HAMAJI

Hamaji—the brainchild of Louise Sommerlatte—means nomad in Swahili: a word that embodies the spirit of her brand. As Kenyans who have always lived closely to the natural world, we can see nature’s fingerprint on both her designs and the textiles she chooses. We are excited to be part of her platform when she launches her collection on Thursday the 28th of January at 4 pm East African Time. We believe that HAMAJI will be a huge success and look forward to this collection and her brand becoming part of the world stage.

HAMAJI
HAMAJI - NOMAD in Swahili is the brainchild of Louise Sommerlatte. Hamaji is a strong word that emphasise the boldness and warmth of the textiles available in Africa and in particularly Kenya. Living close to the African wildlife while growing up, we can see nature’s fingerprint on her designs and the textiles that she likes to work with. We are excited to be part of her platform when she launches her collection on Wednesday the 27th of January at 4pm East African time. We know that HAMAJI will be a huge success and that her collection will be known in more continents than Africa in the near future.

To get to know the creator and proud owner of HAMAJI we asked Louise Neoma Sommerlatte to tell us more about herself. Her story is both unique and intriguing. We are excited to share her story with you.

Louise was born and raised in the East African bush and spent an adventurous childhood living in various parts of Kenya with her parents: her father is a wildlife conservationist, and her mother is a botanist. This involved constant moving around in nature. Hence being in nature was simply a fundamental part of her upbringing. Design became a passion. We can see how Louise has fused her love of the natural world and her passion for design. Louise graduated from Fedisa and then set her sights on travelling. She has since seen much of the world, absorbing influences from each new place. However, Africa has always had the strongest pull and is where her heart lies. After a few years of experiencing life abroad, she has come home! Louise aims to weave the spirit of Africa into each piece she designs.

HAMAJI
HAMAJI

Every HAMAJI design begins with the sourcing of the textile. The charm of African textiles lies in natural raw fibres, hand woven pieces and other organic materials. For this collection, she collaborated with @nuno.nairobi, natural dying designers who use vegetable dyes on Dhow sail materials. HAMAJI is created around the preservation of ancient textile traditions and nomadic craftsmanship. One cannot help but notice the intense buzz of African life in the textiles and design choices. Each HAMAJI treasure is unique and inspired by creating an ethical African narrative.

HAMAJI
HAMAJI

All eyes are on Africa. We are seeing an explosion of designers in the fashion industry in our beloved continent. Louise sees African design as the future and hopes to build HAMAJI into a beacon of sustainable African design. She would like to co-create with local artisans and bring Africa’s aesthetics to the rest of the world. And to conclude in her own words: “I want to pave the way for more ethical fashion practices, slow made fashion, up-cycling, sustainable design and a circular economy.”

We look forward to watching the Hamaji brand grow and will be following this journey closely.

HAMAJI
HAMAJI
HAMAJI
HAMAJI
HAMAJI
HAMAJI
HAMAJI

PHOTOGRAPHER:  J’DEE ALLIN    @HEROCREATIVEMANAGEMENT
FASHION DESIGNER: LOUISE NEOMA SOMMERLATTE
MODELS:  RANDY GOWON  @ILOVEMODELSMNGT  &  Akidor Itoo Doye
VIDEOAGRAPHER:  MAX MELESI
TEXT BY CHRISTINE BARNARD

AFRICA IS NOW MAGAZINE

AFTERNOON  ESPRESSO SHOW    SABC 3

African skin and darker skin tones need unique care and attention.  That is why Afriderm has developed skincare products for dark skin that specially target dry and sensitive areas. Afriderm’s wide range of specialised skincare products are formulated to nourish and protect the rich, exotic beauty of dark skin.

afternoon express show
afternoon express show
afternoon express show
afternoon express show

