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

 

New Month, Fresh Start.

nontando-1-_1942

Hello December!!! As I welcome my favourite month beacuse it’s my birthday month and it means Summer is officially here!  I started a new journey today, as the Fashion and Beauty Editor for the Independent Media group…my dream job fam. I am so grateful and excited for the future;-)

So… naturally, I had to SLAY on my first day at the job. #NontandoWoreWhat 

Top by H&M South Africa 

Pants by Top Shop 

Socks are by Happy Socks the “Local Hero” edition

Shoes by Steve Madden

Nontand_1983.jpg

The pictures are by Tracey Adams 

Connect with me on Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat @Nontando58

Reflecting the times, refreshing fashion

Rich Mnisi 5.jpg

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.

Rich Mnisi 2.jpg

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.

Rich Mnisi 1.jpg

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.

Rich Mnisi 3.jpg

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.

Rich Mnisi 4.jpg

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.

Rich Mnisi profile.JPGDesigner Rich Mnisi

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 

Floral Couture

samira-ako-manieson-6916-1

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.

Viktor &  Rolf.jpg

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.

Alwijn Burger 6935 (1).JPG

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.

Alwijn Burger6906 (1).JPG

“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.

Samira  Ako- Manieson 6982 (1).JPG

 

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

Samira  Ako- Manieson 6991 (1).JPG

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. 

 

Summer SS/16 top hot trends

3-ladies-_tra2993

Photographer-Tracey Adams

Summer is here and it’s time to switch up your wardrobe with some of the season’s hottest looks. From sequins, quirky t-shirts to breezy dresses and playful jumpsuits. Here are  key Spring/Summer 2016 fashion trends and palettes for you to use as your style guide. We have also included two retailers that are trending right now for affordable and stylish shopping.

1 Saarahjasmin Nwajei.JPG

Stylist and lifestyle blogger, Saarahjasmin Nwajei wears a dress by Genesis Style  paired with accessories from Fifth Avenue Collection.  Hair: By Isis Hair Africa

Floral: The floral trend is forever evolving and continues to be one of the favourites for the hot summer months. Floral printed pants, jumpsuits and dresses in bright colours are perfect for a playful and romantic look.

2 Jane Folodi.JPG

Jane Folodi wears a short and sleeveless printed jumpsuit from H&M South Africa. Hair: By Isis Hair Africa

Jumpsuit: Jumpsuits are here to stay. This one-step outfit seamlessly
works for the office and for evening cocktails depending on the style
and length.

3 Jane Folodi and Nontando Mposo.JPG

 Jane Folodi and I  are twinning in baby pink dresses from H&M South Africa and platform shoes from Dolce Vita Shoes.

Twinning Trend : Twinning (the bearing of twins) or wearing matchy-matchy ensembles are popular with besties, mothers and daughters and even lovers.  Celebrities such as Beyoncé and her daughter Blue Ivy  are leading the way turning up  at events head-to-toe identically clothed.  There’s a fine line between cute and corny when it comes to this trend, make sure your outfits are not too busy with too much colour or accessories but keep it to the minimal with solid colours and simple accessories.

4 Jane Folodi.JPGJane Folodi is wearing a sequins skirt from H&M South Africa, the t-shirt, cap and gold metallic sneakers are from Mr Price.

Sequins: Sparkly and colourful sequins decorating skirts, dresses and even pants are hot right now.For those who are not afraid to stand-out, match your sequins to a basic, classic or generally very easy piece of clothing with quirky t-shirts and clashing textures such
as denim or leather.

dunns-clothing-whowearedunns_shot05_296-single-lady-1

Dunns Clothing #WHOWEARE capsule collection

Affordable fashion retailer Dunns recently launched their S/S16 pan-african inspired and locally designed capsule range named ,’Who We Are’ (#WHOWEARE).Inspired by the country and continent’s rich melting pot of cultures.The collection features distinctive designs; some indigenous to the continent such as the ankara print, others created specially for this collection and all reflecting the diversity of African heritage.
The Who We Are collection will be available at Dunns stores throughout South Africa. More more information or to locate your nearest store,
visit www.dunns.co.za.

Supré.JPG

Supré:  Australian-born youth fashion brand, Supré opened it’s first South African store in Cavendish Square in Cape Town last week. This will be followed by two others in Centurion Mall in Pretoria this month and Menlyn Park Shopping Centre in Johannesburg in November. The brand’s must-have Luxe collection, which embodies the ritual of getting ready with the girls includes this season pastel colours of – powder pinks, mints. Styles of whites choker crops, cute shorts, criss-cross camis and major midis.
Follow SUPRÉ
Instagram: @supre_instagram
Snapchat: supresnap

Credits:
All pictures by Tracey Adams (except for the Dunns and Supré images)
Hair: By Isis Hair Africa – www.isishairafrica.co.za or 082 900 5338
Makeup:  Ederees Abrahams
Shoes: Dolce Vita Shoes. www.dolcevita.co.za
H&M South Africa: www.hm.com/za
Mr Price: www.mrp.com

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

This piece was first published in the Cape Argus on October 12 2016. 

