some sort of crazy diet to people for them to look like me. I'm not perpetrating some fashion industry propaganda about weight, but the simple truth is that fat kills!
If you don't believe me, maybe some of the stories that contestants in this new reality show called "Dance your Butt Off" (which I think should have been "Dance that Flab Off") will be sharing with viewers will actually make people realise that fat is bad. I've read about the stories in a press release sent to me and I am convinced that being overweight is not only a murderer, but it also impacts on self esteem and healthy relationships altogether. One of the contestants, with whom I am a bit familiar, has a great personality that forces one to believe that he has embraced his weight and walks around with pride, but his story on this show tells the exact opposite. Fat people don't actually enjoy the attention they get when they hit the dancefloor because, quite frankly, the attention is not brought on by their skills but by the comical nature of a big person dancing which I honestly find upsetting. Fat people allow themselves to be turned into these "funny" objects by embracing something they actually are not proud of.
Fat simply isn't fancy! I don't care what you may think Beth Ditto represents.
I can't wait to see these men dancing it off, because that's what should be encouraged.
That's all!
"Dance Your Butt Off" is on SABC 1 on Tuesdays at 6.30pm

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Stiaan Louw's Designs on the cover of Wallpaper Magazine

Just a day ago it was Mpumi Mcata appearing in The Sartorialist and today, the Cape Town Fashion Council reports that South African designer Stiaan Louw's menswear is on the cover of Wallpaper*. How exciting!
It is part of the November 2010 edition of the magazine which sees covers being tailormade for their various markets. Viva Stiaan and local design, I say!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Oh, Lawdy!
This is probably a South African first;one of our very own on Scott Schuman's iconic blog, The Sartorialist. If you make it on this blog, you've caught the eye of someone TIME Magazine once named in the top 100 of design's most influential figures. Hence I say "Oh, Lawdy!"
I wonder if Mpumi will make it to GQ's Top 10 Best Dressed Men this year. Well, we'll see next Monday I guess.
Oh, Lawdy!
Check it


Oh, what a lovely day spent with Marie Claire SA and a lot of other beautiful people to honour the late great dame of contemporary Zulu music- or the rock star, as writer Bongani Mandondo put it- Mama Busi Mhlongo.
Speaker after speaker, including fashion designer Marianne Fassler and Mam' Tu Nokwe, gave testimony to what a beautiful soul Mam’ Busi was and in celebrating her life laughter, sadness and pride was shared by all at the late afternoon tea at the Malva Store on Arts on Main. I had the most splendid of times and hope, as Mpumi Mcata of BLK JKS put it, that more initiatives will be convened not only to honour those who are no longer with us but those who still live among us, contributing to South Africa’s cultural landscape as Mam’ Busi did.
After the tea we were all treated to a 5 minute clip of the last song Mam’ Busi recorded; a collaboration with Ladysmith Black Mambazo, which Nicola (a very nice lady who took care of Mam’ Busi during her last days) said would probably be released soon.
Congratulations to Marie Claire (and Felipe Mazibuko, who hatched the idea of this honorary tea alongside editor Aspasia Karras), Estee Lauder and all the beautiful people who came out to celebrate a national treasure. And thank you to the Marie Claire team for a lovely time at the Troyeville Hotel afterwards. A special day indeed!
In Busi Mhlongo we haven’t lost a legend but we’ve gained a cultural icon for an ancestor.


Visit for more pictures
Thanks to Zodwa Kumalo-Valentine for some of the pics above ;-)

Monday, October 11, 2010

You're Gay? You Die!

Okay, maybe the post title is a bit dramatic, but I think this is an issue one cannot overdramatise. I first saw a CNN report on the deaths of four young gay men over the past three weeks last week and after reading the latest copy of TIME Magazine I felt very sad at the thought that the world can be such a mean place. It's one thing to face everyday life challenges but gay people in the world have to face the reality that homophobia is not just another prejudice; it's a lethal one.
The saddest of these four cases, for me, was one of the college guy who didn't get along with his roommate, simply because of his sexuality. The roommate's way of getting back at him? Secretly recording this guy having sex with a dude and posting it on the net for all the world to see.
I was delighted last week when Milisuthando Bongela used her Mail and Guardian column to highlight some of the things that irk her about homosexuality simply because she started a debate about something we all tend to believe is a subject South Africans are comfortable with- homosexuality. The truth is a lot of us still remain trapped in our prejudice and although most are happy to ignore the fact that there are gay men or women sitting at the table next to us in a restuarant, the minute we are confronted with a situation where gay people start discussing sexuality, or simply how "gorgeous" that guy is, an imagined threat to heterosexuality emerges. It is downright ludicrous and often manifests in discomfort and, at times, hatred that even leads to violence.
The four young men who are now dead thanks to homophobic behaviour stand out, for me, as an example of how intollerance- and the perpetrators of such- is guilty of murder. #JustAThought

