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Too few fashion brands celebrate the curvy and big boned people. I was delighted to be invited to Suennel Style Fashion Show for the curvy women. The fashion show was in Kagiso in the west of Johannesburg and as I watched a collection of spring/summer and autumn winter outfits, I immediately developed ideas on how to style the outfits for this platform. Suennel Original is owned by Neliswa Motsuenyane, a young black woman from Kagiso. The collection had some bridal gowns which were amazing.
I fell in love with how these ordinary women looked in the amazing designs and how the unconventional fashion show was inclusive of everyone. To create this Afrikan Princess Edit, I decided to create the lookbook at an art studio owned by a good friend who is housed at August House in Johannesburg.
The lookbok was shot in an art studio because I wanted to merge painting and fashion design together as forms of art and show the beauty that they have separately as well as the beauty that comes out of their combination. The painter and artist Sanusi Olatunji works mostly with paper in his painting and I loved how the outfits complemented the art work in the studio,
Designer: Neliswa Motsuenyane @suennel_style
Stylist: Vuyiso Tshabalala @vuyiso_afrikanprincess
Assistant Stylist: Thobeka Mbane @thobekambane
Photographer: Vuyo Thloloe @erem_malo
Assistant to photographer: Shana Nkosi @shana.king
Make-Up Artist : Siyabonga Motsuenyane @ceedazz
Accessories: Lebo Visagie @lebo.visagie
Studio: Sanusi Olatunji Art @sanusiolatunjiart
The global Fashion industry today is worth 3 trillion USD however, Sub-Sahara Africa accounts for only 1% of that.
Of all the potential obstacles to growing this market in South Africa, it seems creative talent and exposure are the least of what hinders upcoming fashion brands from thriving on the international scene, access to finance even less. There is a definite need for teaching the business of fashion – fashion entrepreneurs need to be supported in professionalizing their enterprises and running a truly profitable business.
There is real opportunity to take South Africa’s up-and-coming fashion designers and turn them into powerful fashion CEO’s. Given the appropriate support, these fashion entrepreneurs could be running profitable businesses capable of competing on the international apparel scene, creating jobs, and having an impact on the South African economy.That’s why purpose-driven marketing agency NONZēRO partnered with Standard Bank to create: the Business of Fashion accelerator programme “Threads – stitched by Standard Bank”:
What Standard Bank is looking to do is support the entrepreneurs’ creativity with the crucial business know-how, mentorship and support that’ll propel the business to the point where they’re experiencing real growth, and running like professional outfits. The partnership with Standard Bank is a key to delivering on this goal. In order to supplement the programme with an academic backbone, the team partnered with the e4 Impact Foundation, an initiative of the Universita Cattolico of Milan focussing on impact entrepreneurship. Together they created a 12-week curriculum that focuses on the business operations of a fashion enterprise: From financing and retaining employees, to lean manufacturing and eCommerce, as well as specialized procurement methods and marketing.
The programme is open to all fashion entrepreneurs with existing business operating in South Africa, and is taught simultaneously from four regional classroom hubs: Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban and Port Elizabeth. The programme takes place two evenings per week for a 12-week duration. The participants will also be taken on action learning field trips across South Africa designed to showcase best practices’ across the country in various fields.
Working together with the Standard Bank Incubator and a strong eco-system of partners in business (including Mercedes-Benz), government and civil society, the programme calls upon the expertise of some of South Africa’s top business minds and thought leaders as programme teachers. The programme uses real-life case studies and experiential learning exercises to reinforce the academic learnership of the programme with practical industry insights.
At the end of the programme, the participants will be invited to present their new business model in a business case presentation to a panel of judges, and the winning participant will be taken on an international trade trip to Europe. The key focus of this trade trip is a meeting with a high-impact private distribution network enabling the participant to liaise with and present their business/products to wholesale buyers and retailers, as well as attending trade fairs.
The winning participant will receive an SME start-up pack courtesy of Standard Bank, will become a Mercedes Benz brand ambassador and drive the brand new vehicle for a 12 month period, as well as benefit from continued mentorship by the Threads team.
To participate in the Threads programme, interested entrepreneurs can apply online, via Threads website, http://www.threadsonline.co.za. (Open to entrepreneurs with an existing business in operation in South Africa for at least one year). The application process opens on 11th September, 2017 for a one-month period, ending on 11 October, 2017.