From Cape to Ciaro and everywhere in-between there is a burst of creative potential on the fashion front. Michele-Lee Collins an international makeup artist explains that to prepare your skin for a big event, you have to start the day before, by giving attention to how much moisture and water went into your skin.  Start from top to toe.  Refresh your skin first.  Don’t hold back on moisturizing your skin.  It is important to add the SP factor. AFRICA IS NOW magazine invites you to take a trip with Palesa Pali Tembe, where she goes behind the scene to see how beauty and fashion meet with style in Africa. This all happens on the set of the fashion shoot done for AFRICA IS NOW online magazine’s editorial,  that specifically combine fashion and skincare.  AFRICA IS NOW introduces the fashion conscious South African men and woman to the exciting products and designers that are doing brilliant work and is accessible to all.

afternoon express show
afternoon express show

This exciting shoot was organised and styled by the Creative director of the Magazine, Chrisna de Bruyn. The designs were all sourced from Merchants on Long street.  One of the designers of these amazing creations is Onesimo Bam from One I am.  What inspires him to design particular outfits comes easily.  He never plan ahead or think what he must do, no drawing board and rethinking for him.  He allows his emotions and feelings of the moment to flow into his designs in a playful, fun way. His work shows his personality and joy that can be seen in every one of his garments. As can seen, he uses colours that can be seen in nature.  The blue of the sky in contrast with the white of the clouds.

afternoon express show
afternoon express show
afternoon express show
afternoon express show
afternoon express show

The models of the day was Aza Mhlana from My friend Ned and Vanessa from Ice Model Agency.  The Photographer Kitso Kgori presented by Hero Creative Management make use of good lighting and angle to bring the best out of her models.  The models must feel comfortable and know what they like and stand strong and speak up on their choices and how the Photographer wants them to pose and move.  To be a top Photographer takes time and patience.  Success doesn’t come easy.

afternoon express show
EXPRESS AFTERNOON SHOW

AMAH AYIVI

Amah AYIVI, the man who turns rubbish into treasure

Interview by Manon Munerez

AMAH AYIVI

Born in Togo, then came to live in Paris as a teenager, it is in the French capital that Amah Ayivi created Marché Noir Paris Lomé. His brand, born on the mezzanine of the Comptoir Général (a Parisian bar and restaurant) offers vintage clothes that he finds on the Togolese markets, clothes that come from Europe and are sent to Africa like rubbish and that thanks to Amah’s eagle eye, come back to Europe as a real fashion piece. Over time he began to create his own pieces, inspired by traditional African clothing and revisited in his own way.

With Marché Noir, a whole sustainable side is put forward, the recycling of clothes with vintage but also the recycling of ideas with modernized traditional clothing.

Visionary, multi-faceted, an ecologist ahead of his time and above all unique and talented, it is in a Parisian café near Bastille that Amah Ayivi tells us about his projects and his universe.

AMAH AYIVI
AMAH AYIVI

AIN : What was your background before creating Marché Noir Paris Lomé ?

Amah : I did a lot of things. I studied marketing but I only worked in this field for a year because I realized that I wasn’t really interested in working in offices. Afterwards I was a casting director for 10 years, I used to do wild casting, first for a production and then I set up on my own. And I even had an African food restaurant for a while.

Then I started working at the Comptoir Général in 2012. I set up a brunch there: an “afrobrunch” in which I mixed a lot of flavors so it would be a change from the classic brunch. One day the owner of the Comptoir Général, who knew that I had a taste for style and vintage, suggested that we open a vintage boutique on the mezzanine of the restaurant.

That’s how the Marché Noir adventure began, it’s been going on since 2013 and in the meantime, I’ve become one of the directors of the Comptoir Général and then a shareholder for 5 years, until 2017.

The Comptoir Général was an incredible adventure for me because there were clothes, music, and even exhibitions and conferences. It was a great experience in my life, which taught me a lot and allowed Marché Noir concept to really develop.

AMAH AYIVI
AMAH AYIVI
AMAH AYIVI

AIN : Why do you live in Paris and how long have you lived there?

Amah : I was born in Togo and I arrived in Paris in 1983 to live with my uncle who raised me. I’ve been living there for 37 years now, so I’ve been living there for a little while. I have learned to tame Paris and I really feel like a Parisian because I love this city. I travel a lot but I like being in Paris, I love Parisian life.

AIN : Do you travel a lot in Africa ?

