SA Menswear Week, highlights so far.

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A Chulaap by Chu Suwannapha design  showcased at Season 1. Photo by SIMON DEINER/SDR

Seeing a gap in the fast-growing category of menswear, fashion photographer Simon Deiner and businessman Ryan Beswick developed a platform that is now responsible for promoting menswear designers in Africa. Entering its fifth season, the LEXUS SA Menswear Week (Lexus SAMW AW’17) is the only menswear-focused fashion week on the continent.

Over the past four seasons, we have had an opportunity to witness some of the best in menswear by both emerging and established designers from around Africa, some of whom have gone on to gain international exposure. Rich Mnis, Jenevieve Lyons, Chu Suwannapha, Craig Jacobs, Orange Culture and Laduma Ngxokolo are now recognised internationally.
My highlights include the debut range of Chulaap by Chu Suwannapha showcased at season one. The styling, design and the prints show Suwannapha’s artistic aesthetic and his love for the colourful African continent.

Lukhanyo Mdingi’s androgynous collection of dark navy, blue and black made up of sheer silk and denim separates from season two remain fresh in my mind. The range brought forth the growing trend of gender-fluid fashion. The collaboration of Adriaan Kuiters and Jod Paulsen (AKJP) from season three showed that a meeting of two creative minds can lead to magic.

Lukhanyo Mdingi
A design by Lukhanyo Mdingi. Picture by : SIMON DEINER/SDR PHOTO
For Deiner, there have been many highlights: “I remember the first season where we did a team photo at the end and there were about 50 people involved. And when we took the group photo at the SS17 collections last July we had just over 150 people in the pic. “Other highlights have been watching our young designers shine and grow into proper household names and along the way start businesses. I have also enjoyed seeing how men in general now perceive the concept of wearing locally made clothing as something they are proud to do,” Deiner says.
A lot of hard work and dedication are necessary for a designer to stand out from a saturated industry competing against cheap imports and fast fashion. Funding, production and affordable and quality fabrics are just some of the challenges that our young designers are facing, which play a hand in preventing them from maintaining profitable businesses.
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Kim Gush by SIMON DEINER/SDR PHOTO
Kim Gush, owner and designer of Kim Gush apparel, adds: “I think local consumers still love to compare designers to big retailers, especially where price is concerned. We are still constantly faced with the snub at our price tags… consumers forget that the items aren’t mass produced, therefore you are receiving a unique piece. And at the same time you are supporting our local manufacturing industry – which to be honest, needs every tiny purchase to try to revive it.
“Buying local means you are helping in developing and bringing our industry to those ‘international’ levels you so dearly desire as well as keeping jobs going,” she says. “Take the time to get to know all those brands you watch at fashion week. A lot of people are just there for the social, but they forget the heart and soul that goes into every garment presented, the dreams the designers have for this industry to flourish,” she says. 
For Suwannapha, who will not be showcasing at Lexus SAMW AW’17, the fabrication and the manufacturing are problematic. “Hopefully, some of the courier companies will work with fabrics agencies towards bringing fabrics to minimal costs, or I might have to live with the high labour costs as long as I’m producing in South Africa,” he says. “(This year) is all about expanding and building my brand. Collaboration will be a part of my brand’s personality, which will be coming soon and will be available online in South Africa,” Suwannapha says.
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The collaboration of Adriaan Kuiters and Jod Paulsen from season three. Picture: SIMON DEINER/SDR PHOTO
One of the youngest showcasing designers, Mzukisi Mbane of Imprint, adds: “When it comes to fashion week, I think we all take away what we want from it.“The fashion week benefits should always extend beyond the applause after a runway show. For instance, you get an opportunity to sell yourself to a wide audience that you wouldn’t normally be able to reach. “After my first runway show, I got invited to go to Ghana then Nigeria… I was instantly not just a South African brand, but a recognised African brand,”says Mbane.
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A Imprint by Mzukisi Mbane design. Picture by SIMON DEINER/SDR PHOTO
On what to expect at his showcase next week: “The collection is based on a fictional character I created. It’s an Ndebele man who decided to leave home and travel the world.
“The collection includes a lot of colour, oversized silhouettes, genderfluid pieces. Which is truly the Imprint Afro futuristic aesthetic… it expresses a free spirit which challenges made-up perfection. “As the collection is titled “I couldn’t be bothered”, one will take away whatever they want from the collection… and that will be okay,” he adds.
LEXUS SA Menswear Week will take place at The Palms in Woodstock on February 3 and 4 2017.
Tickets are available at http://www.webtickets.co.za.For a full schedule see : http://www.menswearweek.co.za/
See more of my work here: http://www.iol.co.za/lifestyle/style

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

This piece was first published in the Weekend Argus (Sunday) on January 29 2017. 