PlayBoy Magazine Returns to SA Market

I'm not sure how I feel about this. Playboy has never been the type of magazine I would even buy. Well, judging from what I see on television with regards to other international issues. I was way too young to even be bothered about it when the mag still existed on these shores and didn't know how to react when I read that they are ready to relaunch a South African edition as soon as April 2011. That is not too far into the future, it's actually soon.
I'm sure a lot of people will be pleased but I, for one, will wait and see what's on offer when the mag drops. I'm not too much of a Hugh fan. I'm not into oggling girls with big bossoms, but there are people out there who do enjoy this sort of thing and for them this will probably be a welcome development. I was just happy watching Holly and the other bunnies on E! Mindless entertainemtn, I call it.
The online version is apparently due to launch sometime this month on

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Men’s Products in Women’s Consumer Mags? It Makes Sense

You know what the thing is with women’s consumer magazines and fashion? Although I’d like them to be more engaging in terms of content, they are far more fun paging through than men’s magazines. Men’s titles tend to try too hard to be “manly”, for lack of a better term. Not to mention that their fashion spreads are a little… um… boring!

Anyways, this is probably not knew but I definitely would be lying if I said I've seen it before. There's a men's product in the October 2010 UK ELLE; a Marc Jacobs Men’s Fragrance ad…

Smart idea, this advertising of men’s products in women’s magazines. Not only do men actually read these titles, but women also hold the buying power in any household. It’s a proven fact. Besides, there’s also the “pink dollar” to think of!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Buying Local not so Lekker Convenient

Christopher Strong at SAFW, but how accessible is the fashion?

It makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it? Get some of the best design talent from across the country and give them a platform to sell directly to the public even if it’s just for a couple of days. SA Fashion Week ought to be applauded for their efforts to give local designers yet another first and a meaningful one at that.

For a very long time South Africans have been exposed to some of local fashion’s biggest names thanks to SA Fashion Week and the publicity it receives, but fewer consumers than what one may desire have been able to get their hands on some of the designers’ work. As a fashion writer and blogger I am often asked where to get some of the labels that people read about and a lot of the time the answer is not as simple as “YDE”. I know from personal experience that it sometimes feels like such a task to call a designer and order something directly from them. The reality is that shopping requires convenience and if it seems less than so we are often happy to settle for whatever is on offer. Accessibility, if I can make the point any much simpler, is the name of the game in the business of fashion retail.
The SAFW pop-up store, which goes up between 7 and 11 October in Sandton City’s Fountain Court, is not the first endeavor to create a space whereby local fashion is accessible. YDE is an outstanding example of such initiatives as is one Milisuthando Bongela who runs a stall in Parkhurst called Pulchritude once a month, selling some of the brands most of us only see in fashion spreads and at fashion week but never know where to get(or simply can’t get because no retailer stocks them).
Without discounting the efforts of major South African retail chains like Edgars, Woolworths and Mr Price- most notably on their sponsorship of ELLE’s New Talent- it must be said that one of South African fashion’s biggest hurdles is the fear displayed by retailers at vigorously supporting the local industry which results in the non-accessibility and slow paced growth.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Beyond Art and Fashion

Of course designer clothing has to be beautiful, but what I truly appreciate from a designer is the ability to display both beauty and intelligence in their designs. At SA Fashion Week AW2011 this past week none pulled that off more convincingly than Clive Rundle and emerging designer Cleo Droomer. In fact, methinks Droomer showed more intelligence than a lot of established designers did with his spandex-rich collection. I can't wait to see how this promising designer is going to grow within this industry.
Putting on a show rather than merely presenting a collection also adds spark to any designer's work (duh, that's why it's called a fashion show, stupid!) and few in the world match John Galliano's dramatic shows and equally dramatic collections. If there is a distinction between art and fashion Galliano escapes the confines with ease and transcends the boundaries of both.
Here are some pics from his SS2011 Charlie Chaplin inspired menswear and '20s inspired womenswear.

pics: Dazed Digital and

Friday, October 1, 2010

SA Fashion Week Strong on Femininity

Utilitarian fashion was the order of the day at SA Fashion Week’s Winter Collections 2011 last night as Silver Spoon, Christopher Strong and Colleen Eitzen showcased their new collections back-to-back, followed by Two and Rachel Demardt. It was an affirmation of femininity, as one who is familiar with these brands would expect, with sexy-but-not-tacky body hugging silhouettes.

I loved the barnyard feel to Silver Spoon’s light fabrics, playful prints that included florals and the grey school socks on purple stockings with brown brogues that completed the styling. It was very old-worldly, practical and beautifully crafted, I thought. As cliché as it sounds, Christopher Strong put on a strong showing. If I’m not mistaken; this was their fashion week debut and I’m certain that they managed to bag themselves quite a number of new fans (I already am, love these guys).
I don’t have pics… yet, but I will be posting over the weekend alongside a couple of walkthrough videos I took and will be taking as fashion week draws to a close this Saturday.