Amah : Yes, I travel a lot in Europe and Africa. In Europe because since I left the Comptoir Général and we closed our Marché Noir shop in the Marais, I no longer have a shop, so I’m doing Pop Up stores and projects all over Europe, for example I’ve just come back from Stockholm, where I made an exhibition about my work and the African fabric. So I travel a lot, soon I will go to Denmark and Italy. Of course, I also travel a lot to Africa, I go there 3 or 4 times a year.

AMAH AYIVI

AIN : Marché noir Paris Lomé is a unique and complete project, how did it was born?

Amah : The project was born when I was at the Comptoir Général and when we decided to open the second-hand shop on the mezzanine. For the first supply of clothes, I went to the south of France but I thought why not get my supplies from Africa, because I always remembered that in Togo we had big vintage markets made up of clothes that came from Europe, so the idea was to bring these European clothes back to Europe.

This concept was also a militant act, because Europeans send anything and everything to Africa, such as fur coats that nobody needs because it’s hot there, so I wanted to bring back these clothes sent like rubbish to Africa as treasures to Europe and that’s how the Black Market was born.

AIN : Marché noir mean Black Market, why this name?

Amah : I decided to choose this name because the clothes I buy in Africa, I find them in huge markets, which are sometimes the size of several Parisian neighborhoods, there are plenty of things and I pay for everything in cash.

It was kind of funny that I paid for everything in cash as if it was illegal, like a gangster. Plus the word play was perfectly suited to the fact that I buy the clothes in markets. Apparently this name pleases a lot but at the beginning I wasn’t sure because it’s daring and it has a double connotation.

AIN : Do you find all the clothes you sell in Africa?

Amah : Yes 90% of the vintage is sourced in Africa and for some time now I have been designing my own creations, which are based on a traditional Ghanaian outfit called the Batakali, made from a fabric called Kenté. It is a fabric woven in strips which are then sewn together, I use a Kenté from Ghana. So everything is produced in Africa because I really wanted to work with African craftsmen on the spot and show that it was possible to have “made in Africa” which was very well made and of very good quality.  Moreover my clothes continue to rise in quality because I am demanding and the European and American markets where I sell a lot are also very demanding.

It was a real will on my part, I didn’t even think for a second about producing somewhere other than Africa.

AMAH AYIVI

AIN : In the beginning you only offered vintage clothes at Marché Noir but today you also create your own clothes, why?

Amah : It’s a good question because I’ve always been asked to design my own clothes but I never really wanted to because vintage is very important to me because I’ve been dressing in vintage since I was 15 years old and I’m a bit against mass production so I didn’t want to create and produce new clothes.

Then I wanted to create this Batakali outfit that I told you about, inspired by my father but also by the former President of Ghana, Jerry Rawlings, who when he went to meetings at the United Nations or met other political figures wore the Batakali, he represented Ghana in his traditional dress. It was these two people who inspired me when I felt ready to design.

It’s not mass market products, it’s handmade, I don’t produce a lot of pieces because each one takes time to make.

AIN : What are your references and inspirations in terms of style?

Amah : The person who inspires me the most is my father, I realized not long ago that he inspired me so much, when I was asked this question before I said that it was the street or Africa that inspired me.  But I managed to put a name to my main inspiration and it is really my father, I still have images of him in my head from when I was a child, that I used to go with him to his tailor’s, I remember his three-piece suits, his boubous and his hats. He had that African elegance, which is perfectly clear to me today.

And there is also the style and attitude of the 60s and 70s in Africa, which can be seen in the photos of Malick Sidibé or Seydou Keïta, which inspires me in my style and in my creations.  Today’s Africa inspires me less in terms of style, but its energy inspires me a lot, especially that of young African creators.

AIN : You have also created a style office for other designers, how did you come up with this idea?

Amah : I created this style agency with Sam and Shaka from Art Come First because people told us they liked our style, we were sometimes asked to take pictures of us. We realised that some brands and agencies were using our photos for their moodboards. We then thought that people use and sell our photos to make money, why not create our own agency and sell our expertise by ourselves.                .                                                                                                                                      

You always have ideas in your head and it’s not easy to implement them, it’s easier through an agency that is something concrete where people can understand what you’re doing.