Happy Socks has the world at their feet

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With their colourful and quirky designs, it’s no wonder brand Happy Socks is a global phenomenon. Socks are no longer a muted clothing accessory; they have become staple pieces that breathe life into any outfit.

Whether you are dressing for the office, the gym, a night out or the beach, it’s highly likely you will be wearing a pair of socks.

Although most people still prefer traditional socks that come in single colours of white, red, black and green, bright colours and busy patterns are fashionable.

Happy Socks are the leaders in the market at the moment, offering a variety of designs and colours.

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Happy Socks founders Viktor Tell and Mikael Soderlindh

From the beginning, the global founders of the Swedish brand, Viktor Tell and Mikael Soderlindh, wanted to create a brand that would spread and inspire happiness throughout the world. They tell me this when I meet them in Woodstock for our interview.

They were recently in the country to launch their “Local Hero” special edition, their biggest collaboration so far, where they worked with creatives, bloggers and artists from 15 countries to design socks inspired by their work.

Like their product, they are easy-going and their personalities are infectious.

“After eight years in the business, we are now sold in 90 countries worldwide, and with this collaboration, we really wanted to express our gratitude,” says Tell, Happy Socks creative director.

“We enjoy every country that we visit and we see the creative expressions all around, and we wanted to take that into our company, because it is not only based in Stockholm, but we are a global thing,” says Tell.

“We wanted to see what the local creatives could do with our blank canvas of cotton socks. We gave them carte blanche to create whatever they wanted. That is what we have always done with international collaborations;”

“Not only did they want to engage with us because we have a nice product to work with, but we gave a huge opportunity to the local market and brands, and some would have never had the opportunity to be exposed to so many countries,” he says.

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Happy Socks x Falko One 

South African graffiti artist Falko One was the chosen local hero.

Soderlindh and Tell are long-time friends who worked together before starting the business.

“We are a bit of a ying and a yang, which is part of our success. Soderlindh is the driving force of the business, while I am on the creative side.

“We came up with the business because we enjoyed wearing socks and we saw that no one gave love to the accessory no one really focused on it. What was available at the market at the time was mostly cheap socks with poor designs,” says Tell.

 

“We also started the business because we love to travel. We have almost 200 days of travelling a year, so that gives us a lot of inspiration from meeting people from around the world it’s super fun.

“I get inspiration from all over and we try not to follow trends. We see socks as more of a design item than a fashion item,which means that we can go the wrong way and it doesn’t have to be too precise. Our hunch has turned out good so far,” Tell says.

Soderlindh adds: “Tell has a huge ability when it comes to designs and patterns and working with illustrations. I think that the big difference with our product is how we put colour together, and that has been one secret of our success. Our designs always stand out in the socks department. A couple of years back we had booming competitors, but now we beat them when it comes to really strong designs,” he says.

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The brand have now added underwear to their range – colourful briefs for men and women.

“We felt that we wanted to spread happiness and design from our socks, so why not underwear as well? It was a natural development of our brand socks and underwear go well together,” says Tell.

“The name ‘Happy Socks’ is self-explanatory, we want you to be happy when you wear Happy Socks. We want to brighten up your day almost every morning.

“When you put on our underwear and socks, we want the moment to feel good and make you stay with a smile on your face for the rest of your day. Ever since day one we have been met with a smile when we talk about our brand, and that is what we want to keep,” says Tell.

“I am still so impressed when we travel the world and I see a person wearing our socks, it’s really crazy. Whether we are in Tokyo, Cape Town or New York, whenever we see someone walking down the street wearing our brand, it’s a fun and proud moment,” he says.

“Our customer is hard to put in a box,” says Soderlindh.

