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Jeff Kimathi sent me a contribution for The Tee Party blog but as he runs a label championing Africa in New York, Jamhuri Wear, I thought he deserved a post here. I love the I Africa New York T-shirt doesn’t someone want to import this to South Africa for him as NY is a bitch of a flight just for a top? It’s the new Ama Kip Kip.
He’s originally from Kenya but moved to New York about 8 years ago. JZ and Akon have been spotted wearing his work so no wonder he looks happy.
Check out his profile Kenyan Immigrant Produces Popular Fashion With A Message (on NY Daily News)
I love Gareth Pugh. He’s the perfect illustration of why the UK and London Fashion Week (despite the fact he’s showing at Paris thanks to a french award) is so important to the global fashion machine. His first shows were way out there avant garde frolicks but this collection shows what happens when that creative spirit is distilled into something wearable (uh comparatively with his earlier shows). If it wasn’t for designers like Gareth we’d all have to be content with the same old evening gown/pageant frocks certain SA designers seem to think is the only real fashion. Which would be a terrible bore. The collection was kind of Elizabethan England meets Tron in stark black and white. As Susie almost says over at Style Bubble it was London only super slick.
Gavin spilled the beans on plans afoot to launch a Graduate Fashion Week over on his blog. Whether this is a good or bad thing is kind of dependent on how its run, who its run for and what people really plan to get out of it. Sadly for the students I think the reaction from most to viewing student work en masse is akin to being invited to amateur dramatics: its the kind of thing you only go to if you’ve got a (close) relative involved in and you weren’t quick enough with a good excuse for your absence. I’ve sat through a couple of graduate events and its a bit of a painful experience to be honest. That’s not to diss the students, there is undoubtedly some great young talent, and far be it from me to hinder their experience of putting together a collection and staging it. The problem is though most people would like the students work to go through some kind of editorial filter, so they don’t have to sit through hours and hours of student work in the hope of uncovering the occasional diamond in the rough.
I think maybe of more value for the few students that do have the talent to showcase publicly are events like Elle’s New Talent awards, the Vukani awards or the young talent showcases at the various fashion weeks. Maybe what we need is something along the lines of London Fashion Week’s Fashion Fringe competition (chaired by Donatella Versace this year) where finalists are mentored during and after the event rather than left to fend for themselves.
If you’re interested in this it’s worth a visit to the website of Graduate Fashion Week in the UK.
It’s always Fashion Week somewhere in the world, a comforting or hideous thought depending on your perspective. The New York Times did an interesting piece on global fashion weeks. Apparently last count there are 152 of them (and i’m betting they missed a few, Mitchells Plain Fashion Week maybe?). And yup they have noticed South Africa:
Some countries, like Australia, Brazil, India and South Africa, now have multiple Fashion Weeks, which expose local designers to a global audience and catapult some of them to bigger stages in New York and Paris. Fashion Weeks have been welcomed in Kyrgyzstan (in March) and Kazakhstan (in November) for highlighting ethnic dress in stylish ways.
Note the tone of this article is not really critical, its more of a bemused observation. Also for all the people that whenever the multiple fashion weeks are mentioned in South Africa say that even the US doesn’t have more than one fashion week this article notes that almost every major town in the US runs one. Whether you find the multiple fashion weeks a good or bad thing locally we’re really not so different from anywhere else…
And good news for Zim designers, the Creative Director of Barney’s in New York has promised to come to your next fashion week.
“Personally, I want to become the fashion editor of National Geographic,” said Simon Doonan, the creative director of Barneys New York. “When Zimbabwe has a Fashion Week, I will be there.”
Too late. It was in December.
So i’ve started another blog to host the Tee Party Project. These are some more examples of shots take an the Matjiesfontein Show’N’Tell. I’ve got some more to add on so keep an eye on the blog over the next few days. Please do let me know if you’d like to contribute to this project, the more the merrier. Hopefully we’ll throw an actual Tee Party Project party in the new year.
