About Nontando "Sunrise" Mposo

I write about fashion, Beauty, Travel, Photography and Food. Find me on Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat @Nontando58

Capturing a revolution

IMG_2444 Fashion blogger and stylist Nabilah Kariem

While the field of photography is predominantly male, female photographers are making serious moves in the industry and defying the norm.

 

Rizqua Barnes, a Cape Town-based photographer, is someone who has been at the forefront of the new wave of female photographers who have gained well deserved recognition and praise.

“Currently, with smartphones offering high definition cameras, just about anyone can label themselves as a photographer. However, it’s the professionals such as Barnes who stand out”

The designated playing fields are social media platforms such as picture driven Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. Photographers and bloggers alike compete for a spot in glossy magazines, newspaper and online portals. The leading and popular photographer genres include general photography, socials, portraits, nature and fashion.

Carving your spot at the top is not easy, and like any other career, the field requires hard work, focus and individuality, says Barnes.

I first met Barnes about two years ago on live video sharing platform Snapchat. Her snaps (pictures of her daughter Nura melted my heart) and her everyday life intrigued me. Her diverse professional portfolio on Instagram includes photos of models, personalities, fashion bloggers and just about every other thing that catches her eye.

Curious about how she became a photographer, I asked her: “When was the first time you picked up a camera?”

She said: “I was in Standard 5 (grade 7). I don’t remember what type of camera it was exactly but I got it from my aunt and it was a film camera. I borrowed it for camp.

“I was way too young at the time and never really gave it much thought. Thinking about it now, taking pictures is something that I have always enjoyed.

“My dad Fuad Barnes had a camera as well and was always taking pictures of our family. When I finished school, my sister Quanita borrowed loaned me her camera when we went on holiday and I took pictures of everything.

“I went on a paddling boat and the camera fell into the ocean we still laugh about this until today. Since then I am always super careful with a camera.

“I was always obsessed with sunlight, light and trees. There is a certain time during the day, the hour before sunset, when the sun shines on spots which are usually hidden during the day the golden hour, it’s called”

RB pic 3.jpg

Model Ashleigh Herman wearing The Design Wearhouse 

 

Now a fully fledged “Girl Boss” #GirlBoss , Barnes credits Facebook for propelling her career to where she is now.

“I have been on my toes since the beginning of my career and I am still on my toes. Ever since Facebook happened, things have been happening for me and it hasn’t stopped,” she says.

“From weddings to engagements to 21st birthdays, matric dances and family photos. I have shot everything. Everything you can think of, I have shot it”

“But right now, I have found myself, after 10 years in the industry. I am currently enjoying fashion and portraits photography.

“All my life, I have always told myself that I want to be my own boss. I never want to work for anybody. I worked in retail for three years and it made me realise that I am worth more than a 9 to 5. I felt that I was wasting time being desk bound when I can be everywhere, meeting people, taking pictures and creating content. I have always been driven, entrepreneurship is just in my blood;

“There are times when working for yourself is scary but it’s worth it,” she says.

RB pic 2.jpg

Models Wekwa Tenzi and Alina Castle wearing Shop Brett Robson

Her portfolio now also includes wedding photography, a category she fell into by chance.“More female Muslim photographers started popping up and this was a nice thing to witness. At times when I couldn’t take on more work because I had too much on my plate, I would refer clients to other female photographers.

“It was a big deal for me because at the time I felt as if I was the only female photographer amongst males, especially in the Muslim community which was very male dominated and it was tough.

“Men and the older generations didn’t take a female with a camera seriously.

“When more and more women photographers came onto the scene, it was like a weight off my shoulders.”

How does she go from being a wedding photographer to shooting glamorous models?

“With weddings, I became more of a people’s person. I actually know how to make people relax in front of a camera. It’s a power that we have as photographers,” she explains.

“In fashion, you are one-on-one with someone, and it’s such a big deal because it’s up to me to make the person comfortable. Whether or not you are an experienced model, you still get nervous”

 

“Currently, my aesthetic is a clean and fresh look, but yet I still want the photograph to pop. I still want people to go wow! When they see it, there should be little for me to explain in a picture.