“This person is either a 25-year-old fashionista, a businessman, it’s a grandma buying presents for her grandkids, it’s a teenager. It’s such a wide variety of people and we would rather say that our target group is a colourful person who loves design,” he says.

Their advice for future entrepreneurs who would like to start a similar business venture?

Tell says: “I would have never been able to start the business alone.

“I think you should find someone to do it with. The great part of our success is that we have been focusing on the same goal but we have done it in two different directions. Find a partner that has another take on what you want to to,” he says.

Soderlindh adds: “Tell and I work with several start-ups today. One step is that you need to fully commit to a start-up. Rule number one, you should not do it on the side. If you want to do something, quit your job, take a loan and start it.

“You need to take a risk for it to be successful because if you don’t take the risk, you are not forcing yourself to succeed,” Soderlindh says.

“And of course you need to make sure that the business idea that you have is going to be profitable business. You don’t start something because you are passionate about it. It helps, being in the business with the right partner.

“South Africa is a very colourful country and we think that is why Happy Socks is relatively successful here.

“We’re not going to tell anyone what colour or design to wear you need to find your own way of wearing our socks in the designs that catches your eye,” Soderlindh adds.

This piece was first published in the Cape Argus on January 24 2017. 

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

And visit http://www.IOL.co.za  thttp://www.iol.co.za/lifestyle/style to check out more of my work. 

Stem cell team brings new life to skin

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REGENERATION SQUAD: Jerome Jackson, Tracy-Lee Rosslind and Aseyah Rosslind. Picture: Rizqua Barnes

The USE of stem cells in the beauty industry has been making headlines for years. There are several breakthrough results that have been attributed to stem cell innovations.

It has been reported that stem cells can help achieve younger-looking skin. They are thought to encourage cell regeneration and repair skin damaged by the sun. But what are stem cells and what does the scientific term mean?

Chief scientific officer for natural product range Dermistem Jerome Jackson explains: “The advancement in the understanding of how stem cells work and how we can create them is changing the world in an unprecedented way. Stem cells, basically, are cells that are undifferentiated. That means that they can become any type of cell in the specific plant or animal – a skin cell, or liver cell, for example.

“This technology has changed the landscape of biological science, especially in regenerative and resurrection science, and medicine,” Jackson says.

He says: “Stem cells enable regeneration of previously irreparable damage. There is an unfortunate misunderstanding that whole, live, plant stem cells are used in cosmetics, and this is not true.

“We use an extract of the stem cells… we lyse (split open) the stem cells. This kills them, and we process the liquid contents of those stem cells into a botanical active that can be added to cosmetics for mostly regenerative and anti-ageing effects.

“There are creams employing the use of human stem cell extracts. However, these should be, and mostly are, regulated as drugs (medicines) and not as cosmetics.” Jackson, a consultant herbologist (herbal or botanical medicine) by profession, is passionate about natural medicine and its power.

His field of study also includes biology, medicine and natural medical science. He and aromatherapist and natural perfumer Aseyah Rosslind founded Dermistem in Plumstead when they realised that there was a huge demand for natural base cream products.

Their range of natural skincare systems consists of cleansers, toners, moisturisers, serums, eye gel, exfoliators, a hyper-pigmentation cream and two excellent masks that contain Swiss glacial water which they use at their in-house treatment salon.

“Our point of difference is the plant stem cell extracts that we use throughout our range. Our skincare system is high in botanical actives and vitamin A, and we have kept it as natural as we possibly can – natural works.

“Our ethos is, ‘what you put on to your skin, you eat’. Therefore, use something that the body recognises,” says Rosslind.

The beauty and skincare market is saturated at the moment with a high demand for natural and organic products… leading to most consumers making uniformed choices about the right products to use.

Rosslind advises: “The thing that scares me the most about skincare products is the harmful ingredients that they contain and how they can affect one’s health. Therefore, we encourage consumers to learn what those ingredients are and to read labels.

“Avoid those harmful ingredients as far as possible. There is always a new thing that comes along, whether it be jojoba wax, Argan oil or AHA skin products, because there are always new raw materials being developed to address the needs of particular markets.

“You can’t go wrong with good basics though – establish a good daily routine of – cleanse, tone and moisturise. Look after your skin and remember to be gentle with it. Good skin can indeed be your make-up – skincare is essential – make-up is optional,” Rosslind adds.

