Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Today I got an email from Zoo Magazine, a German fashion/literature/art/architecture magazine that's the equivalent to the tea-sets that used to stay in the wall unit in your childhood or the shamrock or press less blankets and linen your mother used to take out for visitors. It's very special and has some of the world's best photographers as regular contributors including Steven Klein and David La Chappel. Remember my post from the other day, Diane Pernet writes for this mag. It's amazing what the universe gives you when you're open to it. mmmm

Somehow they got my details from the internet and asked me to send the winning story that was published in Elle for some research they are doing for a feature on them. Of course I'm going to try to get a credit at all costs.

This is on top of the fact that today I saw first drafts of the Smarteez feature in the Dazed and Confused South African issue out in June 2010. It's the best typeface I've ever seen, lay out is great and so is the story. I can't wait to see and touch it.

But for now, here are some of Hedi Slimane's photographs from December 2009 - an exhibition called PARIS ANJA SEANCE PRIVEE. Not sure what it means but the pictures are incredible.

Source, which I highly recommend you visit www.hedislimane.com and www.zoomagazine.de

Best of Tokyo

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Sartorialist has been in Tokyo for the past couple of days and this is what he's been seeing. What I would do to drink that city up. Images are from www.thesartorialist.blogspot.com

Salty Dog Salty Dog, Honey let me be your Salty Dog

I just felt like saying that. Cat Power.


On Saturday morning, after waking up to the weather's interpretation of that saying "Hell will freeze over before...." (It was so cold I had to cancel an 8am appointment because I just couldn't do it), Celiwe and I decided to finally go and get inked. I'd always wanted these tats and she was kind enough to make them my birthday presents. So here they are:

In case there's any doubt that I'm dedicated to the fashion industry's cause - I got a hanger on my right arm and my favourite symbol in life on my left hand. Now I literally wear my heart on my sleeve. Celiwe got theeee coolest tat - a rendition of one of Keith Haring's drawings from 1981.

Diane Pernet

I've seen her in brief, flashes of "wow who is she?" on television and maybe somewhere in my daydreams and I always wondered who she is and why she's so endearing. I saw her very briefly (as if it was one of those dreams) in New York with paps following her and stares thickening as she walked past. I finally found out that her name is Diane Pernet and she's a fashion journalist (that's what I like most about her), blogger, photographer, film collaborator and used to be a fashion designer in New York in the 1980s. She left NY in 1990 to move to Paris where she's been for the past 20 years. The one thing that does my head in about her is that she wears black every day and has a signature beeeeeehive that she covers with a black veil every.single.day, wears red lipstick and 50s style cat-eye spectacles. She's got a blog called www.ashadedviewonfashion.com which is quite the influence I hear, of many other blogs and magazines. (She co-edits Zoo Mag and is a regular contributor to French Vogue and French Elle)

The reason I finally discovered who she is is that she and Tavi Gevinson are going to select who wins a chance to screen a fashion film at the 3rd annual "A Shaded View on Fashion Film Festival" in Paris. This is a fest that Diane pioneered - a festival in which the marriage of fashion and film is acknowledged and celebrated. But mostly, I just wanted to tell people about her. She's got an incredible presence. Oh, the reason why she wears black is because she mourns her husband who died in the 1980s - to this day.

Here's some vintage Pernet.

Images www.ashadedviewonfashion.com

Coachella 2010 Fest

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I love music fests and I would do anything to go to Coachella in California. I got to know about it because the one I love the most, Regina Spektor always performs there. You can tell the kind of music that's played there by the way people are dressed. But Beyonce and Jay Z performed there this year so it's not only indy kids I guess. AND DIE ANTWOORD, silly sods. These are my three favourites from style.com - I can't wait for Oppikoppi again. Note the shoes. And the mustache on girl number 1!

How nice is this?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I found this on www.deeelightful.com (a really delightful blog) and it's a shoot for Harpers US in which a model dressed up as some fashion's most powerful designers. I didn't know it initially and was shocked to see Karl Lagerfeld taller and leaner and Donatella Versace looking very much younger and better, until I read the fine print. What a wonderful idea. Eat up.

I've been very quiet for the past couple of days because I'm being molested by words, sentences and deadlines. The biggest thing to happen to my career (I think) thus far crept up on me last week and the deadline's on Friday so I'm on my best behaviour and my fingers are bleedin phrases and clauses, but all is well. All will be revealed in time.