“I always want the viewer to know what they are seeing immediately. The model needs to connect with the viewer,” adds Barnes

Pic 5 Rizqua portrait by thabit.kamaldien

A portrait of Rizqua by Thabit Kamaldien

** Connect with Rizqua  on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/rizqua_barnes/?hl=en 

*See more of my work here: http://www.iol.co.za/lifestyle/style-beauty/fashion/5-menswear-trends-you-need-to-know-10442700

*See more What drives a designer?

CHULAAP caters for the woman

Spree 30 Jun9736.jpg

Fashion Designer Chu Suwannapha debuted his label CHULAAP about two years ago at the inaugural South African Menswear Week (SAMW). The unisex range was a meeting of his Eastern (Suwannapha is from Thailand) and African roots (he is based in Cape Town).

Resulting in a kaleidoscope of beautifully tailored clashing African prints in origami-like shapes. The collection was a hit that received rave reviews both locally and internationally. His creative eye for design and experience in the fashion industry is evident in each piece, making his carefully curated runway shows stand out. Suwannapha who is affectionately known as the “Prince of Prints” launched his debut ready-to-wear womenswear collection this week. I speak to him about the collection.

Spree 30 Jun10253.jpg

So Chu, what pieces make up the collection for CHULAAP’s Cruise? Well, for a start I’m not working with the Wax Prints as I usually do. The prints I have used for this collection are more contemporary and graphic – they’re Afro Pop.

“The prints are 3D and create an optical illusion with a lot of depth and dimension. I love to play with graphic lines, like the diamond shapes and the Op Art bubbles which make each piece come to life. And the colour palette I’ve chosen is monochrome and shades of blue”

The collection comprises of 17 styles including skirts, a shirtdress, trenchcoat, culottes and more – of which all are timeless and effortless pieces which will suit all different occasions. It’s a mix of feminine styles plus boy meets girl, which is both clean and modern.

What are the designs inspired by? This ready-to-wear womenswear collection is inspired by the everyday African woman, and combines a 1950s feminine silhouette and graphic prints with an oriental twist. Each piece can be worn separately or combined to make a modern statement with head-to-toe prints.

 

Spree 30 Jun10156.jpg

“Fashion should always be effortless and practical and that’s why I’ve designed beautiful garments to flatter and celebrate the African woman, who is looking for key pieces that highlight both her spirit and individuality with vibrant flair”

Why the move to womenswear? Is the approach, design-wise, different for designing womenswear than menswear clothing? I’ve wanted to create a womenswear collection for a while now, and now seemed like the perfect opportunity. My designs are always very straight forward with a twist of oriental – I like that what you see, is what you get. And my philosophy is that dressing is not about impressing the person next to you. It should be about adding personality and confidence to oneself. So my signature style didn’t change at all – you can still tell that it’s the same ‘men’s’ designer who has created this womenswear range. The only differences are the Lady Like 1950s-inspired top, dresses and skirts.

Spree 30 Jun9608.jpg

Who is the CHULAAP Cruise Collection woman? The CHULAAP Cruise Collection is aiming for the broader audiences and who’s not afraid to wear graphic prints. It’s bold but basic. I want my audience to feel pretty and sophisticated with a sense of modern femininity and sexiness when they are wearing CHULAAP.

Where do you find inspiration? Do you take design cues from outside the fashion world? I get inspired from what I see or hear around me every day such as art, culture, architecture, politics and nature. I don’t stick to one thing. I mix them together to be one story.

“Sometimes you need to create your own inspirations, like making a story board”

Spree 30 Jun9962.jpg

Last words? I’m so excited to bring my womenswear collection to market. As a designer, you put your all into your range and it’s been an incredible journey – one that I’m very proud of. Who knows what’s next. I heard someone the other day comment that it would be great to own some CHULAAP Homeware watch this space.

* Shop the CHUULAAP’s Cruise Collection by Chu Suwannapha at https://www.spree.co.za./

Connect with me on Instagram @Nontando58: https://www.instagram.com/nontando58/?hl=en

See more of my work here: http://www.iol.co.za/lifestyle/style-beauty/fashion-trends-for-summer-inspired-by-local-designers-2044424

 

Moonchild Sanelly says she kicked doors when they didn’t open

CT TOTT Moonchild main pic by Jimi Herrtage.jpg

TENACITY: Moonchild Sanelly Picture: Jim Herrtage

The blue-haired pop star, has made impressive moves in her young career. Performing with Busi Mhlongo and Madala Kunene, she is a beaming light that will illuminate for many years to come.I caught up with her this week while she was in town to record at the Red Bull Cape Town S tudios, where she spoke about her career and her upcoming performance at the Oppikoppi Festival in October. 