For example, for the exhibition I recently held in Stockholm about my work and African fabrics, our agency did the curation. We mix our brands and our agency to best represent our universes.

The idea behind this agency is to take our universe and our creative know-how with the DNA of others to offer them something efficient. It’s about sharing and collective expression.

AMAH AYIVI

AIN : In your concept there is a sustainable aspect that goes against mass consumption, why is this important to you?

Amah : I think it was something natural, having grown up in Africa, we were already recycling a lot, not to mention saving the planet, it wasn’t fashionable. In Africa, therefore, we recycle when we need it, the slightest object that we have used is recycled, whereas in Europe we throw it away. I think this idea of reuse stayed in my mind, as a child I always played with recycled toys, as a teenager, after my arrival in France I took a taste for vintage.

I always say that the idea of up-cycling doesn’t make sense to me because I was already practicing it before the word existed. I was already sustainable at the time when nobody talked about it.

I’ve never liked the mass market, I’ve always liked to mix new and vintage.

It’s part of my DNA and that’s what I defend through my ideas, because it’s not only through clothes that we are sustainable, I like the idea of recycling heritage and that’s typically the case of the Batakali which is a traditional outfit that is hundreds of years old that I recycle by modernizing it.

AIN : There is more and more talk about African designers and the expansion of the fashion industry in Africa, what do you think of the fashion industry in Africa?

Amah : I don’t necessarily feel like I’m part of the fashion world, but I love style, that’s what drives me. It’s through style that I talk to people about vintage and recycling, and it’s also through style that I talk to people about African fabrics.

I like this generation of African designers, who offer very interesting things, there are some very good ones with a totally different look because some of them grew up here in Europe and came back to Africa, others have always stayed in Africa but sell in Europe so it’s very interesting to see that finally today we talk about African fashion but for me it has always existed.

People like Jean Paul Gaultier or Yves Saint Laurent have always been inspired by Africa but have never expressed it clearly, at least not out loud. So for me what’s happening today with fashion in Africa is a continuity, it’s something natural, this energy that has been swarming for some time and  it’s coming out.

It also works because we Africans accept ourselves and we are proud of who we are, whereas before that wasn’t necessarily the case, before Africans didn’t dare to say they were Africans, we wanted to look too much like occident and do things that pleased occident. As we accept ourselves today, what we offer is different, our creations now have this African imprint which makes us all the more respected. For me, this is the key to what is happening today.

When you see the young designers from Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast or South Africa who have nothing to envy the Europeans, it doesn’t surprise me that we talk so much about fashion in Africa.

AIN : How do you see the future of Marché Noir?

Amah : I’ve been doing this for 7 years and I’ve never made a website, so between now and November I’m launching the Marché Noir website.

By the end of the year I’m also going to open a small shop in Togo, because being confined there for three months, I saw things differently, even though I go there often, I’ve never stayed there so long before, so I wanted to open a shop there.

And for me the expansion of Marché Noir will focus on vintage and design elements but also do more work with African designers. With Art Come First we are trying to expand our agency in West Africa to work with and represent young African designers around the world.

AMAH AYIVI

CREATIVE DIRECTOR & STYLING:  AMAH AYIVI  WWW.MARCHENOIRLOMEPARIS.COM
STYLING ASSISTANT:  @MRDESIRE.ARTFROGENTLEMAN
PHOTOGRAPHER:  ADOTE @FUTUR_LOADING
PHOTOGRAPHER:  ANDRE WESIEBO
PHOTOGRAPHER:   LASSE FLODE
PHOTOGRAPHER: NIKLAS NYMAN
MODELS:  IBRAHIM IBRO DIALLO
KEVANE
FRANCOIS

MADONSELA

With a really tough but progressive year, Prince and Warren Meko haven’t stopped to amaze us with their passionate drive towards their personal growth.  This year alone they’ve graced us with beautiful projects from Kasi Vogue, 68 Madonsela “Lerato La Stupu” and now they present us with their first collection MADONSELA which is a continuation from their beautiful Kasi stories.  Aiming to forever share light through their work to inspire
and give hope endlessly.