For information, see Dermistem at  Image 2 RosslindXDermistem by Ashley Marie.jpg

Tracy-Lee Rosslind

From fashion stylist, producer, TV presenter to marketing director of a cutting-edge skincare brand, Tracy-Lee Rosslind has partnered with Dermistem to co-create a serum named RosslindxDermistem #RxDskin. She will be launching a full premium range called Diamond, which will be showcased at In-Cosmetics Global, a skincare event held at the ExCel in London in April. We spoke to her:

Tell us about the RosslindxDermistem range.

It is a natural unisex skincare range created to repair, protect and enhance your natural skin. It is auto-adaptive, which means it adapts to any climate and skin type. It contains plant stem cells and glacial water imported from the Alps, all to increase hydration and repair. It is especially for those in the entertainment industry using a lot of make-up and constantly under hot lights. I got a few of my industry friends to come and try the product. They all loved it.

Tell us about your beauty routine.

In all honesty, I never really had a beauty routine, but since turning 30 I can see a definite difference in my skin. It is the reason I walked into Dermistem in the first place. I use a cleanser, toner, our RxD Serum, an eye gel and then the Stem Cell Moisturiser.

What is your one can’t-do-without beauty product?

Our RosslindxDermistem Priming Serum; it really keeps my skin hydrated, ensuring my make-up stays put and flawless. I love putting it on if I am feeling tired, it refreshes me. I love the refreshing naartjie scent that does not linger for too long as we have ensured that it becomes odourless once completely absorbed in the skin. I am a big fan of perfumes and do not like it when it is affected by my creams.

Connect with Tracy-Lee at and Instagram @mstracyleerosslind

 

This feature was first published in the Cape Argus on January 10 2017.

See more of my work here:

Connect with me on Instagram and Twitter @Nontando58

 

 

Meet Mrs South Africa 2016

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The reigning Mrs South Africa Hlengiwe Twala, the beauty from Hartbeespoort Dam, was crowned as the 2017 Schwarzkopf Professional Mrs South Africa at a glittering grand finale at Emperors Palace.

The Mrs South Africa pageant may not enjoy as much fanfare as its counterpart the Miss South Africa competition. Entered by married women, Mrs South Africa sells itself as a women empowerment platform promoting women with philanthropic interests. Although the “queens” or the winners of both competitions take home a sparkling tiara and sash, and also enjoy a yearlong reign, the similarities end there.

While Miss South Africa is also big on women empowerment and celebrating beauty with brains, Mrs South Africa takes it a step further by promoting entrepreneurship and a sense of self. Hlengiwe Twala the current reigning Mrs South Africa explains this to me during her recent press tour in Cape Town.

The Joburg-based Twala has all the trimmings of a beauty queen. A slim and toned body, a dazzling smile and flowing hair, however it is her aura that immediately puts me at ease. I would later learn that this is due to the fact that we share the home province of KwaZulu-Natal. She, born in the quiet town of Pietermaritzburg says Durban is her happy place when she needs some quiet time: “I love Durban, it calms me,”she says.

Unlike most young girls who daydream about entering beauty contests, Twala on the other hand never gave it much thought until her mother died due to a rare blood cancer. This is one of the main reasons she entered Mrs SA.

“I have never really had an interest in beauty contents. “I literally found out about Mrs SA about two years ago. “And what really grabbed my interest was that they work very closely with the Cancer Association of South Africa (Cansa),” says Twala

“It was really heavy on my heart and I wanted to do something that would help raise cancer awareness… the competition was a perfect fit. “I also went through a cancer scare as I was planning on entering, so this has been a very personal journey for me.

“I got my test results a couple of days before the entries closed. “I saw it as a sign that I had to do it now because there are no guarantees for tomorrow,” she says. “I entered and I was not expecting win. I really wanted to have a year of fun. I wanted to have a year of me, because I realised that I was not living but I was just merely existing because I was in so much pain over my mother’s death.

“It has been a truly fulfilling journey. “I am so happy, my kids are happy and my husband is happy because they see me so happy,” Twala says.

Twala, a mother of three daughters, is fresh from competing in the Mrs World competition in Korea. Winning the competition has been a life changing experience, she says. “ My life has changed completely. The one thing that I love the most is that Mrs South Africa is all about women empowerment. “Unlike other pageants, we don’t really compete among each other.

