Jay Madonson06/03/2018

The past few decades the world has been looking at major fashion cities such New York, Milan, Tokyo and Paris for fashion and new trends. Many have never imagined that Africa would be considered the fashion inspiration.

African creativity is currently at the forefront of what is happening in the industry worldwide.

We have reached the point where we realize that it is not only about receiving what we see but share with rest of the world how we see ourselves without being influenced by Western platforms. Although with this success, it is hard to ignore that international brands have been appropriating our cultures and excluding us in the process. According to the South African fashion Handbook “the rest of the world continues to take inspiration from across the continent but Africans aren’t benefiting from the popularization of fashion inspired by our cultural garb”.

This is an alarming issue considering that they take what is ours and they protest that it was originally created by them. In all the digital activism, we are seeing many creatives taking the stand, creating platforms that put us in the right directions to be “on demand”. Whether they are fashion designers, photographers, musicians or creative directors, they are seeing the gap created between Africa and the rest of the world. They are seeing the value of being authentically us and in the word of Trevor Stuurman “giving them what they won’t find on Google”.

Siya Beyile of The Threaded Man has been in the lead when it comes to telling the story of young African men who love fashion, and proving that wearing African brands does not make you any less cooler, but sets the tone of how the rest of the world sees our distinctive taste. From designers such as Laduma Ngxokolo, Rich Mnisi and Chuulap, these designers are not shying away from creating sharp edge designs and custom made African patterns inspired by our cultures.

Not forgetting Kwena Baloyi and Sho Madjozi, who have become the African trendsetters and sure have the world looking at them for inspiration. It is comforting to see that Africa is on its way to become respected in the fashion industry. The more people create, the more we are becoming relevant and showing the diverse talent we have. Africa is on its way to become the leading fashion destination and the world is definitely watching.

Jay Madonson05/31/2018

It is not a bizarre moment when you see street wear on the runway these days. We are probably in the greatest era of fashion, not only locally but globally as well. Gone are the days when the magazines, the internet and the fashion weeks were filled with luxury brands that most people can’t even afford. Not to say big fashion houses are not relevant anymore. However we are seeing street brands rapidly growing, becoming affordable and importantly becoming luxury.

Virgil Abloh is one street influencer most people can think of when talking about street culture. He has been able to interpret what he was influenced by and putting it in one form which is Off-White, his luxury street label.

But what does street culture mean to young people who grew up in the era of highly accessible skate culture and pop culture. Why is it important for them to wear these brands, even stand in long lines to get their hands on capsule collections?

Our experiences are told via clothing

Every designer before creating a fashion line is inspired by something. It may be what they saw on the net, a certain influential figure or may be inspired by a certain object. In the street movement, this is a great opportunity for designers to open new dialogue and interpret how they see street culture. Wanda Lephoto, a South African influencer turned designer has been able to create collections inspired by his township experiences.

According to The Citizen “In the past five years or so, a fashion avalanche led by a global movement of hipsters, has found its way onto South African streets where youngsters began making statements by putting together clothing ensembles in various ways.”

Many creatives are finding new ways to define their own spaces. Queer individuals are creating their own paths and displaying it in the streets. What remains important is that, designers are changing the status quo. What was important then has been intertwined by many to cater for their needs.

Collaborations between street and luxury brands

We are seeing rise of luxury brands that are collaborating with street designers. A great example of this is the collaboration between Supreme and Louis Vuitton. This collaboration had love-hate relationship with many street fashion lovers. But it speaks to the power of influence and that customers are sort of gearing the fashion movement, they are now clued up with what they want to buy, what they want to see and how they want to wear those clothes. According to GQ Style SA Virgil Abloh described the collaboration as “the modern moment in fashion that existed in our current time”.

The Internet is ruling the fashion scenes

Industry leaders such as Anna Wintour, Grace Coddington to name just a few were spearheading the fashion industry. If a certain trend or brand is on Vogue, then it meant it was cool and luxurious enough to be consumed. But in the past few years, the digital space became the “New Vogue“. Youngsters are interested in the DIY style, and they are the ones who decide which brands they want to wear, it is no longer the decision of industry leaders to determine what is trending at the moment. If young people want to wear oversized jackets and ironic slogan tees inspired by Vetements they will wear them. If they want to wear jeans with flowers, bags with butterflies, inspired by Gucci they will wear them.

It may be possible that street culture has been the “norm” all these years. But the industry generation next that is highlighting its existence and it seems street style, fashion and DIY movement is here to stay.  Street wear is what is worn on the street and it’s how real people wear clothes. Whatever is happening on these streets, it is definitely setting a new tone for where fashion is heading.


Some girls and boys grew up enjoying playing dress-up in front of the mirror but only a smidgen of those go on to become stylists. Lufuno Claire Sathekge is part of that drop of individuals who’ve made their happy time in front of the mirror a career.

“A friend of mine who had started photography offered to take snaps of me during lunch time, to practice his photography and for me to document my outfits. He and another friend eventually started a photography company and they used me to style their first big shoot, and that’s how I started,” Sathekge says.

The 31 year-old did her three year Bcom marketing degree from RAU, now the University of Johannesburg and says she never considered being a stylist a career until only after she had started working in the marketing industry.

It’s been four years since she switched industries and now Sathekge’s name is visible in the running credits of some of your favourite TV shows. “I am still with Vuzu, I also style Massive Music. My relationship is with the production house, Don’t Look down Productions. It has been a beautiful, growing and fulfilling journey with them. I get to do what I love and work with an amazing team.”

“Style is what you do with your clothes… It is how you put them together and make them your own that makes you stylish.”- Lufuno Claire Sathekge

Sathekge also offers her expertise to musicians in their music videos. She did the styling in Mafikizolo’s award winning music video Love Potion, she’s also worked with vocalist Tresor and Nomuzi Mabena among some of her clients. “Some people have no style sense, but I have yet to work with those kinds of people. I prefer to collaborate in all my styling work so I always make sure to have the client’s sense of style in mind when I start working with them. I do know some people I wish I could rescue though…but I have yet to work with them,” she says.

Three years ago she was part of an ad by SA Tourism with Velocity Africa which got her going to various parts of Mzansi documenting people’s novel experiences of travelling within the country.

“It was one of my best work experiences ever. Extremely challenging as well.”

It’s often said that style is innate and inherited while fashion on the other hand sees people draped in colour-blocking items because it is what’s fashionable on the day, not because it’s who they are per se. Much like a one-hit wonder juxtaposed to an artist who can produce a body of work.

“Style is what you do with your clothes. We can all buy the same clothes from the same places. It is how you put them together and make them your own that makes you stylish.”

“My style is moody, a bit eclectic but always classic with a fun twist,” states Sathekge. “I have a lot of items that I collect that are signature to my style like quirky brooches, biker jackets and items with Mickey Mouse on them.”

She admits to not being one who looks too far ahead regarding her future, but that hasn’t barred her from dreaming.

“I’m currently working on my clothing range. I’d like to grow beyond South Africa with my work, do more editorial and arty work. I’d love to experience this work in different parts of the world but mainly on the African continent.”

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