DXXL SS21

SS21 Collection: Madonsela

Life’s formative moments come when one least expects them, through those moments you understand your purpose and establishment in existence. “MADONSELA” highlights the purity of a black child, and this is measured by the intensity of the surroundings they inhabit during adolescence, which eventually amends characteristics that embody self-preservation.  Coming from Katlehong,  a township,  that has bread mature understanding of the nature and cultural development on the modern generation,  gave life to our first collections that draws so much character from this environment.

The collections objective, at its inception, rested on what would constitute an “Idea” about which there was much debate, concluded and changing the perception of what could possibly change the narrative of a young black child’s aspirations, from childhood memories, and pieces of what complete the meaning of being from Madonsela. Influenced by characters that have faced deep life chronicles,  and have lived beneath the surface of being undermined and unwanted, each and every garment is named after those individuals, where we highlight their light, through environmental barriers and community prejudice.  Recreating an imaginary world where fashion brings light to the dark psychological mental mind-set we’ve implemented in the township.  We introduce DXXL INTRO PART 1: MADONSELA by Dresscodexxl.

DXXL SS21
DXXL SS21

As personal as this can be on any brands first collection, this journey has to embrace the fundamental qualities of representation to what this collection stands for, giving knowledge to a young mind towards greater possibilities and enlightening the eye within troubled barriers and the manner in which it articulates itself, the stretch of human evolution from a small township called Katlehong to the world. Prince Katlego Meko, Itumeleng Warren Meko & Shumani Muvhlawa known as Dresscodexxl take you on a heartfelt road trip to what we might consider Fashion Gospel that has emotional attachments to heart and soul, that’s relatively the idea presented by DXXL INTRO PART 1: MADONSELA.

DXXL SS21
DXXL SS21
DXXL SS21

”How does one begin to identify honesty in self, when sometimes self is who you are in confrontation with”

Madonsela is more the just a collection but more of an inner conversation with your inner desires that build independence within individual identification. How an individual sees themselves through their own reflection and the attitude they adapt growing up in the streets that don’t allow their dreams to flourish, and the idea that constitutes monogamy within what they want, against what they are faced with is a challenge that lives in our 4rooms and backrooms, MADONSELA serves purpose for dreams lost in shadows, mist, dust that floods us with stereotypical mainstream blindfolds.

DXXL SS21
DXXL SS21
DXXL SS21

We introduce Dresscodexxl Madonsela our first collection breading clothing that expresses luxury from a warm place with a beautiful set of complete pieces of garments, 13 in total. We wanted to establish clothing that could be easy to wear and comfortable enough to show off when it’s necessary, with an elegant, no frills approach to dressing incorporating fluid lines, simple cuts and lengths of durable fabric.

DXXL SS21

With the first of many we believe this collection will connect with people through an amazing story alongside beautiful garments. In a world where expressions are moved, translated through the art of fashion.

DXXL SS21
DXXL SS21
DXXL SS21

EXPRESSIONS OF PINK

Moving us to an alternative world, where gender plays no specific role, this fashion story is a collaboration between Blünke Trotse Tert and Shana Morland’s celebration of pink. Though very different, their love and implementation of the colour merges together an otherworldly-ness which is full of boldness and flamboyance. This western-influenced,  modern-day fairyland is expressed through dreamlike ruffles and signature lace. While kitsch and frilled, it is also tailored and precise, merging sophistication with flair. Blünke Janse van Rensburg, aka Trotse Tert “the Lonely Cowboy  collection” transcends gender boundaries to tell a story about self-expression that ignores preconceived notions of masculinity and femininity. The past merges with the present in flamboyant ruffles,  bell-bottoms and remnants of French Baroque. Drama and flair quieten down when combined with Shana’s timeless, dreamlike  creations, which  speak to a stillness in the world. The different approach in the use of pink in both designers, both bold and subtle, reminds us that moments of play fashion are still possible in our contained environments. Read a little more about the artists below:

PINK

AIN:
Tell us about yourself.
Describe yourself in 3 words. Or phrase

Shana Morland:
Passionate about creating, Problem solver & Always seeking happiness.