Tony Gum, an artist who has who has captured my attention with her unique art launches her first-ever solo exhibition in Cape Town at the Christopher Moller Gallery, Kloof Nek, Cape Town on Friday, 29 September, 2017. Titled, ‘Ode to She’, the solo exhibition centres around Tony Gum’s explorations, discoveries and understanding of the teachings by her elders of what it means to be a Xhosa woman. Through ‘Ode To She’ Tony Gum wants to reiterate the power and representation of Xhosa women, acknowledging their multifaceted roles, complex experiences of self, family and society.
‘Ode To She’ is presented as an intimate still life, an encounter with Tony Gum as her work transitions in different stages of a Xhosa woman. The exhibition is a story that is a poem, a song, a letter to She-She, the Being, who understands He/She/Them to be a force, like nature, a person who has been beaten, tried and tested yet is able to rise above it all, says Tony Gum.
As young people and young women, we find it easy to relate to Tony Gum because of the way her art is presented, simply yet unique. I love that ‘Ode To She’ will not only celebrate and the different transitions but it will also celebrate those transitions in relation to technology and fusing the modern and the traditional. With it being Heritage Month, I love how the exhibition is centred on culture and heritage and I hope that when young people get to see the exhibition, they will get to see our cultures and heritages are beautiful and important.
I believe in honouring our individual truths,” muses self-titled Creative Director, Tony Gum. “Our ability to pause, reflect, connect and celebrate that which makes each of us whole means we are better placed to recognize and respect this essence in others.- Tony Gum
Tony Gum’s Cape Town solo exhibition, ‘Ode to She’, is a combination of new work and past themes revisited with never before seen visuals. Experience this visual journey first-hand at the Christopher Moller Gallery in Cape Town from Friday, 29th September, 2017 until 3rd November, 2017. The artist will be celebrating this milestone with an ‘All Red’ themed after party on the night, all you have to do is follow the hashtag #TonyGumCalling for details.
www.instagram.com/tony_gum/ – #tonygumcalling #odetoshe
Fashion Weeks are not just about runway shows, they are also about the unique styles of the attendees and that is why the street style at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Joburg was trending over the weekend. It is always great to see the people go all out and look beautiful and cool as they take snaps while waiting for runway shows to commence. Photographers are always on the lookout for the best and coolest looks. One such photographer is Ben Moyo who captured the best dressed this past weekend at #MBFWJ17 at the Mall of Africa.
See more of Ben Moyo’s work here
Remembering where it all started for Orapeleng Modutle, I could not be anymore prouder of him as I was watching his show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Joburg at Mall of Africa. My favourite thing about Orapeleng is that he is diverse, he caters for the brides, for the working woman, for the everyday woman who loves to look good. The first to last look is presented with so much precision and Asanda Sizani really did an amazing job styling the collection.
All images by SDR Photo for African Fashion International
Last night Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Joburg 2017 kicked off at Mall of Africa in Johannesburg and day 1 has set a good pace for the rest of the days. Fellow fashionistas and I braved the cold and windy Joburg weather for the love of fashion.
AFI Prive which is an African Fashion International inhouse fashion brand made a return last night on the runway and I must say that I was impressed with the collection. “Under the African Sun” is what the collection embodied and the garments were made of soft and comfortable fabrics. The kind of clothes that one wears in an African summer next to the pool, river or beach; whatever floats your boat. The cute thin waist belts were significant in giving the best view of the outfits. My absolute favourite outfit was the off the shoulder crop top with multi-layered sleeves and the matching pants which give off a relaxed look.
All the looks from the AFI Prive collection can be shopped at the AFI Prive store at the crystal court at Mall of Africa and soon on the website http://afiprive.com/
Thula Sindi is showcasing again and I couldn’t be any happier. Before the show, everyone who follows Thula Sindi on Twitter and I got to see a sneak peek of what to expect at his show and true to his word; his collection reflected his obsession with hard edged details on soft fabrics.
My favourite dresses from Thula Sindi’s collection are the dresses above whose details are hard to miss, I definitely paid so much attention here and I could not help but see a peacock in its glory as its covert feathers are displayed during the courtship ritual.
