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The inaugral Fashion Exchange +27 conference, spearheaded by Gavin Rajah and organised by PR agency Total Media, kicked off this week and Bizcommunity has been doing a handy little blog of the action. I didn’t go myself but reports back were good and there were plenty of bums on seats – always a chore in Cape Town. From reading the notes seems like there is plenty of common sense (i did find myself muttering “like, duh” a couple of times) in here and the conference has taken a long serious attempt to look at the business of fashion.

In fact it seems everyone in fashion has gone terribly serious of late. If certain types had their way we’d spend our time looking down our professional noses at unsmiling models with no make up on bright white catwalks and asking to examine the designers book keeping after fashion week shows.  Yes I know fashion is terribly terribly important and terribly serious. Not at all frivolous, fun or showy whatsoever.

Lighten up. Get yourself some face paint, cheap bling and lets do mud wrestling on the catwalk.

But I digress:

From Bizcommunity:

Tips on exporting

Thoughts on trends Not sure I agree with the statement that Fast Fashion is dying out. If anything its getting faster…

Sure they’ll put up some more notes on the Bizcommunity Blog over the next couple of days so worth checking out.

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The Fashion Week season is nearly upon us… Get in training now its going to be a loooonnnngggg winter/summer or is it winter? sjoe. Word on the street is there is plenty of change afoot with this years events.

MTN Durban Fashion Week 25th – 28th June

As Durban is up first they’ve published their line-up. There is alot of young designers on the bill which differentiates it from the other weeks, but also bigger names like Gavin Rajah and Leigh Schubert.

Joburg Fashion Week 23rd – 26th July

Cape Town Fashion Week 13th – 16th August

Sanlam SA Fashion Week27th – 30th August

Bloemfontein Fashion Week 5th – 6th September*

One of the interesting items from the bunch of photos sent to me by Doktor and Misses are the cardboard handbags so thought it deserved a further post. It’s a cute idea and highly practical considering the chance of having a bag stolen in SA is not unlikely. I guess just don’t get caught in the rain with one…

Oh look here is a proper street style site. There was a few of these type of sites going last year but they’ve got bored it seems (yes supersneakystreetscene I mean you!). Style Guide Cape Town I hope has more staying power. Run by a Cape Town based stylist the site features (mostly) tastefully attired real people caught  on camera round town. Personally  stalking people in supermarkets etc with a camera sounds like an awful lot of hard work but we salute you!

Speaking of the blogarazzi also check out Stylesightings – love their work.

Not sure what’s going on here but I like it. Ellomennopee is a design/fashion/art/whatever label done by someone called Tempest Van Schaik (dubious that’s your real name young lady…). This is what she says about herself:

Ellomennopee (pronounced LMNOP) is my general freelance artsy-fartsy label, and encompasses everything from art exhibitions to flyer and poster design, stylist work, album covers, murals, jewellery, illustrations and magic potions. I have a particular fondness for character design, which is evident in most of my work. The name Ellomennopee is an ode to the nostalgia of childhood’s alphabet song, when it is sung before the knowledge of an alphabet exists.

My name is Tempest van Schaik, and I’m a student of Electrical Engineering at Wits University, where I previously completed my degree in Biomedical Engineering. So although I don’t know the secret hand-shake of design’s who’s-who, I do know how to build an electrocardiogram and keep the cerebellum in-tact when removing a human brain!

You can join her Facebook group here.

Not a fashion event as such but sounds like a big bundle of oddball fun. You could describe it as a micro festival perhaps? Taking place at the Lord Milner, a victorian-era hotel in Matjiesfontein (the middle of frickin nowhere) , the event is completely made up of what the 100 or so people that can fit in the town bring to it. Last year that included gigs in hotel rooms, DIY video screenings, landscape art and DJ sessions in the hotel bar. This year who knows… me actually I’m planning a screening of Paris Is Burning a turkish/bollywood DJ set and a take over of the Musicord system (cute built in radios you’ll find in your room).

Vist the blog for more information.

You can also read my article from last year’s event.

