Monday, February 28, 2011

Bloggers Play Merchandisers for Dolce & Gabbana

The Dolce & Gabbana womenswear flagship store in Milan is currently displaying the visual merchandising efforts of six bloggers including Bryanboy and Susie Bubble. Each blogger was given a window on which they had to interprete the label's spring/summer 2011 collection. I think its a cool branding strategy.
Here's Bryanboy's window...

Gosh! How I would love a visual merchandising experience, too!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


There’s nothing I find more boring than the whole idea of afro-centric fashion where the emphasis on “afro” or "tribal" is so glaring that one finds it hard to see past it. Those linenny, heavy materials used in making Xhosa gowns- Sun Goddess style- make me queasy. Somehow, even when designers do their best to make their products practical, few succeed and the rest just leave me with nightmares of some or other traditional ceremony (or an opening of Parliament, maybe), because let’s face it, a lot of it fits perfectly there than it does anywhere else. You can go on about my “Western” mentality if you like, but if African is stiff, then, really, I’d rather remain Westernised.
I watched Stiaan Louw’s show with delight this past Joburg Fashion Week and thought to myself;“I'd give anything to own that entire collection”. The draping; to die for. The light materials; to die for. The Earthy tones; lovely! The subtle references and contemporary outlook on what a modern and stylish African-meets-Middle-Eastern bloke (you can take that to mean whatever you want it to mean) should look like; 100%! The collection felt very tribal but I am not sure what a lot of people meant when they said it was not wearable. Really? Maybe they were just not imaginative enough. I will wear those threads anytime! And not even at a special occasion. I’d rock it as in right now!

Photos: Simon Deiner/ SDR Photo

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Left to Right: Sarah Badat (my co-Frock Reporter), the ever-fabulous Mahlatse
and myself at Joburg Fashion Week AW11


We were all fuming. And justifiably so. David Tlale made us wait for a little over two hours before his much anticipated Nelson Mandela Bridge showcase, this year's highly publicised Joburg Fashion Week finale. This was set to be the biggest thing in South African fashion history; 800 seats, 92 looks, the iconic Mandela Bridge and one of the brightest stars of the design industry.
The wait for the show to begin was so long, however, once the show began, in all its theatric splendour, most people were too irritated to admit that Tlale had once again delivered. It was a show with all the drama we have come to expect, a fitting amalgamation of well interpreted themes (go to The Frock Report for my short analysis of this) and items I would personally wear at the drop of a hat.

This chiffon shirt with plunging neckline is something I see in my wardrobe. I love it!

The drama of the collection was epitomised in various forms, but this was probably the peak...

PICS: Simon Deiner/SDR Photo

Friday, February 18, 2011

Joburg Fashion Week and Other Details

At Joburg Fashion Week this year- currently underway at various venue across the city- Suzaan Heyns remains, for me, the undisputed champion of conceptual interpretation with a show introduced by a short film. In it, surgeons operate on a garment and the anatomy of the human body is explored through clothes; layered, asymmetrical cuts, nude colours, blacks, browns, etc. Some designers are able to communicate their vision through clothes without saying a word about the meaning of their collections. Others will bandy about and simply display beautiful clothes with no particular vision behind them. It begs the question; do we go to fashion week to see a show or do we go to see what designers have been up to?

Granted, the purpose of showcasing serves to expose the designer’s work to an audience but then, if a designer will- year in, year out- keep exhibit the same ol’ same ol’ at the same ol’ same ol’ platform, is there really a point to it? Would it not rather be better to express creativity, to sell an idea rather than a name? #justathought

I haven’t been blogging much lately, and for that I do apologise. I would, however, like to share with you what I’ve been up to. In the past week I’ve been blogging on (the other blog I do), I’ve been writing daily fashion week reviews for, extracts from both these sites have been used to construct an article under my byline in The Times newspaper and I’ve been on the eNews Channel morning news, discussing fashion week. I am very proud of these achievements and hope you will remain with me on my journey towards fashion world domination *evil laugh*… Okay, maybe not, but the journey I speak of is about my continued activism to dispel the idea that fashion is frivolous and hopefully to contribute to a better South African fashion industry, where designers can realize the full potential of their businesses beyond the catwalk, more commercially.

Enough about me; here are some pics from last night at JFW, as well as my picks from Kutloano Molokomme and Jessica Sutherland’s collections at the Fasttrack event held this past Tuesday night at Joburg’s Fashion Kapitol in the inner city.

Kutloano Molokomme
Jessica Sutherland


Abigail Betz

Spero Villioti

Wild Fig

Visit for updates or for daily fashion week reviews

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Corporatising for the Benefit of Brands and the Industry

One of the many things that always get me excited when I look at the South African fashion and even entertainment industries is how entrepreneurs within these sectors are waking up to the realities of business, albeit at a slow pace. In conversations with various people within the fashion industry the debate about the lack of business acumen, the emphasis on creativity at the detriment of commercial gain and all of those things often comes up. There should be a balance between creativity and business. The creative cannot... I repeat... cannot be both the creative director in their business in addition to being their own PR manager, business manager, accountant, etc, etc. Fashion is a business at the end of the day and in every business within any industry, profitability is the only path to sustainability.

I was thus delighted to receive the news that a South African fashion brand owned by and targetted at young people, with an ethos based on the aspirations and the essense of urban South Africa have hired the services of Public Relations company Brand Ambassadors, itself the brain child of a young South African by the name of Thulane Hadebe.
It can only be to the brand's benefit to have professionals running their affairs. We've seen many brands rise and fall and one can only hope that this one in particular will be one of those we can look back on, in a decade or so from now, to say these guys were smart enough to seek the correct path in building their brand. They can one day serve as an inspiration to others and also realise their own motto; "Live Progressively".


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Fashion Needs Cultural Significance

AmaKipKip. Culturally Significant?

I went to the shops earlier with the sole aim of getting my monthly copy of the ELLE UK magazine, a favourite of mine. When I got there I was drawn to the cover of Industrie Magazine by that picture of Marc Jacobs in drag. Never mind that, though, it is not the point. I bought the copy and started paging through it. Within one of the features is a list of industry leaders that the editors obviously felt held the greatest influence on fashion in the past year. One of these was Phoebe Philo, the creative director at Celine.

What got me thinking is their analysis of Philo where they mentioned her name appearing in a song from Kanye West’s new album “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”. They note that this marks her cultural significance. I don’t think I have to explain this; if you’ve been mentioned in a song, then you clearly are significant, aren’t you?
For me, this analysis is when the penny dropped as I began to search in my mind; who are the South African designers one can say have cultural significance? What bearing does this have on the industry itself?
When we speak of cultural significance one would do well to cast their sights on Loxion Kulca (in the late ‘90s, early 2000s); these guys enjoyed a huge success at the start (being mentioned by then super hip-hop duo H2O, for one) because they had a cultural significance. Whether they remain as successful is probably not even up for debate.
AmaKip Kip is also another brand I feel had a cultural significance to capitalize on. Here was an “instant gratification” generation and there was a brand that embodied that. Well, I do think those guys failed to fully exploit the brand, but that’s a story for another day.
The point is, art without a cultural significance is like riding a car with no wheels; it takes you nowhere. Local fashion needs this for it to be relevant to a broader South African society and beyond. Otherwise we risk it being an elitist and financially unsustainable industry, which I honestly believe it is at present.