“Soon after the Top 10 was chosen we had to prepare for a Cancer Gala to raise awareness and funds for Cansa… the whole experience empowers you to think like a business woman or a business person,” she says. Her philanthropic interests come from her mother Ntombifuthi, who taught her children from a young age to share what little they had with those who had less, Twala explains.

“I come from very humble beginnings. I remember my mother used to sew clothes for kids in the community who did not have any. “Although we also didn’t have much money to go round, she thought… I have hands and a machine, I will sew’;

“My mother used to say to us ‘When you give to another, you give to yourself’ and that is how I grew up… I don’t know anything else,” Twala explains.

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Top left, Lilliana LulliMarruchi won second princess, Mrs South Africa Hlengiwe Twala and first princess Olwethu Leshabane.

However, life in the spotlight attracts involuntary attention and sometimes not the right kind. Also, beauty pageants of any kind are always under scrutiny and are said to promote vanity and forcing unnecessary pressure on young girls to be perfect. Twala is well prepared for what is coming, good or bad:

“There is nothing wrong with us women looking pretty and enhancing what we have because when you look good, you feel good. “I think we should now promote being comfortable in your own skin and stop wanting to judge,” she says. “I am a little nervous about being in the limelight. “But I think right now, I feel so blessed that even the fear has taken a back seat. I feel so blessed and happy.

“I know it’s going to happen, when people see something good, they want to pick at it. “But you know what? I have so much positive support as Mrs SA, from my family, from my home and my friends… I am going to concentrate on the good,” Twala adds.

● Connect with me on Twitter and Instagram @Nontando58

This feature was first published in the Cape Argus on December 9 2016. 

Reflecting the times, refreshing fashion

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Fashion designer Rich Mnisi is one of South Africa’s celebrated talents in the fashion industry. Launching his brand “Oath” soon after being announced as one of the winners of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Joburg AFI Fastrack in 2014, Mnisi may be a newcomer to this competitive industry, but his brand is well-respected – at home, in Africa and overseas. I speak to him about his journey and SS’17 collection.

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What sparked your interest in fashion? My whole family has some sort of interest in fashion, particularly my sister. Watching her prepare to go out was absolutely incredible. She’d take time to do her hair, make-up and style her look, and if she didn’t like something about the way she looked she would just alter the clothing on the spot.

“The proportions and moods I explore come from my mother and the need to push the envelope comes from my sister”

What made you take fashion more seriously and make a career out of it? It was when I learned about Lisof Fashion School and what it had to offer. I never saw fashion as a viable career option, it always felt so glamorous and bizarre. But exploring the business side of it was enlightening.

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How has your work evolved since you started your own label? I can’t be specific as it has been a gradual growth. The brand is gradually growing into its own attitude and style. Does your approach differ when designing menswear compared to womenswear? No, I approach them the same way.Usually something intended for a man ends up on a woman and vice versa.

What is your creative process? Music is at the beginning of it all. I let the music I listen to lead the way – define the proportions, mood and colours. Then link all of that with the inspiration of the collection.

How do influences from outside South Africa find their way into your work? It’s the time I’m in, information is everywhere. My work is conversation driven. All the conversations I have with my friends and myself influence my work.

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What are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work? The beauty in blackness. I almost apply a Solange Knowles: for us by us approach.

Do you have a specific research process when you start a new collection? Not necessarily, it needs to come naturally. I don’t start a new collection unless I know what I’m trying to say through it.

“The research process comes with the Reflecting the times, topic at hand and they can’t all be tackled the same”

What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your company? That I’ll never stop learning. It’s not as easy as it looks. It’s a very complex industry; you almost need to stop thinking about it too hard to make the best decisions.

“The support for young designers could definitely be better, but it’s also on the young designers to educate themselves and find a means to communicate their ideas”

I’ve also had to learn about the business. Sometimes creative meets corporate and the two need to work together. I still go 60 percent creative and 40 percent corporate, for my sanity.

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How would you describe your design aesthetic? It’s a reflection of time, and it develops as time develops. Do you feel there’s significant interest in young designers? Definitely, I think young designers stripped fashion of its glamour and tackled it in an honest way.