The collection also featured some of the best embroidery I have ever seen. Everything was just so precise, in the right colour and paired with best pieces. I love that you can switch up the TS garments and you can wear them for any occasion.
Other designers who showcased included Gavin Rajah and Spero Villioti. Even Though their collection were nice, I would have loved to see something different because I feel like we always see the same collections from them. Spero Villioti had models wear fake colourful locks which did nothing for the collection and we have seen this before in international designers. I honestly did not see the point of the fake locks as they added nothing to the story.
Photo Credits: SDR Photo
From the primordial wasteland where survival is the only thing that matters, comes Kidd Hunta – fighting through harshest environments with only his wit, and his spear handed down from his father. The Kidd Hunta is here to take on the world with no apologies. With his spear, he aims and strikes true to his target.
The story of this young African Boy fighting is the inspiration for Kidd Hunta. He encapsulates an entrepreneurial go getter spirit with a uniquely African outlook. With Kidd Hunta we bring the traditional values of bravery, courage and fearlessness into the modern world, and stake our claim.
This is no ordinary clothing label, because this is no ordinary kid. Kidd Hunta, has found the beast within himself, and uses that to survive. Today – his same spirit ignites a flame expressed in the design of the Kidd Hunta label.
Kidd Hunta shows no mercy, but does so in a modern setting-with style.
For the modern day fighter, comes Kidd Hunta – a label which draws strength from a strong African Past and runs courageously into the future. Brave Hearts Never Fail.
Spree: The Number one retailer for SA designers
Committed to growing and supporting local fashion, Spree – South Africa’s most fashionable shopping site has been a platform for local and emerging fashion designers since 2013, with a vision to discover and showcase the very best South African design talent.Celebrating 4 years of supporting South Africa’s brightest stars and with close to 100 local brands and designer collections having been featured on the site, Spree has been the largest supporter of local fashion in the country, ensuring that customers have access to amazing collaborations and allowing the site to offer a much broader and exciting range of apparel.
Designers such as Lukhanyo Mdingi, Rich Mnisi, Ruff Tung and Tamara Cherie represent the new wave of SA design talent who are proud about their cultural roots and produce lines that reflect their own sense of individuality. Something that Spree Creative Director Chris Viljoen echos, “We are always looking for outstanding new brands to add to our unique fashion edit, and we seek the most exciting talents wherever they are. So it’s great to be able to support local talent of this calibre.”Spree has also been home to some of SA’s long-standing fashion establishments in the past such a Marianne Fassler, known for her superbly crafted designs and contemporary offerings as well as Craig Jacobs, whose Fundudzi line showcases some of the wildest pieces in menswear – truly making the site a shopping hub that bridges the gap between catwalk and consumer SA fashion.
Whilst some of the SA brands available on Spree are already established long before showcasing on the site, collaborating with the ecommerce store means different things to different designers, from production and photography guidance to business mentorship. Julian Kubel, brand owner of Butan Wear comments ”Working with Spree has resulted in many benefits for our brand. Over and above giving Butan wider exposure and allowing our followers to purchase our goods from anywhere in SA, Spree has recently thrown their weight behind our ‘Searching For Mother and Child’ campaign, a project that is very close to our hearts.”
Another advantage that the retailer offers its designers as well as customers is the ability to deliver free throughout South Africa for orders over R250 either door-to-door, or door-to-post office counter or door-to-Pargo pick up point, depending on where the shopper is based.Founder and Creative Director of Funduzi, Craig Jacobs comments, “At Fundudzi by Craig Jacobs we don’t see ourselves as retail experts – our core business is creating beautiful yet accessible, modern yet distinctively African apparel, and we rely on our retail partners to provide our warriors with the ideal conduit for them to engage with our merchandise. Importantly, those partners need to match our value system – attention to quality, a distinctive experience and a high level of professionality.
What Spree has allowed me to do is concentrate on what we do best while knowing that, no matter where our warriors might be located in the country, they can simply tap on their smartphone app or click on their mouse and purchase a piece of Fundudzi.”