When you completed high school, was music the trajectory you expected for your career? When I left school, the stage was definitely the vision. Performance and my mom allowed me to be expressive, so lights, camera, and action was my life’s theme.

The R&B and pop landscape has changed a lot since you came out. What are your feelings on the scene today? I respect the power of reinvention, like Beyoncé. I think it’s one of those things where you learn ways of staying true to your art yet are creative enough for young ones to jump on and appreciate, without calling it a throwback.

At this point in your career, what would you like to accomplish? A song with US record producer, rapper, singer Diplo. My fashion school and that is after I scoop my awards in every genre that I pitch for! I plan on winning in everything I embark on. I’m patient too.

 

CT TOTT July 14  Moonchild.jpg

Picture supplied. 

If you had to select a new artist to collaborate with on a song or album, who would it be? It would be this dope male rapper and art director Oarabile Mahole aka Jay Cubed SA, from Mafikeng. Every song is conceptual and he deals with branding artists as an artist and I love Die Antwoord with my life. Aka and Anatii are fire galore. The queen Thandiswa Mazwai. There are so many Nicci Saint Bruce is a Yassssssss!

Tell us about your experience at Primavera Pro in Spain?

Life life life! You are shown over there that music is a language of its own. The appreciation, the posters as I walked into festival they love our craft. I wish we all thought super big with our careers no matter what we do.

You have been fortunate enough to perform with SA’s well respected artists. Did you think you would get to this point? Tell us about some of the highlights while working with high profile names? I was this kid who was always eager and kicked doors when they didn’t open. It’s always a tick off the bucket list of your career. I am still that character. As an artist, with each achievement there’s hope that something better is coming. I felt that with every year in my 12 years on stage. I think patience is by default as you don’t think negatively when there’s light seeping little by little. It was an honour and the journey continues.Mama Busi said to me…“ngane yam umuhle, don’t change” (My child, you are beautiful. Don’t ever change.) Can you imagine this rock star telling a young fired-up red-haired girl that!

You will be performing at Oppikoppie? How do you feel about this and what can the audience expect? New music from my ep called #1stmillion which I’ve just recorded at Red Bull Studios in Cape Town. I’ll also be sharing the stage with Luma and The Kiffness, so I am all over. You’re a pretty stylish and fashion forward individual. How important do you think image and style is when it comes to the music you’re making, as well as performing in general?Image to me is everything. You must spark an interest for people to find out what you do, before you deliver. That’s what I tell my clients. I cannot live with being invisible, the eyes are awesome.

What advice do you have for artists who are interested in producing, writing and performing but might have a hard time balancing and focusing their efforts? Believe in your art. Listen to wise counsel, in fact you may seek it. When you have a vision, you are the first one who needs to be motivated enough to hustle it t hrough. Your product is the reason for performing, so don’t lose focus, ever.

* Connect with Moonchild on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/moonchildsanelly/?hl=en

Connect with me on Instagram @Nontando58  https://www.instagram.com/nontando58/?hl=en

See more of my work here: http://www.iol.co.za/lifestyle/style-beauty/fashion/chulaap-caters-for-the-woman-10346031

Kwena Baloyi hair photography series titled “Afrikan Krowns”

CT TOTT Kwena main pic.jpg

Kwena Baloyi . Picture by Trevor Stuurman

For a long time the controversial issue of black women’s hair has been debated on mainstream media. Even though arguments continue as to whether it is correct or not to have relaxed hair and wear weaves and wigs, I am excited to see a shift in the narrative. The internet and social media are at the forefront in driving the story of “my hair, my crown”. I spoke to fashion stylist Kwena Baloyi, whose Instagram photography series of beautiful hairstyles celebrating black hair caught my eye.

CT TOTT Cover my hair my crown

Kween Kwena. Picture by Nonzunzo Gxekwa 

Tell us about yourself? My friends and industry peers fondly call me “Kween Kwena”. I’m a vivacious, high-spirited and fun person (or so I’m told). I’m from Moletjie Ga-Makibelo in Limpopo. I’m a professional, on-demand TV, magazine and personal stylist. I’m also a fashion adventurist, who explores different clothes to come up with unique styles. I consider myself a fashion therapist because I help people find their fashion identity. I’m low-key obsessed with hair too.