Just back from the Matjiesfontein Show And Tell, which was not entirely fashion related but utterly wonderful. I guess you could describe it as a micro festival (the Lord Milner only has room for 100) and it was a truly unique event. I mean where else can you listen to Afrikaans rap in the sitting room of a Victorian hotel in the desert? Anyway before you roll your eyes about going off subject I launched a new project which is vaguely titled The Tee Party (I say vaguely as i’m bound to find someones used the name already…). The idea of it is that I get my hands on pics of people wearing their favourite T shirt and they give me some idea of the story behind it. It’s not necessarily that the T shirt is the most beautiful fashion item people own, it’s rather that it means something special. From talking to people that were kind enough to bring along their favourite t-shirt to the weekend for me to snap, it seems its often more about where the T-shirt comes from. I’m going to spend some time to collate the t-shirts from the weekend and post them somewhere seperate but for now here is a sneak preview.
If you’d like to take part send me a pic (nothing fancy) of yourself wearing your most loved t-shirt and tell me where it comes from and why its your favorite. Mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
I went to the SA Fashion Week regional collection last night. I’m afraid it was just too chilly and too late in the year to have much of an atmosphere. It’s great that sa fashion week sends their collections out to the “regions” but I guess fashion is one of those things you have to do 100% or not at all. Despite some great work (Stoned Cherrie, Black Coffee, Abigail Betz) it was too much a watered down version of the main event – and we haven’t exactly been short on fashion events this year. Something has to be said about inflicting lingerie on the poor models as well – they just weren’t built for it and they were pretty much showing outdoors on a freezing night. So that’s it for SA for another year… it’s been a long journey. I guess it’s time for the winter fashion weeks now?
(the photo is from SA fashion Week in Joburg)
Vogue is doing a number of podcasts from London Fashion Week. If you haven’t figured it out you can download podcasts for free from itunes (although you can’t buy stuff yet). Interesting to note the sheer numbers now going to Vogue.com: 1.2 Million a month! I’ve said it before (and i’m horribly biased) but the web, with its immediacy and multimedia, is destined to become the dominant media for fashion. In fact it maybe already. The first podcast features Luella, Paul Smith and Temperley London.
Today i’m particularly loving Chew The Magazine a newish digital mag (made in SA just to be clear). Whilst i’m not entirely sold on the digital magazine concept (which replicates a print magazine in PDF format) this has been beautifully crafted and made with love. It’s a youth culture (whatever that actually is these days) magazine in a similar vein to ID and Dazed & Confused. The content is made up from contributions (which anyone is welcome to pitch I gather) but there is obviously also strong editorial vision involved. Weirdly enough (being a champion of all things digital) I hope they actually make it into print – somethings just are worthy of chopping down some trees for and this is one of them.
Despite being a blog geek of note I’m still obsessed with magazines and usually get a copy of ID each month (Exclusive Books imports it). One of the things I noticed in the September issue is an advert for American Apparel which is admittedly bordering on soft porn (like most of their ads). The interesting thing was that the model “submitted the shots as self portraits”. The shoot has the vibe of something you might find on a photo blog or flickr.com (sadly i can’t find a pic of it online to post). Thinking about it this is definitely a current trend and one I find quite appealing. All the gloss, retouching, styling and clever lighting is replaced by something that feels fresh, real and personal. The appeal is precisely because the pictures aren’t perfect: the light is over exposed, you can actually see real skin that hasn’t been photoshopped to perfection. Reportage isn’t exactly new in fashion but the American Apparel ad captures an interesting amateurishness that I think comes directly from the current online trends for street/party photo blogs and sharing photos with social networks. It also has the added bonus of being rather cheaper than a standard shoot and given these recessionary times the trend makes alot of sense for those on a budget (sorry to all professional models and photographers reading this).
Flicking through the rest of the magazine the Marc Jacobs ad a few pages before it also has a straight from flickr vibe to it.
Some other examples:
love Jozi does some great shoots which (as i’ve posted before) feels like they’ve just asked all their mates down to a bar/the local flyover (which is probably what they do).
Topshop recently toured a Newton Machine around some of their stores in the UK. Based on a design by Helmut Newton this allows the model/s to photograph themselves by the use of a remote control. ghd will be doing something similar(ish) as part of something called the ghd style lounge in South Africa in the near future (more on this later).