AIN:
Tell US a little bit about your journey towards becoming an artist.

Shana Morland:
I am lucky enough to have one of the best designers, and mentor at my fingertips. There has been no better person to learn from than my mother, Stefania Morland. She has an amazing appreciation for design and she truly creates art in every garment. Apart from her endless wisdom, I studied fashion Design at CPUT and worked for my mom thereafter.

AIN:
Who/What Do you feel, contributed most to your growth as an artist/designer?

Shana Morland:
I grew up in an extremely arty family. Every house we lived in was designed by my dad and we would move in while it was still a building site. I think this way of living contributed to the way I perceive things now – I want to understand the design, work out how its made and then dive in adding myself to the mix. My love for fashion definitely comes from my mother. During my school career she was a wardrobe stylist for TV commercials and I would spend a lot of my time helping her, which made me want to follow suit. But then in my final two years of high school she opened her boutique and I was hooked from the start! I loved the energy of creating an environment that was uniquely her, and her way of making art through fabric to make every woman who walked through her doors feel their best.

PINK

AIN:
Do you feel the way you use this colour speaks about masculinity/ femininity or the preconceived notions our society has on gender?

Shana Morland:
My main aim with the clothing I make is to allow the wearer to convey to the world the way that they want to be seen. My personal chose of clothing reflects me – my attitude to life and it allows me to convey a message without having to verbally say anything. Society will always have preconceived ideas, but I do think it has loosened the ropes on what was previously considered as masculine or feminine.

AIN:
What do you think of the term “African Designer” and where do you see yourself within this world

Shana Morland:
The term African designer has such a wide scope – In the context of where I was born, and the many generations before me I am African at heart. I also come from a forward thinking Afrikaans heritage which didn’t give me a close connection to any form of ‘cultural aesthetic.’  My clothes are not political, nor trendsetting but my mission is to keep it strictly local and design for anybody who takes into consideration the footprint and story behind the garments.

AIN:
How do you feel about African Fashion’s role on the international fashion platform?

Shana Morland:
I think our design is super strong, as well as our resilience to overcoming any obstacles.

AIN:
What are the challenges you face as a designer in the current state of affairs and economic climate in Africa in general.
Any thoughts on that?

Shana Morland:
As local designers we do face the struggles of lower price points of imported clothing. However, it’s important to always recognise our niche and remain true to this. It’s also important as a designer to listen, evolve and keep up with the direction in which people want to engage with a brand.

AIN:
Which South African artist/designer would you love to do a colab collection with?

Shana Morland:
I’m very much into textile prints – so it would definitely be a collaboration that takes this form. There are too many brilliant artists to choose from so I wouldn’t be able to single anyone out.

pink

AIN:
…Now some questions for the Current Covid situation…
Firstly how did you experience our lockdown? Did it have any significance to how you approach your design process?

Shana Morland:
It’s quite a fearful idea as a business owner, with expenses that don’t change, to be forced to close up shop with not much notice. Also given that Cape Town is very seasonal it all contributed to going into our winter with not much financial cushioning. Looking back, it was a good time to reflect on the business and make decisions on what I wanted to change or establish. My retail shop relied a lot on tourists aswell as events happening, which forced my decision to close the shop and wait out this time and set up a temporary ’showroom’ in a different location.

AIN:
Do you think there’s anything that can be gained by being inIsolation?

Shana Morland:
I do think being in isolation gave us a chance to live life a bit slower and rethink our contribution towards society. It made me think about the things that I love, want more of, want less of and what I have been placed on this earth to fulfil. I am lucky that my career is built upon my passion, but it also gave me insight into what I want to get out of it. I still have so much that I’m looking forward to putting into motion, while remaining true to my outlook on life.

PINK

AIN:
Tell us about yourself  and/or Trotse Tert

 Is she Like an alter ego of sorts?

