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.
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
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
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
Introduction of a premium menswear brand ODRIN – for the modern man
This new menswear brand aims to help men dress better by offering a wide selection of high quality premium products that are accessibly priced, both online and at the concept store. ORDIN opens its doors to the public from 10 March 2017 at 44 Stanley in Auckland Park. ODRIN offers a combination of in-house branded items encompassing both clothing and accessories in addition to an assortment of premium brands such as Naked & Famous denim, Merz B. Schwanen, Filson, and Saint. James
Founder, Taire Avbovbo, a 2nd generation fashion entrepreneur and Harvard Business School graduate, believes in a retail experience centered around the core values of lifetime quality, the perfect fit, and price transparency. The starting point for ODRIN is how well each item is made.
“We believe that premium quality and perfect fit are two sides of the same coin, you feel great each time you wear our products because they fit really well and feel even better – this feeling remains over time because our garments are built to last a lifetime”.Likewise, transparency is a very important part of ODRIN’s identity. Every one of the products has a story and is ethically manufactured in Africa to the highest global standards. “I love that we have personal relationships with all of our suppliers; it’s such a great feeling when you get to impact the lives of communities around you” – Taire
The end result of ODRIN’s philosophy is a considered collection of all that’s needed to be the best dressed version of you.
Facebook x Instagram x Twitter: @odrin_menswear
This year Originally Kasified Clothing has been showing women’s collection starting with the Autumn/Winter collection that they showcased earlier this year at Soweto Fashion Week, which I absolutely loved. but by far this Spring/Summer collection inspired by elements of Art is my favourite.”Not only was it a part of this year’s plans but also because I’ve always wanted to make a womens wear collection since I’ve started showcasing at SFW and other shows. It gives me an ability to tell a story through the style that I’ve created in a more realistic and understandable way” , says Afrika Mabena the designer. He wanted to show his other creative side.
The collection is telling a story of a young woman who loves shopping. A clean example of someone who just got paid, looking all nice and classy, feeling herself and comfortable in her outfit. And all this happens in a mall, heading to her favourite shoe store, to pick up her favourite shoes…the rest of the story is just the imagination of how this fun concept ends. Afrika used lines, shapes and colours. The colour combinations of the outfits was amazing, it was the right amount of black and white and the equally amazing touch of mustard and burnt orange. the stripes and the blocks draw you to the collection and the colours keep you there. I imagine that it was fun for the models to wear these outfits and there is no doubt in my mind that I would have had a blast on the runway. There is nothing more sexy than an outfit that makes a woman looks stylish and still allows her to have fun and I believe that Afrika Mabena achieved style and fun in this collection.
All photos by Eunice Driver
I was first introduced to Bulbulia Threads on the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Joburg runway this August and I instantly fell in love with the brand and the amazing work done by Tasleem Bulbulia who has been in the fashion industry for over 20 years (If you ask me she does not look a day over 20). From the fashion week I loved how her show was styled, from headwraps to jackets over evening dresses. It all looked too cool. I was so thrilled when Tasleem granted me a chance to style her collection my way and I must say that I had fun playing a model for the day.
The moment I laid eyes on this pink shirt dress I was sold. For a girl who doesn’t like pink I really had fun wearing it with the colourful and very springy jacket. #ShirtDresses are the in thing and for me what was interesting was how I was gonna style it. I didn’t wanna go with the typical scandal or sneaker so I went for a high heeled ankle boot. The dress is really comfortable and I think Ghandi Square as a location really brought the STREET to my street style.
It made sense for these denim pants to be styled with my favourite printed jacket to make the look pop . I loved how comfy the pants are and the detailed buttons are everything.
Seeing this coat at the Bulbulia Threads studio meant that I just had to have it even though I was not sure how to style it. Thobeka and I decided to go with all black and just let the coat and headwrap stand out. This look made me feel like I was in a movie playing some superhero.
I really love this skirt. It is my second favourite and wearing it was loads of fun. It is full and it really turned heads in Ghandi Square. It looks like I just walked out of some movie set and I own an upmarket penthouse in Johannesburg. I had fun playing a model and now I truly believe that I can be an actress because of all the roles that I played in this shoot.
These pants are everything. Tight at the bottom but a little loose at the top allowing you to be comfortable while looking stylish.
Now this is my favourite look. I love how the yellow pops and goes so well with my skin tone. I could not wait to get into this show stopper of a dress. We styled it with Maasai beads and a shuka to make it more dramatic.
Photographer: George Lewis
Co-styling: Thobeka Mbane
Brenda Quin showcased for the first time at Durban Fashion Fair revealing a collection called ‘The Rhythm of Africa” which featured lots of colours while embracing the African Queen trend in headwraps and beads. Brenda travels through Africa a lot and that is where she drew her inspiration showcasing the vibrancy of Africa and the feel of locally produced fabrics. Having been designing for 18 years, Brenda has no interest in following international trends
Taking inspiration from the multiple cultures in South Africa, TN Collectiv’s bridal range Collectiv Culture caters for the western woman looking for a modern twist on traditional wedding dresses. Instead of creating looks that already exist, Collectiv Culture has taken what is currently available for brides looking for traditional wedding dresses and reinventing them by using different techniques, finishes and embellishments in order to introduce a new class of traditional wedding dresses. Without completely westernising the dresses, the core aesthetic for each culture was kept without compromising the traditional look so that they can be clearly translated, while staying true to the fashion needs for the modern bride. Part one of the range drew inspiration from the Ndebele, Xhosa, Tsonga, Swati, Zulu and Setswana cultures. Besides having a past working experiences with the all of the women in the bridal campaign, they are beautiful, hardworking and successful women in their own right. Making them the perfect embodiment of the brand and the ideal models for the campaign.
I feel like the collection was specifically made for these ladies as I cannot imagine another person wearing the wedding gowns that they are wearing. Before I was drawn to the dresses, I was first drawn to these ladies and felt that they belong in those dresses and nowhere else. I love that these wedding dresses have evolved with time but there are still embracing our cultures. I think it is safe to say that Africans are moving away from “White Wedding” and I love that. We are beautiful and our cultures are too beautiful, it really warms my heart to see fashion designers like Tuelo Nguyuza showing the African bride that they don’t need to walk down in a white wedding gown in order to be considered beautiful.
Photos by According to Jerri
Accessories: by NtoZinhle Accesorise