 

Iintsizwa Ziphelele

PICTURE: UBUNTU

All pictures are by Ubuntu: Iintsizwa Ziphelel co-founder  Mogomotsi Magome and I. 

Quirky, quality clothing that celebrates the arts and the African culture and heritage is what the Iintsizwa Ziphelele brand is all about. Based in the vibrant and energetic township of Pimville in Soweto, Joburg, the label launched in 2006 and is recognised as one the coolest and oldest streetwear brands.

I meet co-owner Mogomotsi Magome  at their studio/factory early on a Monday morning as the township comes to life. The studio facing the street is a kaleidoscope of colour, displaying t-shirts , headwear, jackets and shirts in mixed prints and fabrics. Chatting over a breakfast of puffy amangwinya (vetkoek) and polony, Magome tells me that Iintsizwa Ziphelele, which loosely translated means Brotherhood, is a story of brothers united by their love for fashion and the arts.

PICTURE: UBUNTU

PICTURE: UBUNTU

Magome and his friend and business partner Mthunzi Nkosi met when they were studying at Tshwane University of Technology (TUT).

“We were studying things that had nothing to do with fashion. I was doing operational management and Nkosi was doing management services… very corporate stuff. We got involved in the arts such as poetry and over time an idea about having a clothing line came about and it wasn’t just him and I at the time, there were other friends involved,” he explains.

3.JPG

“The idea was to create a clothing label that we could identify with, away from mainstream and retail clothing. Mostly because we were in the arts and working with musicians and artists, we wanted to create a brand that people can identify with… an African brand but not your typical African. A blend of African prints mixed with modern styles and fabrics,” says Magome. 

Their signature t-shirts display cool graphics telling stories of African traditions, such as their popular t-shirt with the word “Lobola” on it. This in many African cultures, such as in the Zulu and Xhosa nations, is a price paid by the groom to the bride’s family before marriage.

“The name ‘Iintsizwa Ziphelele’ represents the principles of a brotherhood,” says Magome.

“When we were in tertiary, for a lot of us it was unchartered territory and for us to survive we had to stick together as a collection of friends. There has always been a necessity to keep brothers around, help each other to survive socially and otherwise. That bond that we formed gave birth to Iintsizwa Ziphelele and it has been like that ever since,” he says..

2.JPG

“In the beginning we were just printing t-shirts using a small one-colour screen printing machine, the most basic method of printing that you can use, in a garage. Back then the trend was to print political icons such as Steve Biko on t-shirts, it was about what was happening on the streets and people wanted to see that.

“As time went on we worked with graphic designers to create different kinds of images. It’s a big jump from where we were, we have now moved beyond t-shirts and are creating a variety of things,” says Magome.

5.JPG

Although the brand primarily produces menswear they also have a handful of women’s t-shirts and bucket hats on offer. During my visit I styled their menswear collection for their summer look-book. Their pieces, such as the camouflage shirt and sleeveless bomber jackets work as unisex pieces.

‘’The printed images on our clothing speak about life in the townships and homelands, and represent our daily reality as black peoples no matter where we are in the world. The brand celebrates Ubuntu and the last remnants of our cultures, post apartheid,” says Nkosi, who I interviewed later.

“Through the clothing we get to tell our stories. Fashion has played a role in defining people and eras, telling tales of different generations from the 1600s to the 80’s and now post slavery. We are inspired by the rich history that our country tells, the unique nation of this world – in fashion, music, languages and the different cultural exchanges that come from the different ethnic groups,” he says.

PICTURE: UBUNTU

PICTURE: UBUNTU

From humble beginnings to now having a fully functional mini factory at the back of their studio boasting the latest technology in printing, sewing and embroidery machines, the duo now employs young graduates and offer their services to other brands and organisations.
Not only is their clothing popular in KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape and Joburg, they also have clients overseas.

“The business is funding itself. What we did is to try and create a business model that can sustain the brand. The machines that we use to produce our brand, we also use them to produce printing services to other brands;

A lot of young brands get killed because it’s not that easy to get out there and make as many sales as possible and produce again. We had to find some innovative way of making it work,” Magome explains.