And with solid year-on-year growth of 76% in orders placed and a 69% increase in the number of site visits, it’s little wonder that Spree Creative Director Chris Viljoen is full of excitement for the future, “Spree is well-positioned to make a positive impact on the development of the country’s fashion industry and we’re so proud to have seen some of fashion’s leading lights pass through on their way to stardom.”
Shop your favourites from Spree
It is always great to see my favourite creatives progress in their careers and one such creative is Julia Ese Otobo. Julia is a 23 year old Nigerian born Half Delta and Half Igbo model who has taken New York by storm after being signed by MSA Models.She is in love with Afros and black hair, something that is evident in her blog www.nappyese.com. The decision to keep her hair natural came about because of a guy that she was in love with, she started keeping her hair natural because of him and eventually fell in love with her natural hair, her brave stance back then was admirable as the modelling industry had not yet fully accepted natural hair. Besides modelling, blogging and vlogging, Julia is taking a course in Digital & Affiliate Marketing to up her game.
Julia decided to start modelling after she listened to her favourite fashion model Doyin Haastrup Olatokunbo talk about the Pearl Look Model Nigeria modelling competition that she was producing and Julia knew that was the time for her life to change. After having to drop out of University because of lack of funds, Julia enrolled in the Pearl Look Model Nigeria competition and knew that she needed to win in order to make her other dream- being a Victoria Secret Model come true. Being a part of the boot camp was very difficult but she was determined to win and win she did! As the winner of Pearl Look Model Nigeria she won an all-expenses paid trip and a contract to South Africa to work with Ice Model Management in South Africa.
I believe that Julia is one of the best models that Africa has to offer, she knows how to own the runway and her fashion editorials are always pleasing to the eye and I remember when I first saw her on the runway at Mercedes-Benz fashion Week Joburg, I was really captivated by her. I have been following her career ever since. In one of our talks she explains that although modelling takes a lot of hard work, patience and persistence, she is grateful for each and every opportunity that she has ever gotten as she’s had the opportunity to work with amazing brands and fashion designers.
She recalls one of her favourite shoots to date was when she worked with her twin sister Janet Otobo for Luminance Magazine in South Africa while also having graced the cover twice. Julia is currently living it up in ‘The Big Apple’ and has booked multiple shows for a number of designers like Chromat and Marc Jacobs at New York Fashion Week. The model’s ultimate goal is to walk for Victoria Secret in a glorious Afro (like Maria Borges recently did) in order to show the world that Black hair is beautiful. I can surely imagine that, can you?
Tim Hulme Photography
Steven Love Menendez
Luminance: Sivan Miller
Article originally published on Moon-Look Mag
Themba Mbuyisa is a young brilliant photographer from Soweto who took up photography as a way to keep himself busy because he had the time and a creative eye. Photography was an impulsive decision for him and not having a camera was definitely not going to stop him from being a photographer, so he decided to enrol himself into a photography course. Themba does not believe that photography is set in stone for him. I mean, after 4 years in the industry, he’s still trying to figure himself out while not allowing ‘fame’ to get to his head. He is currently studying for his Bachelor of Science in Computer Science at the University of the Witwatersrand.
After entering Elle Magazine South Africa’s ‘ Elle Style Reporter’ for the second time after his first attempt in 2013, Themba finally won in 2016 and has been working with the magazine ever since. His win only registered in his mind when he did his first photo shoot, which he describes as being a great experience. The photographer’s creative process starts with a collage of images and notes that get revised until a clear picture comes up for the shoot. “I construct images,” he says. “My work has a thought process behind it and I decide what needs to be and how the lights need to shine on it.
Themba, who values friendship above most things, enjoys working with people who believed in him when he first started out in his career and works with young people in most of his shoots. Although he says that he does not have favourites, he especially loves working with Sthembiso Mngadi who has helped him transform his initial ideas into great images. 2017 for Themba is all about making connections and exploring other parts of photography that he has not given much attention to in the past while also putting himself out there by applying for exhibitions that he would not normally apply for. In April this year, the photographer is looking forward to being a part of the 32 nd Villa Noailles Hyeres Fashion and Photography Festival in France.
Youth Excellence Award
Sony World Photographic Awards 3rd Place National Award (South Africa) 2015
Sasol New Signatures finalist 2016
Mail & Guardian 200 Young South Africans 2016
Article originally published in Moon-Look Magazine