Tell us about your interest in hair? Like every young woman I have come a long way with my hair.

Most of us, as black women, have had a contentious relationship with the kink in our coily hair and it’s been influenced by what society tells us is “acceptable”

I’ve been through that phase where my hair needed to be straight because I thought that was “appropriate”. My natural hair was called “untidy” or was not appreciated by those around me, so I thought it would be better to straighten or shave it. The older I got, the more I appreciated what my hair meant to me and what it represented to me as a woman in a society with so many negative connotations about African people’s hair. Now I wear my hair how I like because it’s an extension of who I am. It expresses my personality more than any item of clothing could.

CT TOTT Kwena pic 4Picture by Nonzunzo Gxekwa 

What inspired your social media hair photo series? Being a stylist affords me the opportunity to travel to different parts of the country and to meet many different characters. Each person I have met has always had an interesting aspect of their hair. Some stand out for being unique, while some simply intrigue me because they choose to be “regular” for the sake of fitting in. Experiencing this variety of people sparked the notion of how people relate to their “crown” – which is what your hair is essentially. You can choose to have it bold and in your face, or like other hairstyles considered “generic” or “normal”.

 

I’ve also been attracted to how different tribes around the continent wear their hair – particularly in West Africa.

There is a lot of documentation by history scholars and international artists about black people and their hair. The natives of Ugogo, whose hair traditions are exceptional, are one of a few. There are also the Fante women of Elmina (Edina) in Ghana, who had beautiful thick hair and their hairstyles were always so intricate and crafted to perfection. In fact, my current coiffure hairstyle is inspired by women in West Africa. The hairstyle was later made popular by our beloved mama Miriam Makeba. South Africa also has threading and plaiting techniques that are unique and allow us to express our personalities.

CT TOTT Kwena pic 2.jpg

Who is responsible for creating the beautiful hairstyles? My go-to stylist is Ncumisa “Mimi” Duma. She’s a talented hair magician and understands the importance of treating natural hair with care. Can you believe my hair has not seen a hair dryer or endured any artificial heat since I started growing it? It’s the healthiest my natural hair has been in ages!

Does your series have a title? Yes. It’s called “Afrikan Krowns”. We are each Afrikan and each have a Krown. Your Krown is an extension of who you are and an expression of your personality/character. The series looks at how each person chooses to wear their Krown with pride.

 

CT TOTT Kwena pic 3.jpg

Can you tell us what triggered your hair interest? This will sound so clichéd, but do you know the song I am not my hair, by India Arie? It’s always been one of my favourites jams, but it wasn’t until years after I heard it that I began to understand what she was really saying. Often as young girls we sing along to a song without really understanding what its purpose or message is. The way India describes her “hair story” in the first verse is how my hair chronicles kinda went. You start with whatever hair your parents decide you need to have. Then you become a little girl who does certain hairstyles because that’s what the school deems acceptable. From there you become a teenager, get influenced by pop culture and base your hairstyles on what’s “trending”. Then you become an adult and still get peer pressured into doing what your circle finds palatable. Eventually, your hair starts to fall out because you’ve either put way too many chemicals in it or braided it for too long or sewn on too many weaves.

How do you see natural hair empowering women? For me it says you’re slowly, but surely, getting to a point where society’s standards of beauty don’t define who you are. You no longer feel forced to relax your hair or wear a weave just because the expectation to have straight hair weighs you down.

You are ready to celebrate your hair and turn it into whichever shape of krown you desire because it’s an extension of who you are, but by no means defines who you are. In many ways, I hope black women feel free to be whoever they choose to be through their krowns.

Any last words? Women need to understand that the type of hair they choose to wear is not linked to who they are or who other people assume them to be. Whether you’re into braids, weave, wigs, fades, cheese kop, dreadlocks, afro, or anything else you find appealing, remember your hair is your krown.

No one can dictate what it should look like nor what it should mean to you. What matters is that you love it, nurture it and make the most of it.

