By: Candice Morrow
Fashion is an art, an expression and most of all it seems to make the world go round. It’s no wonder then that we spend so much time stalking our favourite bloggers, designers and online shopping sites with our maxed out credit cards just for a quick fashion fix. It’s a language many understand and breaking the rules is what sets each and every one apart and boy are we glad for this evolution.
I’ll confess that I spend way too much time skimming the streets of Pinterest, coveting and building my imaginary closet with only the finest fabrics, the perfectly cut blazers paired with classic cut ankle grazer pants to offset the nude stiletto matched with layers of metal and ornate accessories. Oh but it’s a beautiful world to live in, the billowy summer elegance of formal dresses and the feminine frocks rocked with androgynous heels. But, lately I’ve been bothered by the meagre presence local fashion and designers on Pinterest. Its common knowledge that the South African fashion scene is booming and is ready to burst at the seams and taking local fashion up the rungs of international recognition.
This is a time when South Africa should be taking its stand, leading and not following. What with the advent of forward thinkers giving birth to projects like the inauguration of the Annual South African Menswear Week where local brands and designers show casing their talent that ticks all the right boxes on the fashion sheet. The likes of Mzukisi Mbane, Ruald Rheeder and Kim Gush were just among the few who made headlines for their out of the box designing, stylists like Trevor Stuurman styling for designers likes of Mille Collines and as for Shirt&Co I have no words really. The craftsmanship in these designs is evidence that we are not cut of the fabric of followers but we cut our own fabric as leaders. The street style and the perfectly styled attendees of the various shows erased whatever doubt I had about the capability of South Africans both on the Runway and off. Thanks to the guy who invented the internet we got to get front row seats to the shows and backstage passes via the many images posted and videos by the many that were fortunate enough to attend the shows. The turnout rose as high as the colourful flag we hold in high esteem and this made my heart swell with pride.
As I go back to troll Pinterest I find that none of this beauty is reflected on one of the most popular fashion centres that is used by many for inspiration and just to while time really. On searching anything South African I’m met with a few local images and the rest are of every other country south of the equator. We of course have more than a lot to offer, we have creative designers, we have beautiful fabrics that are ours and ours alone. We have IsiShweshwe, the colourful Vhenda garb, Umbhaco, beadwork, ooMaCele, Iimbhadada etc.. Every nation has its own attire that is unique to its people but none of it is reflected on the international stage. This is the time when we should be teaching the world about what we are through our fashion sense, how will they then know us if we mimic them? How will we inspire the world to take a leaf from the many books we are blessed with when we are not using the books ourselves but instead carry their books around?
We’re on what I would call a fashion peak and the world is watching and waiting because they are ready for something different, something unique and we should take full advantage of this window open just in time. I’d like to see fashion pages splashed in colour, fabrics and textures that even I can make a noise about, enough to bombard my facebook friends with links until they know the names of the designers by heart. Maybe I need to be the change I want to see, support local and show them that we see them, change begins with one person I am told.