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Another one of the MTN Young Designers was Chimera by Becky Beukes. Of course this being South Africa you need to take a firearm down the ramp in case those sneaky hijackers try anything. This is kind of cute I suppose and the World War 1 styling adds a certain Am Dram charm to the whole thing.

 

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You may have figured out i’m not actually at Durban Fashion Week… but some of the bloggerati is. Love Affair With Fashion (slightly more on the breathlessly enthusiastic side than this blog possibly) is posting from backstage at the event. Go girl.

No reason to include this really other than to say i’m quite excited personally that the Princess Leia slave girl look from Jabba’s palace is going to be hitting the beaches this summer. Designer is Dax Martin – again can’t tell you so much about him but did pinch this pic of him from his Facebook page and he looks naughty (it’s all in the eyes).

 

Nice to see that all that metallic stuff i bought at the end of last year will last another summer… Although if you judge by some of the collections looking like a quality street wrapper is also going to be big. What is that on the poor models head though? This is from the splendidly named Duke Mngadi. Sadly can’t tell you anything about him or what the KZNDACT show he was part of was all about as there is nothing on the internet whatsoever about all that. Hot tip to aspiring designers – even if its just a Facebook page or something on blogger its really handy for people to be able to find out a bit about you. I’d even go as far to say your collection is a complete waste of time if you’re not going to bother to market it a bit.

Karishma Krishna was another one I liked. Kind of Bladerunner meets Bollywood daddies girl gone bad.

I pinched this from her website:

Karishma Krishna, a South African Fashion Designer of Indian descent, has been pursuing fashion since she was a child. She was Introduced to the fashion industry in 1992 as a finalist in South Africa’s Miss India. Karishma graduated from the Kwazulu-Natal University with her Degree in Fashion Design in 1997. She then went on to become the designer for the International Clothing Conglomerate, Truworths. She was an in-house designer and fashion trend researcher for two years before coming to Taiwan. Karishma established her own label in Spring 2003, which enabled her to pursue her own unique style of fashion.

Pics courtesy of Simon Deiner

Durban Fashion Week (DFW) is becoming increasingly a showcase for young designers (although more established designers like Gavin Rajah are also showcasing work there). Having flicked through the press shots there are a handful of designers that are kind of interesting. Not to bitch about the others but somethings i’m just not interested in (evening gowns, cheap denim, uninspired afrochic being just some of them). Stephan Van Eeden was one of the first designers on the ramp of the summer fashion season as part of the MTN Young Designers Showcase and is one to watch. He’s from the Stellenbosch based Elizabeth Galloway Academy and I quite like his roll around on the design room floor and see what sticks approach. While some might criticise him for quite a wild blend of different styles (part of this is just whacky catwalk styling) I think this is kind of a strength. In fact it fits the short attention span/blur of information that is modern living (scary flashback to my drama school essays…).

Photos are by Simon Deiner who is also available for weddings and children’s parties.

Although not genetically tuned to this stuff even I can smell a whiff of the handbag zeitgeist in the (slightly soggy) capetonian air. Missibaba was a tip from uber stylist Chrisna de Bruyn, backed up by my fiance who assures me that they’re “very nice indeed”. The bags (and belts) are designed by Chloe Townsend who studied at the London College of Fashion, and produded by local craftswomen. Ladies ditch that replica Louis Vuitton bag you picked up in Green Point and shop local before everyone else gets one.

Ok, i’m in two minds on how to approach writing about Springleap. On one hand I’m really excited that someone has launched a website like this for South Africa. On the other it is basically Threadless for locals – and i’m a bit bored of carbon copies of international web business ideas. Also, and correct me if i’m wrong here, but a R2 royalty doesn’t sound like alot for the designer if the t-shirt costs R183?

The concept is that graphic artists etc submit T-shirt designs and the most popular ones get made and sold. As a business they could be onto a winner as Threadless is ridiculously popular on a global scale.I’m going to put my cynicism aside and come down on the side that this is a good thing as what really matters is the designs are local (and mostly rather good) and the site is slickly put together. They also don’t hide that Threadless was the inspiration (see release below) so that’s kind of fair enough.

What i’ll be interested in seeing is if it develops along its own creative path or just stays content to shadow Threadless.