 

*Connect with Kwena on Instagram: @kwenasays

Connect with me on Instagram @Nontando58 https://www.instagram.com/nontando58/?hl=en and find more of my work here: http://www.iol.co.za/lifestyle/style

This piece was first published in the Top of The Times on June 9 2017

A Tranquil escape in Hout Bay

Tintswalo.jpg

Tinstwalo Antlantic, the boutique lodge in Hout Bay, which was destroyed by a devastating Cape fire in 2015, has been restored to its former glory. I was invited to enjoy their Winter Warmer package. The package includes an overnight stay and gourmet cuisine, for two people sharing – this is worth it for a five-star lodge.

CT TOTT Tintswalo Atlantic interrior

Resting on a pebbled beach at the foot of the Table Mountain National Park, directly overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, the view from the wooden decked terrace is breathtaking. This is where we had a refreshing spritzer on arrival while listening to the sounds of ocean waves lapping gently against the shore.

Here, seated on cushioned chairs, you will have a front row seat to the sunset or you can watch the sun go down from your room terrace, we opted for the latter.

The property boasts panoramic views of the picturesque Hout Bay Harbour, dramatic Sentinel mountain’s peak, and the ocean.

We spent the night in the elegant Sicily Island room, each suite is named after an island.

The luxurious, fully-catered villa, decorated in off white and nautical shades of dusty blues has a wooden ceiling and parquet flooring, comfortable seating area, fireplace to keep you warm during the winter nights and its own private balcony with views of the bay.

The bathroom is my favourite room. The stand-alone bathtub faces a large window with incredible views of the sea and mountain a majestic sight.

CT TOTT Tintswalo bath pic 4.jpg

Tintswalo Atlantic serves breakfast daily in the dining room or deck and the fine dining restaurant offers a variety of tastes and cuisines. Lunch and dinner are available upon request. I enjoyed hake and a salad for lunch on the deck.

CT TOTT Tinswalo breakfast.jpg

Taking a walk around the establishment, we visited theterrace which has two heated outdoor swimming pools. Although they are heated it was too cold for a swim.

There is also a spa on the premises and a 24-hour front desk which is on hand to assist in arranging activities such as horse riding and fishing, as well as an airport shuttle upon request.

Dinner consisted of five-courses with a bottle of house wine. It was prepared by the recently appointed head chef Guy Clark, who has made a name for himself in the foodies circles of Cape Town.

Tintswalo Atlantic Black salt cream. Japanese chilli cured salmon. fresh fig. gooseberries. 1MB.jpg

 

 

Dinner consisted of five-courses with a bottle of house wine. It was prepared by the recently appointed head chef Guy Clark, who has made a name for himself in the foodies circles of Cape Town.

Clark recently returned to his home town, the Mother City, having honed his skills in India and Florida (US) for the past four years.

He takes a simplified approach to cooking, focusing on flavour.

“I believe in celebrating ingredients in their purest form, using methods and techniques that enhance flavour, presentation and texture.

“Sourcing and utilising local, sustainable and organic is key to delivering an ethical and superior menu” he says.

His new eight-course Ocean & Ash tasting menu for Tintswalo Atlantic is based on different themes, whereby he cites local ingredients and foraging as important components of the process.

Unusual plating and presentation styles also play an important part in the dining experience.

The first course includes three variations of one of his new favourites, seaweed – which, he says, makes perfect sense, seeing that it is available in abundance right on the restaurant doorstep.

Our five-course meal included a berry sorbet palate cleanser, a crispy pork belly and Japanese chilli cured salmon, a delicious lentil warm salad and fresh fig and gooseberries sprinkled with black salt cream.

We had our mains and desserts in our room.

I liked that we had this option, as we had a long day and the villa offered enough comfort for you to dine in private.

Sleeping right next to the sea means listening to the rhythmic and calming sound of the waves crashing on the shore.

It does get chilly during the night so keep the fire going.

Tintswalo Atlantic Panoramic Ocean Views 2

Breakfast time is flexible, this means you can sleep in and watch the sun rise from your comfortable bed – that’s what the floor to ceiling windows are there for.

Also, enjoy the fresh sea air, it will make you feel like you are on a real island and it will make you forget that you are not far from the city.

When we eventually managed to peel ourselves from the bed we headed to the dining area for breakfast.

Now, usually in the mornings a breakfast smoothie is all I can stomach.

