Going to ‘Khayelitsha Fashion Week’, I honestly had no idea what to expect. The “black mentality” side of me told me that I’m probably going there to waste my time and money, but I’ll go anyway, just to check it out. The Queening side of me told me not to expect anything and take the experience as it comes. That’s exactly what I did and – DAMN! Boy am I glad I went.
So the day started pretty slow – I got there late, the show started late (African time much?). But I was glad because it bought me some time to mingle and get to know all the people involved (designers, organizers, models, stalls, all the works) a little behind the scenes.
When the actual fashion show finally started, it kicked off with a morbid, but necessary message for the continued fight against women and children abuse. The message was a sad reminder of the constant fear that women and children in our country have to suffer on a daily basis. Recently in my original hometown of Mount Frere in Transkei (I was born in PE but my family is from Transkei) – a young man kidnapped, killed and ATE a woman in broad day light! These, unfortunately, are the realities that we have to face. The message reflected on the #KFW17 catwalk was a loud cry with a strong and impactfull meaning. Sad as it was, I really appreciated the effort of raising awareness to real issues that affect our communities.
The runway had a few street style and casual wear brands that I’ve since gotten to know.
A favourite of mine and the first designer that I had the pleasure of interviewing. A casual wear brand owned by three cousins; Sibabalo, Sphiwokuhle and Siyavuya Dyasi from Cross Roads.
These are young men who all come from disadvantaged backgrounds, but instead of complaining about the shortfalls of our government that we are all aware of, they decided to take the initiative to actually start creating jobs for themselves and other youth who come from the same communities that they do.
All three of these gentlemen do not have a fashion background, but they ventured into fashion because of the appeal that it has to young people – their target market, where two of them are IT Professionals and the other a Chemical Engineer. They used these skills to start a company that encompasses all of their professional skills, ‘Trending Solutions’, which has smaller subsidiaries: ‘Trending Technologies’ and ‘Trending Entertainment’.
According to them, the name ‘Trending 3 Dot’ was formed through the analysis of social media trends. They wanted a name that had the ability to be relevant and on par with current social trends, as well as harnessing growth by maintaining sustainability – which is reflected by the ‘3 Dots’.
They pride themselves by being able to create jobs for other youth. Currently they have a graphic design intern who has a one year contract. And by supporting the brand, it gives other people an opportunity to have employment.
Another favourite, who was also a crowed favourite and probably the best casual brand that showcased – is a street wear brand that hails from Philipi. Established in 2014 as ‘Xhosa Swag’, then rebranded to ‘Blaq Ngamla’ so it could appeal to a larger and more culturally diverse market.
‘Blaq Ngamla’ is owned by a young man who calls himself ‘Twoo’, who’s originally from Cofimvaba in the Eastern Cape. The name originates from the colloquial word SA black people use to refer to white people, ‘ngamla’. The name is meant to appeal to all people living in Africa from black to white, Lesotho to Cairo.
Which started in 2016 by co-founders, Lutho Andries, Phumlani Mantlani and Themba Mboyiya. The brand’ uses very catchy and relevant phrases, with slight undertones of humour that appeals to it’s target market.
A vintage wear brand owned by Yola and her partner. Who are self-expressed thifters, offered us trendy style notes that appeal to millennials. And they sell everything for just R90! However, as beautiful as their clothing was, I just don’t see how appropriate it was for a fashion show. Seeing that fashion shows and runways are usually used as a platform for newly designed clothing. But I loved them nonetheless.
Nesh Couture was by far my favourite and best designer at the show for me. Owned by Thuli Sandile from Khayelitsha, she brought class and elegance to the catwalk. She gave me authenticity just when I was starting to crave true design and I loved her show!
Nesh Couture is a brand that started in 2013 that is aimed at young and middle-aged, working class and varsity stage women. Their style is classy, semi-formal, smart casual, perfect for the day and night time.
The spring/summer collection they showcased had a mixture of old and new school and a retro feel with a lot of flare and a sprinkle of African print.
The only phrase I can use to describe Sinethemba Harmans is ‘Creative Genuis’! A pure talent who hails from eMfuleni who owns a unisex brand that makes evening and smart casual wear.
He started sewing in 2015 and didn’t necessarily regard himself as a designer but rather a tailor. He started the brand in 2016 after an unfortunate event with his employer then. According to him, growing up, he never really liked clothing design. When he started – he didn’t feel confident as a designer but rather a tailor. But took a risk, even though he did not know much about designing.
Specializes in custom made and ready to wear clothing and for a guy who grew up not liking design, he sure made a complete turn of events by harnessing the talent that was in him with just a little leap of faith.
Another great young talent that blessed us on the catwalk. This is a brand owned by the young woman and designer, Sisipho Krewu and her partner. Also originally from Cofimvaba, but lives in Khayelitsha. She is a self-taught designer with an impeccable sense of style and creativity. Definitely one to watch out for.
I didn’t get to see or interview this particular designer and I’m hurt! But looking at that jumpsuit and all their other designs, they sure as hell set the catwalk on fire!
I saw a few noteworthy street style brands at the stalls. Particularly these two that caught my interest.
Owned by Lathetha, clothing brand owner and performing artist originally from Idutywa, but based KwaLanga (the same street the legend Brenda Fassie grew up in to be exact). Is an urban streetwear, sportswear and corporate wear brand that was established in 2016. Lathetha takes pride in his brand as a registered trademark, that Identifies itself with brands like ‘Loxion Kulca’ and international brands like Nike.
Qojiji is a slang word for the Xhosa word ‘uQobelo’, which means original. And according to Lathetha is “created ko kasi and caters for people all over – from Khayelitsha to Soweto”.
Zamagiqwa Bead Accessories
Check out all the amazing snaps my awesome cousin and partner in greatness took of all the designers! Watch out for my cover for Day 2 of #KFW17 and an exclusive street style cover!
PS: Share and tag someone that you know if you spot them on any of these images! Also, if there’s anything I missed or improperly mentioned, let me know and don’t forget to subscribe, subscribe, SUBSCRIBE! 🙂
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