Another video picked up as part of that Nike project (damn!). This  time its a short clip from what i assume is a longer documentry on Sibu – crazed fashion visionary dude from Soweto. Shot by (the effortlessly cool) Suede from MTV Base. Hope they’re not making this all up…

I’m up in Pretoria for the weekend. I’d like to believe that it’s not a cultural desert and that somewhere underground there exists a scene of wild eccentrics (like back in Eastern Germany where the coldwar kids would gather in basements and listen to rock and roll) sadly it’s not true. They’ve all moved to Joburg/Cape Town/Auckland. I did pick up a splendid Craig Native T-shirt from the Brooklyn Mall though. What sold it was the slogan Native 1984. It’s a little known fact but 1984 was the best year for music ever and we’re still in the shadow of its awesomeness. Anyway in the abscence of something crazy new to talk about I thought i’d pinch some photos from Craig Native’s Facebook group. Craig seemed to slip off the radar over the last two years compared to some other designers but since showing at last year’s Sanlam SA Fashion Week and producing a splendid retro sports collection he’s totally back. Apparently he’s designing a range of African inspired sportswear for Puma in the run up to 2010 (no doubt we’ll see other similar collaborations in the near future with other megabrands and locals – kerching!).

(originally written for Dazed & Confused – yup story isn’t South African… I make the rules, I break them)

Bombay Electric is a small boutique in Coloba, Mumbai that, since its launch in late 2006, has quickly established itself as the centre of the city’s fashion scene. In fact, its appeal has spread considerably further: I first heard about the boutique at home in Cape Town, and the international glitterati also seem to have discovered it (Liz Hurley and Jade Jagger popped in just last week apparently). It’s the kind of place, like Colette in Paris or Dover Street Market in London, which feels more like a gallery space than a shop, with a passion and enthusiasm for progressive design, and its success has certainly been helped by a new wave of strong Indian talent, with designers blending centuries of tradition and craftsmanship with radical (but wearable) experimentation. I spoke to co-founder and Creative Director Priya Kishore.

Me: Tell me a bit about your background and how that influenced the creation of Bombay Electric.
PK: My husband and I found the space (it had been disused for fifty years) and designed the interiors and branding. We kept historic features such as the original teak beams (a present from the king of Burma 150 years ago) and huge arches and pillars. We mixed Indian antiques with industrial iron racks and aluminium trunks – the philosophy was to present the space as a metaphor for the harmonious culture clash that is Mumbai – a high speed collision between the traditional and new.
As creative director I now focus on the buying and curating of the collections. I’ve taken the scenic route to retail and fashion – from studying Politics and Philosophy at Oxford and nearly signing over to academia in Chicago, to working on strategy for Harvey Nichols advertising, and then as a futurologist. I suppose Bombay Electric is a combination of my interest in anthropology, luxury retail and an unbridled optimism about the future.

Me: When did you decide to open the store?
PK: It all began on a trip to Mumbai, where my mother is from. I have been visiting Mumbai every two years since I was born, but there was one visit in 2005 that changed everything. I was inspired by the energy of the city, the speed of change and growth, and the harmonious coexistence of tradition and modernity. Mumbai is a city of extremes and opposites, and Bombay Electric is really a mirror of the city, antique and futuristic in one space, old school Bombay with the electric new future.

Me: Can you give some examples of the designers you’ve worked with?
PK: Sonam Dubal, Small Shop, Gaurav Gupta, Rajesh Pratap Singh, Rasa, Bian, Savio Jon, Puja Nayyar, Indja Pink by Vineet Bahl, Aparna and Norden Wangdi, Anuj Sharma, Anupamaa just to name a few.
The styles of our designers range from Greek Gothic saris to hand woven scarves that take a month to make. Voluminous silk mini-dresses in pop colours to subtle hand-made, hand-embroidered men’s shirts. All that links everything is designers who push the limits of traditional Indian design.

Me: Any new designers we should be looking out for in particular?
PK: Gaurav Gupta is certainly one to look out for, young, talented and ambitious; his design stands out as individual and unique. His complex drapes and ingenious silhouettes have gained quite a cult following amongst our clientele.

Me: Indian fashion seems to be thriving at the moment what do you think is driving it?
Priya: It’s such an exciting time to be in India. Indian fashion, and indeed design, are currently experiencing a renaissance. The drivers would definitely have to be economic growth coupled with a new social and creative freedom. As well as artists and designers to create a new visual language, you need an audience to consume and use the language – this is where the social growth element comes in. Bombay Electric is living and breathing because of not only our designers, but our progressive clients who have new tastes and desires for expression.

You’ll remember I mentioned the Nike Be True events? Well here are the videos. A big hot fashion mess featuring zulu pirates, psychedelic princess slave girls, space age mohair and acid show girls amongst others. Is that  a Kate Bush track in there as well? Marvellous.