Therefore, breakfast was potentially overwhelming for a light eater like me.

Breakfast starts with a delicious creamy yoghurt, fruits and muesli, followed by pastries, a cheese platter and eggs of your choice.

The breakfast is a foodie heaven and satisfies Instagram goals – after all they offer free and fast wi-fi.

Tintswalo Atlantic Suite Views to die for1.jpg

Tintswalo Atlantic is the ideal destination for a romantic weekend getaway, to celebrate a special occasion or to pop in for lunch and sundowners on the terrace.

* The Winter Warmer Package at Tintswalo Atlantic will be on until August 31, an overnight offer includes luxury accommodation, as well as breakfast and a five-course dinner with a bottle of house wine, at R7000 for two people sharing.

During weekends, a minimum two-night stay applies.

Connect with Tintswalo Atlantic on Instagram and Twitter @Tintswalolodges https://twitter.com/Tintswalolodges

This feature was first published in the Cape Times’ Top of The Times on June 15 2017.

Connect with me on Instagram @Nontando58 https://www.instagram.com/nontando58/?hl=en  Find more of my work here: http://www.iol.co.za/lifestyle/style 

What drives a designer?

Unknown UnionPicture: Simon Deiner/SDR Photo

When it comes to clothing brands, sometimes all it takes is a clean and distinct design aesthetic that will set you apart from the saturated market. Streetwear brand Unknown Union (UU) is one of a few South African labels which have managed to stand out with its distinct tracksuits and separates like T-shirts, caps, socks and jackets

I get to know the founder of the brand, Jason Storey.

Tell us a bit about yourself. I wasn’t always a designer. I actually spent my early career as an in-house corporate attorney in New York, working around the clock on deal after deal. But I always had a passion for expression outside the field of law. I grew up surrounded by the study of art (my father was an art dealer).

Tell us about starting your label.Unknown Union was born from that passion, but it’s vision has changed significantly since its origins. My family and I have been travelling to South Africa since I was much younger and it is through that experience that I developed a deep affinity for the people, places and cultures here. UU originally was originally founded in 2010 and at that time we primarily imported brands from outside of South Africa, such as Obey, Levi’s Vintage, Pendleton, and Warriors of Radness.

We also were the first to officially introduce Top Shop to the African Market through our exclusive pop up shop. Around 2011, we began developing our in-house clothing brand, UU, which was inspired by local art and culture, and it didn’t take long before this became the primary focus of our shop. Today, you can find our range at our newest location in Cape Town CBD (44 Bloem Street), where our garments celebrate the rich cultural history of Lesotho and South Africa and several new design projects that touch Angola, Congo and Kenya.

Unknown Union pic 2.jpg

Model, Sanele Xaba is the face of UU. Picture: Simon Deiner/SDR Photo

What’s it like being in the fashion industry? The fashion industry is fun, but challenging.

From the outside the industry can easily appear to be sexy and glamorous, but people don’t always see how much work and effort goes into the creation of each garment. From design to production it takes a team working meticulously around the clock to produce something worth buying.

 

How would you describe your brand? We believe that there is something that binds every person on this planet together. There is no name for that thing. There is no way to smell it, taste it, feel it, see it, etc. But we all intrinsically recognise that it exists. That’s one of the meanings behind our name, Unknown Union.

How difficult is it to remain original when streetwear brands seem to emerge daily nowadays? If you are pinning your originality on the uniqueness of your design, then few designers can meet that standard because almost every design you could think of to drape the human body has already been thought of or created.

Unknown Union pic 1 (2).jpg

Is it important for the brand to have the clothing worn by celebrities? While we are thankful many celebrities have taken an interest in our brand, our clothing is designed for everyone .

How have you seen the role of social media develop for you as a brand?

Social has media has become more of a focus for the brand over the last year. Until recently, word of mouth and print were our primary marketing vehicles.

 

Unknown Union pic 3 (2).jpgPicture: Simon Deiner/SDR Photo

What’s next for Unknown Union? Our UU family can expect to see new and innovative capsule collections from upcoming collaborations with local and international artists. Everyone is invited to come through our flagship Cape Town shop for the launch of our next exhibit: Fashion Art.