Blünke:
Yes, Trotse Tert is my alter ego. She is the woman strive to be. Confident, strong, she believes being different is a blessing. She’s empowering, courageous and has endless potential.  Recently, my aim is to find more confidence, strength and worth in myself, Blünke.

 AIN:
Describe yourself and/or Trotse Tert in 3 words. Or phrases

Blünke:
Erg, betowerend, fabulous!

 AIN:
Who/What Do you feel, contributed most to your growth as an artist/designer?

Blunke:
In a world where things are kak and fucked up, why not make some kitsch frilly pretty things to brighten the day.

 AIN:
What’s sparked your interest in fashion?
Or what made you decide to pursue a career in Fashion?

Blünke:
I’ve always been creative and fashion is the medium I fell in love with.  Felt it was the best way to express myself, focus on my strengths and capabilities.

PINK

AIN:
Tell me a bit about the collection featured in this article. I’m especially interested in your choice of this specific colour… Do you feel it speaks of the perceived idea of Male sexuality/femininity/gender?

Blünke:
The Lonely Cowboy Collection tells the story about being bold and expressing your true self and exploring your sexuality without gender boundaries or explanations and restrictions.  Pink is one of my favorite colors, it carries a lot of emotion and flamboyance, that’s what I’m here for, drying your tears and making beautiful creations that your heart desires.

AIN:
What do you think of the term an “African Designer” and where do you see yourself within this world? 

Blünke:
I’m fortunate and privileged to live in this country and to have experienced so many cultures and ideas.  It allows me to be more confident in my design choices and being open to mixing different styles.  It’s a privilege to be an African designer especially in this generation with so many different creatives doing so many exciting things.  I hope to continue growing and building something great.

PINK

AIN:
How do you feel about African Fashion’s role on the international fashion platform?

Blünke:
We deserve more credit and recognition for our ideas, creations and identity.

AIN:
What are the challenges you face as a designer in the current state of affairs and economic climate in Africa in general.
Any thoughts on that?

Blünke:
Ag, I believe that anything is possible through hard work and determination, then that shit doesn’t matter.

PINK
EXPRESSION OF PINK

AIN:
Which South African artist/designer would you love to do a colab collection with?

Blünke:
My dearest friend, Githan Coopoo.

AIN:
Now some questions for the Current Covid situation.. 
Firstly how did you experience our lockdown? Did it have any significance to how you approach your design process?

Blünke:
For the first time the world was standing still, it was an opportunity to rethink everything. It definitely forced me to think about things in a different perspective and to take the time to make some changes that would help me now and moving forward.

PINK

AIN:
Do you think there’s anything that can be gained by being in Isolation?

Blünke:
Yes, I’ve always liked working in isolation, where I can focus on myself and my craft. Although after a while I do get into my own head, doubts can be very overwhelming but then I share my creations with close trusted friends and their validation means everything.

PINK
PINK

ELEMENTS

Off the slopes of Table Mountain we’ve seen it all. From the powerful rains to wind accelerated fires scorching the earth, we can’t deny that we live amongst forces more powerful than us. As we explore this dynamic and the bold nurturing feminine energy within nature we also celebrate the skills of the talented local female designers who create a narrative between the elements of nature and design.

On the edge of Lion’s Head, burnt by the recent fires, Kat van Duinen’s  Strelitzia blouse literally bursts into magnificent flames against an otherwise blackened landscape, drawing inspiration from her range The New Now 20/21, inspired by bold colour and shapes in nature. Paired perfectly with this collection is Lorne’s striking statement earrings, creating graphic illuminating shapes that emulate the age old tradition of staring into a fire and becoming hypnotized by the mesmerizing flames.

À la une’s collection embodies the femininity, fluidity and movement of both wind and water. From beautiful washed out ocean blues to iconic white linen blowing in the wind, their range embodies a classic and iconic beauty. Lichen & Leaf’s graphic shaped earrings, made from polymer clay, are pressed and cut into beautiful shapes and colours. Playing in the wind like mobiles in washed-out tones, they capture a perfect harmony of earth playing in the wind.