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Who inspires you the most in fashion? My peers: Orange Culture, Tzar, Lukhanyo Mdingi, Nicholas Coutts, Jenevieve Lyons, Nao Serati, Thebe Magugu, Selfie, Young & Lazy, Tsepo Tsotetsi, AKEDO. Describe the person you have in mind when you design? A curious mind, a fashion enthusiast, a traveller.

What’s your motto? The philosophy stems from the need to remind people of the importance of expression and not feeling lost in a world of globalisation and trends, but to use this more exposed world as your motivation to live fully.

“It’s about being unapologetic about your stance and knowing that it may never be accepted by many, but as long as you do it well it will translate”

What’s next? Our A/W 17 Collection

● Shop Rich Mnisi’s collection at  Rich Mnisi  or at . Spree

Connect with me on Twitter and Instagram @Nontando58

This piece was first published in the Cape Argus  on November 30 2016 

When fashion meets decor

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Eduan Roos, Tamara Chérie and Leandri de Leeuw collaborated for aCREATE and Chérie Spring/Summer 2016/2017. PICTURES: JOE DAN PHOTOGRAPHY

COLLABORATION is now a common buzzword in fashion, art and design. Brands,
creatives and influencers are coming together to share ideas… curating content that is specifically relevant for their consumers.

The latest collaboration is between creative décor specialists, Eduan Roos and Leandri de Leeuw of aCREATE, an award-winning contemporary readyto- wear brand, Tamara Chérie. The collaboration, which was part of aCREATE and Chérie Spring/Summer2016/17 showcase titled “A Common Thread”, was presented at the Roodebloem Studios in Woodstock last month. It saw the coming together of interior design and fashion in a beautifully curated way.

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The two brands’ aesthetic of muted palettes and minimal styles complemented each other well, expressing clean lines and refined silhouettes articulate in a chic modern attitude.

Previously part of The Aleit Group , Roos and De Leeuw recently ventured out on their own to form aCREATE, and over the past months have made a name for themselves as the go-to-designers for bespoke event experiences in Cape Town and Joburg. Their furniture pieces offer customised décor and accessories that interpret their vision for each unique
event.

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The local events industry has evolved over the years, with clients now demanding service that not only sets them apart, but also delivers enduring memories for their guests, Roos explains when I met him and De Leeuw at Chérie’s studio in Gardens.

Roos, a fashion designer by profession, says the slow living trend has spilled over from lifestyle to décor and design.

“There is a big Japanese influence in design at the moment… a sense of calmness in the furniture pieces. Such as using a statement piece as the focal point instead of cluttering the room with different types of furniture pieces; 

Décor design is heading to a clean and minimalist approach,” says Roos

De Leeuw continues: “Less is more at the moment. Also, people are now more aware than ever and conscious of their environment… People are more aware of the fact that there is a serious water shortage problem.

“We recently did an event where the clients specifically asked for organic materials instead of flowers… which is rare;” she says 

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About their bespoke pieces, Roos says they create functioning pieces meant to be admired.

“For us, it’s really about conceptualising a look for each event, tailoring it to fit in with your brand and vision. These days clients are so over-stimulated by picture-driven social media sites such as Pinterest and Instagram, that it’s key to get a sense of what the client wants and to interpret it in a way that communicates their vision and brand,” says Roos.

 

“Our aesthetic is calm, natural and none aggressive. We want the pieces in our collection to be calming in a sense and make it easy to fit any brief,” says Roos. 

 

The ottoman couch, sort of like a church bench meets a comfortable sofa, is a popular furniture piece at the moment. It’s slick, clean and a beautiful piece, says
Roos.

De Leeuw adds the niche market of interior design is so competitive that one has to stand out in order to survive.

“ You need to stand out, have a unique thing about you that will draw clients,”adds de Leeuw 

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Tamara Chérie Spring/Summer 2016/2017

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AWARD-WINNING designer, Tamara Chérie Dyson, has interned at Vivienne Westwood in London and won numerous design prizes, including the Elle Rising Star Design Award in 2014.

She started her design career last year building her brand and creating a successful diffusion line for Mr Price. In her relatively short career she has
been involved in fashion weeks such as Mercedes-Benz Africa Fashion Week
and Joburg Fashion Week.