Connect with Unknown Union on Instagram @unknownunion https://www.instagram.com/unknownunion/

Connect with me on Instagram @Nontando58 https://www.instagram.com/nontando58/?hl=en  

Find more of my work here: http://www.iol.co.za/lifestyle/style

This piece was first published in The Mercury on June 9 2017. 

The designer who dresses the stars

OM Style Avenue AW 17-31424

Media personality Bonang Matheba wears Orapuleng Modutle Style Avenue.

THE glamorous dresses worn by the likes of Bonang Matheba, Terry Pheto and Nandi Madida on red carpet events takes a lot of work.

They begin in the imagination of talented designers, who use celebrities as muses or brand ambassadors. South African couture designer Orapeleng Modutle is currently in the forefront when it comes to dressing some of our leading ladies for his label, Orapeleng Modutle Style Avenue.

“I get to dress some of the country’s top celebrities, an opportunity that is not afforded to many young designers,” says Modutle

“I have always wanted to dress Bonang Matheba because she is one of the best dressed red carpet queens. I have dressed all the celebrities that I have wanted to dress locally such as Ayanda Thabethe, Minnie Dlamini.

 

OM Style Avenue AW 17-30106.jpg

Artist Nandi Madida

“The women that I dress form in line with the product that I deliver and they get attracted to the quality of the style that I deliver. It’s really knowing how to stick to your clientele and quality and craftsmanship is also very important,” he says.

“Internationally, I would love to dress Jennifer Lopez and Kendall Jenner.”

I met Modutle before his African Fashion International Mercedes- Benz Fashion Week Cape Town showcase.

The collection, titled “Rose Garden Wedding”, features subliminal gowns in sequins, chiffon, satin, structured corsets.

The designs are complemented by embellishments such as flowers, pearls, lace, feathers and hats by Anita Ferreira designs. The theme of the collection says

“Royalty is getting married and they have invited their elite family members and friends. The collection caters for the attendees, the mother of the bride and bridal party”. 

OM Style Avenue AW 17-31728.jpg

Modutle said: “It’s a day of fun, people are wearing hats, butterflies on their hair and big gowns… taking couture to another level.

“Our previous collection was very playful, our clientele was very young, she wore crop tops and shorts.

“The couture fashion scene in SA still need to grow, we need to educate our clients about the design and production process, the craftsmanship and the behind-the scenes that goes into creating a couture garment.

“Some of my favourite international designers that I look up to for inspiration includes Tom Ford and Elie Saab and locally Gavin Rajah and Gert-Johan Coetzee are amazing at couture,”he says.

 

Modutle, the Tshwane University of Technology fashion graduate, developed his love for fashion and attention for details while watching his mother and grandmother do needle work.

OM Style Avenue AW 17-31229.jpg

“I used to watch them hand stitching and that caught my attention from when I was about eight- years-old – that’s when I also developed my love for sketching.

“The first item I made in varsity was a pencil skirt, which took me a whole two weeks to make. My big break came when I interned with Khensani Nkosi of Stoned Cherie. That was an amazing experience and she is the pillar of where I am now.

“I learnt a lot about how she ran her business. She taught me that fashion is not all about the glitz and the glam,” he says.

OM Style Avenue AW 17-32011

Describe the Orapeleng Modutle Style Avenue woman?

“She is between the ages of 20 and 60. She is a romantic. She exudes opulence and luxury. She is the kind of woman that will wear a pencil skirt with a slit paired with with a feather jacket to work,” he says.

OM Style Avenue AW 17-30358.jpg

His advice for aspiring designers:

“You need to learn the skill of design, your talent is not enough. Once you know the skill get an internship. It’s very important because you will be working with other people who have been in the industry longer than you.”

OM Style Avenue AW 17-32131.jpg

● Connect with Orapeleng Modutle Style Avenue on instagram @Orapelengmodutle.

Photography Credits: Creative direction: Rich Mnisi. Styling: Bee Diamondhead Photographer: Apart Verrips. Hats: Anita Ferreiradesigns. Make-Up Artist: Muzi Zuma. Flowers: Amor Flowers South Africa.

Connect with me on Instagram @Nontando58 https://www.instagram.com/nontando58/?hl=en

Read more of my work at http://www.IOL.co.za http://www.iol.co.za/lifestyle/style

This piece was first published in Top of The Times on May 29 2017.