This is their press release:

Design meets online

Launched on 20 February 2008, Springleap is SA’s newest addition to groundbreaking Internet companies taking the online community by storm. Loosely categorized as a social media come online retail outlet, Springleap invites visitors to the site to submit their T-shirt designs and win if their design is voted for by the burgeoning Springleap community.

Created by successful serial entrepreneurs Eric Edelstein and Eran Eyal, co-owners of eSquared Fashion, Springleap is South Africa’s new and improved answer to Threadless.

Proudly Mzansi, Springleap aims to uplift and empower South Africans from the ground up. “We offer artists, designers and people with something to say the opportunity to be publicly showcased. Call us a gallery without walls if you like, but what better way to get known than to have your designs emblazoned on a t-shirt?” says Eran Eyal.

Once you’ve joined the Springleap community, you can create your own profile; upload, vote and list your favourite designs; comment and respond to what others are saying about the latest entries or celebrity duals and update your status – similar to Twitter and Facebook.

Each month a winner is chosen based on the highest average community rated score for a design. The winner, plus 19 runners up, will see his/her design printed on high quality slim cut t-shirts that can be ordered via Springleap.com or bought at one of Springleap’s exclusive partners eSquared in Durban and Cape Town or at Big Blue in Rosebank, Irene and Kalkbay for the first 30 days. Thereafter the t-shirts will be available via local resellers who, once approved, will be able to log into Springleap.com and order the desired number of t-shirts they require based on the demand from their target market.

Says Eric Edelstein: “For us empowering designers is fundamental to Springleap’s ongoing success. For each t-shirt we print the winning designer will receive a R2 royalty and the runners-up a R1 royalty. This also applies to all reprints of t-shirts which, depending on fan demand, could earn designers some unexpected yet deserved income. Having your art showcased in a public domain and getting paid for it to boot, is what is so exciting about this venture.”

With some sought after prizes and unavoidable fame up for grabs, Springleap really is going all out to showcase its winners. With each Springleap t-shirt you buy you receive a postcard featuring the design plus the designer’s bio, a bookmark showcasing all the other designs of the month – in case you decide to buy another T-shirt for your collection – and your t-shirt, featuring the designer’s name on the back. And if you’re truly a fan, you will most likely want to order a limited edition poster featuring your favourite winning design.

T-shirts will cost R183 inc. VAT and courier costs. Anyone can submit a design or join the community and best of all, it’s free!

We wrote about Doktor and Misses a week or two back. The good news for Capetonians is their T-shirts are going to be at the WITW Design Studio on Hope Street as well as a whole bunch of other fashion and design stuff. Launches this Thursday 26th June at 6PM. Count me in.

Note the date correction (oops sorry about that)!

Mungo & Jemima is a new(ish) boutique on Long Street, Cape Town championing local designers such as Coppelia, Good Clothing, Brut Sauvage, Miyabi, Holiday, Superella, Two, and Paige Smith. They also have Jewellery by Skermunkil, Blackbird, Tanya Wheeler and Peter Eastman and accessories by Missibaba and Twostars. I caught up with Marian, one of the two partners behind the store:

Sass: What inspired Mungo & Jemima?

M&J: The idea was for us to open a store that could be a showcase for our own clothing labels, Coppelia and Good Clothing, and other carefully selected South African designers. We wanted to create a space not previously offered on Long street: somewhere open and spacious where each designer has scope to be fully appreciated.

Sass: What were you doing before it existed?

M&J: Kirsty Bannerman had previously opened MeMeMe, a clothing boutique in Long Street and has been designing her label, Coppelia for 8 years. Marian Park-Ross had been designing Good Clothing for 6 months while phasing out her stills photographic production career.

Sass: What kind of customer is the store aimed at?

M&J: The modern South African woman who is looking for an alternative to the mass produced looks of the season; a discerning shopper.

Sass: What are you looking for in the designers you work with?

M&J: Quality and the small details that make something special.

Sass: If you had to pick an essential item to get for winter in Cape Town what would it be?

M&J: One of our warm winter coats and TwoStars leather boots.

If you’re in Cape Town the store is having a launch party/night shopping evening this Thursday (26th June). Find out more at their Facebook page.