Pichulik’s last two ranges celebrate a transendental mixture between mythology and ancient cultural wisdom. The beautiful shapes and materials echo influences of cultures and traditions from the past that were in touch with the earth, following the cycles of the sun, moon and seasons for guidance. The alchemy of materials and power of shapes, symbols and keepsakes are felt through these pieces, giving the wearer a window into a time we were more connected to everything.

Frances V.H and Leandi Mulder’s collaboration of beautiful mohair blankets and designs is inspired by the magical lines and textures of the arid landscape of the Karoo. The craft of mohair farming is a traditional relationship between man and nature. This handmade craft of hand weaving on a loom uses quality mohair in limited supply, making each design truly unique and precious, and promoting the focus on sustainability and preservation of this African heritage craft.

Asha Eleven’s collections embrace the new cycles of the earth, varying from the Winter Solstice to the awakening of new life in the Spring collection. The designs carry special details and personal touches like embroidered symbols on the back of dresses to beautiful multicolored tassels that have a hand made quality to them. In it’s story the brand carries special values of sustainability and working with small social empowerment groups to try and have a more positive impact on the planet through mindful manufacturing and consumption.

These are the conscious brands run by women that we are proud to feature and support.

DIRECTOR:  EMIL LIME  @thelimelife_
VIDEOGRAPHER, PHOTOGRAPHER & EDITOR:  JACOBUS SNYMAN   @_iamjacob  www.jacobussnyman.com
VIDEOGRAPHER: RU BOOYENS @i.vm.ru
MUSIC BY  “CRYSTAL LION” COURTESY OF NATIVE YOUNG & YANNICK WILDE
SPOTIFY 

STYLIST: LYAL SEBA @lyalseba   @sixloveartistmanagement
HAIR & MAKE UP: @jessleclos_mua_hair   @sixloveartistmanagement
TEXT BY:  LYAL SEBA @lyalseba

MODELS:
NOELLE GRAOBE: @graobe_noelle
IRMA AUDE: @aude_irma 
Sinovuyo Nukani: @sinonukani @bossmodelsa 

DESIGNERS:
@a_la_une_label 
@asha_eleven
@francesv.h_mohair_rugs 
@leandimulder
@katvanduinen.official
@lichenandleaf
@for_lorne 
@pichulikafrica

AKJP

As comfort in the expected suddenly ceased, the world was met with layer upon layer of a new and seemingly ever changing reality. They demanded order and we forged agility; both in fear and in hopes for a return of what we had once known.

But, through the stripping of our precious mundanity, revealed were shaking foundations of the systems in place. Left to hang are questions of who these systems are built to serve and whether they have malfunctioned or simply been uncovered. On an abandoned highway calling upon dystopian imagery, yet without the hopelessness and implore. We rather see strength; a firm calling for answers. An acknowledgment of the glitch, and a need to debug.

Mziyanda and Bryan take full form wearing AKJP, shot by Jacques Weyers. The strong contrasts in shape against overlays of monotones grip center focus. Clean cut lines transgress throughout; from angular hats and oversized belts to linked arms and sculpted jaws. Here hard lines in the pattern do not contain but somehow neutralize. Weyers’ use of color and pixelation not only nods to the glitch but further subdues the presence of pattern. AKJP has created stylistic yet functional garments that flatter the figure within. The texture is incorporated through the elevated line and pattern work, moreover by the unexpected harmonies shared between selected pieces. Styled by Gavin Mikey Collins, the union of ballooning shapes and feminine flow is sharpened with fierce clashes of print, color and accessory details.

With models serving us intrusive eye contact and rigid form, the theme of continuous lines is carried through. We are given shifts in the balance between masculine and feminine energy through pose, expression, cut, and flow.

Metallically luminous beauty is created by Michelle-Lee Collins. An empty highway during load shedding – with an oncoming car’s brights locked on. A mix up of chunky and intricate silver wear ping on notes of minerality; preciousness of the earth. Mziyanda and Bryan tease us further with shimmer overspills; a dare to try to outshine their glow.

Restricted only in physical space. A force toward growing, morphing and evolving, all while mourning what was lost. The glitch that opened eyes wide and cleansed minds with tides and recirculated flow so that we could all die and then arise.