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Her collection reflects a balanced sense of timeless elegance and current intuitive design, focusing on achieving impeccable quality and the perfect fit.

Confident and sophisticated, the brand’s collections offer clients an investment wardrobe of discreet indulgence and understated, effortless style.

She recently launched her SS’17 collection which is available at various boutiques in Cape Town and Joburg and also on online shopping platform Spree. She describes her design process as “methodical”.

“I design key silhouettes that I feel every woman will want in their wardrobe that season and then I build on that. I don’t really follow trends and fads. I design then I will sometimes research detailing to add to the collection… I usually follow my heart and it
works,” she says

The Tamara Chérie woman she designs with in mind is “confident, sophisticated and believes in investing in pieces that transcends seasons and fads. A woman who believes in high quality, good designs and good fabrics”, she adds.

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CREATIVE: Eduan Roos, Tamara Chérie and Leandri de Leeuw collaborated for aCREATE and Chérie Spring/Summer 2016/2017.

Connect with with me on Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat @Nontando58
● aCreate at http://www.acreate.co.za/
● Twitter: acreate_za
● INSTAGRAM: acreate_za
● Tamara Chérie Dyson: Instagram:
@TamaraChérieOfficial

This piece was first published in the Cape Argus on November 23 2016. 

 

Floral Couture

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FLOWER HEAD: Model Samira Ako Manieson of Full Circle Models, who is wearing a dress by Jacques LaGrange Couture. Her makeup is by M.A.C Cosmetics. Pictures by  Cindy Waxa. 

Flowers remain a central element for most spring and summer collections. For many years fashion designers have taken inspiration from flowers to create dreamy haute couture and ready-to-wear pieces.

Seen on runways, florals are no longer restricted to prints on garments: designers are complementing their designs with extravagant headpieces as seen recently at the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Joburg.

This is currently a big trend, here at home as well as abroad. Designers such as Dutch luxury fashion house Viktor & Rolf impressed with their 2015 spring and summer collection that styled with elaborate floral embellishments.

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Viktor & Rolf impressed with their 2015 spring and summer collection that styled with elaborate floral embellishments.

Stellenbosch floral stylist extraordinaire Alwijn Burger says it is about time
that flowers were no longer reserved for just the garden or for weddings. Known as Blomboy, Burger has made a name for himself in the niche market as the talent behind surreal floral arrangements worn as headpieces and beautiful arrangements at events of all kinds.

In the past months, he has collaborated with a number of fashion designers, creating floral arrangements that add pizzazz to their showcases. Burger’s work is not limited to flower
accessory pieces for women, he also makes quirky pieces for men.

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I meet Burger at couture designer Jacques LaGrange’s studio in Sea Point where he meticulously creates an extravagant headpiece to go with a daring thigh-baring metallic
dress by LaGrange.

Working on leggy model Samira Ako-Manieson of Full Circle Model Management, he uses tropical leaves and calla lilies to create a leafy and dramatic piece which he describes as
“modest”.

Since the metallic gown already commands attention, Burger had to make sure that the
headpiece did not take away from the glamorous gown.

His process is organic; taking into consideration the dress and model, he plucks and twists and the floral piece comes to life effortlessly. 

The entire process takes just under 15 minutes.

“It’s about time that the meeting of fashion and flowers is becoming a big thing. Flowers have always been the Cinderella of the accessories: they have not been given enough prominence.

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“Also I think we take flowers for granted as we are used to having them in our gardens. We tend not to appreciate them as much. However, we are catching on to the international trend where flowers are a timeless sort of thing… I hope the trend is here to stay.

“Instead of wearing your usual hat or fascinator that will cost you hundreds of rand, why not do a floral fascinator or piece? It’s not expensive; the bunch of flowers that I used on Ako-Manieson were only R350 and it will make your outfit stand out more,”he says.

Although Burger’s love for flowers began as a child, he fell into his now career purely by chance, after landing a job as a clerk at a flower shop in the UK, where he learnt as much as he could about flowers.

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“Flowers are here today and gone tomorrow… they are not an investment but meant to be enjoyed,” adds Burger.

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Connect at blomboy.com, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram: theblomboy

Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat: @Nontando58

This piece was first published in the Cape Argus on November 9 2016.