In recent years, black women have been embracing and loving their natural hair, ditching chemicals and using protective hairstyles to diversify their hair. There was some kind of shift in the universe because black women started cutting short their relaxed her opting to start their natural hair journeys through locking their hair and letting it grow as it pleases. Consequently natural hair products started popping up everywhere because there was suddenly a demand for products that are specifically for black hair. There are some African women who are free with their hair in such a way that they create amazing masterpieces with it.
Laetitia Ky is a fashion designer from Cote d’ivoire who makes amazing sculptures using her hair. Laetitia is a bigger part of her art that has gained her thousands and thousands of Instagram followers. To make her hair stand out she uses threads, needles, wires and wool among other things. I have never seen such amazing creativity with hair and I absolutely love all the shapes that Laetitia transforms her hair into. Black hair is beautiful as it is versatile.
Nix Dlova as Nikiwe is best known is a fashion, hair and cycling enthusiast from Johannesburg. Nix has a blog called Own Ur Crown where she has reinvented they way we view our Betty hairstyles that we used to do in Primary school. Betty has evolved now, she had more bright colours, she is longer, she is creative and more importantly she is very adventurous and experimental. Nikiwe’s hair changes everything I see her and I love that no hairstyle of hers is ever the same and she is not shy to use bright colours (unlike me) and that is why I am living my #Hairgoals through her.
Kwena is a fashion stylist and style icon from Limpopo and she is easy to spot in a crowd of fashionistas because she is fearless in her fashion and hair. She is always trying different hairstyles from different parts of the continent and if anyone can pull off a risky hairstyle then her name is Kwena Baloyi. She just doesn’t just know how to pull off great and unique hairstyles, she also knows how to dress well and that is how she got the trendsetter title. Kwena is serious #Hairgoals and I am pretty sure future generations of black girls will learn about her and inspire to love their hair as fearlessly as she does.
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
A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to spent time at African Crest Guest House located in Three Rivers in Vereeniging in the Vaal triangle. My partner and I arrived on Friday night and we were served dinner that was specially prepared by African Crest Ronnie. African Crest Guest house has been around since 2011 and it has hosted a number of people ever since. Weddings, parties, cooperate year end parties and conferences have been held at African Crest Guest House. The second best thing is that should you have an event there, then you can hire catering equipment , as well as sound and visual equipment. The best thing is that the owner makes time for you and he is a great person to have any sort of conversation with.What I loved most about our stay there is that our food was prepared by the boss himself. He is hands on and he drove us around showing us the beautiful Three Rivers and even had a braai specially for us. The rooms have the amazing space, you could swear that we had the honeymoon suite.
Every room has air conditioner, digital sage box, Plasma TV with some DStv channels, a mini fridge, microwave, electric kettle and a flat iron. The rooms have pretty much everything you need and you have access to the pool if you fancy swimming and skinny dipping ( this you have to do when noone can see you). You can play darts and pool and other interesting games if you like to unwind and chill while sipping on something cold. The guest house could do with News channels on their TVs but it is a great place to stay at.
Should you be in Three Rivers in the Vaal area then you definitely need to check yourself in at African Crest Guest House . I promise you that you will not regret it.
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
Last night NN Vintage wowed fashion lovers with a star-studded showcase at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Joburg in Sandton. I was eager to see what NN Vintage had in store for us because I have always been impressed by their previous collections. I really relate to the garments and I am definitely the kind of woman who wears and understands NN Vintage. The African Queen trend has really taken over with women all over Africa embracing headwraps and really taking pride in their cultures. NN Vintage keeps up with the times and the collection is modern and played a lot with stripes, grays and a pop of colour just to brighten it up.
What stood out for me is that the showcasing was more than the fact that the Queens are proud of who they are. African queens love each other, they dance together, the have fun together and they generally encourage each other. African Queens uplift each other and provide opportunities to each other. That is what the African Queen trend is all about and I believe that the celebrities who walked for Nhlanhla Nciza’s show cemented the fact that African Queens support each other and they are happy for the other’s successes.
All images by AFI