PICTURE: UBUNTU

PICTURE: UBUNTU

 

“Obviously growth is inevitable. Three years from now we should be in every corner of the country in department stores;

One of the business’s primary objectives is to create jobs for our people and play our part in this country’s economic growth, not only by enriching ourselves but by building our community here in Soweto,” adds Nkosi.

 

PICTURE: UBUNTU

PICTURE: UBUNTU

 

Connect with Iintsizwa Ziphelele on:

Facebook: Iintsizwa Ziphelele
Website: http://www.iintsizwa.com

This piece was first published in the Cape Argus on October 3 2016. Find me on Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat: @Nontando58

 

Celebrating Tourism Month

Archery in Parys

Trying my hand in Archiery at the Real adventures place in Parys, Free State province. Picture:Paballo Thekiso

My first road trip was with three of myvfriends. We planned the trip from Durban to Cape
Town in three months. We were young and carefree. We divided the trip into two parts with an overnight stay in Knysna.

For dinner we ate sushi for the first time, in a restaurant by the harbour. This was followed by a late night of drinking at the bar at the backpackers’ where we were staying before stumbling to our four-bunk bedroom in the early hours.

The next morning on the road was rough, we were tired, hungover and excited at the same time about reaching Cape Town. We arrived just before sunset at the Green Elephant backpackers in Observatory, our home for four nights.

The staff welcomed us with open arms and we formed friendships that are still alive today. We spent the days sightseeing in the CBD, shopping at the V&A Waterfront, sipping cocktails in Camps Bay and driving up Signal Hill.

2. Quad Biking in ParysPicture:Paballo Thekiso

The nights were spent playing pool in Lower Main Road Observatory and club-hopping in Long Street. Without realising it until the last night, we had spent most of our petrol money. Our parents came to our rescue, but not before scolding us for our irresponsible
behaviour. Memories from that trip remain fresh in my mind.

What made the trip extra special was we managed to save the little money we had at the time for an adventure that would see the four of us bonding… we learnt a lot about each other during the long drive in a small Corsa.

“I would like to think this trip ignited a lust for travel in each of us”

Since then, the four of us have travelled extensively in South Africa, as well as in Europe and the US. Contrary to what some might believe, one does not require a fat bank balanceto be able to travel, be it local or international. However, some saving and smart planning is key.

Common sense goes a long way. For example, buying a plane ticket a few months before you travel will be cheaper than booking the flight the day before you are due to travel.

In the past, I have taken the Greyhound bus to Durban to visit my family and overland trucks to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and Namibia for holidays. The experiences are priceless.

New Image

Queening with the BaSotho women dressed in their traditional wear called Thebetha

“Venturing out of your comfort zone and learning about other people and cultures will teach you things about yourself and the world you won’t find in a textbook”

 

2

Enjoying a sunset cruise on the Vaal River. Picture by Paballo Thekiso.

One of my favourite Sho’t Left (domestic travels) trip include a visit to Joburg where I caught up with friends and family. On a recent trip there I spent a weekend in Soweto, which is home to some of South Africa’s world famous names, such as Nelson Mandela, and is known for history changing moments such as the 1976 Soweto student uprising.

During my stay there I visited the Mandela house in Vilakazi Street, a buzzing street lined with restaurants and cafés… a not so common sight for a township. There is an electrifying energy that hangs in the air that when I left, I felt empty .

Recently I paid a visit to my home town, but opted to stay at a hotel in the city centre instead of home as they were busy renovating. I saw Durban through the eyes of a tourist for the first time and I became one.

I visited art galleries, museums, took long leisurely walks on the beachfront promenade and discovered cafés where I spent hours watching people. I returned with a new-found appreciation for the city where people have no whims about striking up conversations with strangers. I realised how much I missed this simple act of ubuntu (human kindness) that is still alive there.

4

Last week I spent a week in the Free State visiting several towns. It was my first time there and I experienced a number of firsts. I learnt about towns I never knew existed, such as Vredefort near Parys.

I quad biked, I tried my hand at archery and went river rafting on the Vaal River. All these sporting activities were never on my to-do-list of fun things while on a holiday before this trip.

1. L-R Liam Joyce and Nontando Mposo river rafting in the Vaal RiverLiam and I slaying. Picture:Paballo Thekiso

September is tourism month, an annual celebration focusing on the importance of tourism for the economy. The theme for this year is Tourism For All: Promoting Universal Accessibility.

It aims to encourage everyone to explore and rediscover our country. So, round up a group of friends or family for a Sho’t Left somewhere.

Visit:www@shotleft.co.za for more travel inspiration. 

3

Connect with me and follow my adventures on Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat @Nontando58. 

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