I haven't had enough internal peace to be looking for nice things on the internet and I was meant to tell you all about the wonderful "sale" I attended on Saturday at SA Fashion Week's offices. It wasn't a sale, but what they called Chic Swap - where we swapped clothes instead of buying them. I gave away 7 items of clothing and managed to get two really good pieces, a black velvet Soda skating skirt and a long black, high waisted vintage paisley print skirt, which I wasted no time wearing that night. There were some beautiful old Black Coffee and Clive Rundle dresses and coats from Lucilla's personal wardrobe (a very very treasured place to shop from) - it's a pity none of them fit me. I don't have pics because my camera was the last thing on my mind when I was "shopping". The left over clothes went to charity, while some were on sale for R100, with proceeds also going to charity.

I miss NY

via PopAfricanaBlog, The Sartorialist and Jak and Jil Blog

sorry about the typos :-(

Saturday, April 17, 2010

A friend of mine just confirmed she's a good friend because she pointed out my typocitis. Oops. Sorry guys, it ends to today. Thanks A xxx

This is favourite South African designer success story.

Friday, April 16, 2010

On the day I’m scheduled to interview designers Gina and Caren Waldman of Two, I’m on time, but there’s a major strike in town so it will be very difficult for me to get to their New Doornfontein studio and office. Had I been interviewing other designers, I probably would have been nervous to request a change of venue at the last minute but with these two, it was all arranged in seconds of friendly yeses and of courses. That’s the first thing I really like about both of them: they are really approachable.

Unfortunately, I didn’t always feel this way about them. When I first came across the Two label in Cape Town in 2006, I thought their clothes were too basic and boring. Of course I did, I worked for a magazine and we only wanted fashiony clothes for our fashion shoots. I then went to their Fashion show at SAFW in 2007 and was only mildly impressed at their commercial range, because my 22 year old self thought that being a good designer was only about creating high fashion and because, in retrospect, I was way too big for my boots. Needless to say I wasn’t alone in my misguided convictions, there are still some fashion editors and stylists who want them to be something they are not.

What Caren and Gina Waldman are, are businesswomen who are probably among the top earners in this industry because they work smart and don’t have huge designer egos and personas to maintain. Maybe it’s because they didn’t study fashion (we know what that can do to nice people), and that's the second thing I like about them. Caren, the older of the two, has a degree in Graphic Design from the Parsons School of Design in New York and Gina has an MA in Fine Arts from Wits. Although Caren has been consumed by her love of fashion since she was a child, their fashion initiation wasn’t planned. It started with a pair of panties that they made and gave to their friends as gifts (different panties obviously). The panties were such a hit that they started getting orders for more, then vests to go with the panties and over the next two years, after making a R2000 investment on their little under-things business, they were working on Two full time, using their parents’ lounge as their base.

Five years later, they have a studio that doubles as a CMT in town and their range has grown to include everything from dresses, to jackets to pants that are available in 56 stores all over South Africa and Namibia. In case you didn’t get that, they stock fifty-six stores. That’s production of up to 1200 units per garment every month.

Gina and Caren Waldman at this year's Buyers and Media Networking sessions during SA Fashion Week.

Here’s how they did it:

1. They are organised and use teams

“You need teams of people to put a label together. The SA Fashion Week team has been amazing in helping us build our business over the years”, says Caren. They are still getting orders from their Winter 2010 collection which they showed at SAFW in October last year – orders that are currently sitting at R960 000 in value, though it sounds better if I say, orders that are almost R1 Million in value. They haven’t delivered the stock yet because they are still administering the process of producing those outputs at their three CMTs but they will be ready before winter.

So who does what? When it comes to creating the clothes, Gina does the research on international magazines and websites and is in charge of designing the clothes with consultation from Caren, who does all the graphics from their labels to their website. Once they’ve finalised designs, they give them to their patternmaker and the rest is done at the CMT. They leave production to the CMTs while they focus on the following:


Graphics and Brand Identity
Design consulting
Collections – money from stockists
Website Managing


Research and Design
Order Forms
Store Liaison
Production Schedules

As you can see from this structural set up, the focus is more on the business and not so much on the intricacy of the clothing. Of course all designers are different and some like to be hands on with the production, but many that do this focus too much on that element and not what’s going to sell the clothing. Caren and Gina spend 4 days of the week doing Two related stuff, and of those days, only one is spent in their office. They spend the rest of the time oiling the system they’ve created and even more time marketing Two to shops, not so much consumers surprisingly. I wish I could scan and show you the order form they use for all their stores – a picture of each garment appears on the sheet including ways to wear it and which of their other garments it goes with, making life for the stockists as easy as possible.

2. They started small and took their time

Two made panties and vests for two years before they made tops and trousers. That was enough time for them to learn about the business of fashion and for their brand to grow. “If you start off with a whole collection, you’ll bomb”, they both say at the same time. A lot of designers may not agree with this but I think the essence of what they are saying is that it’s important to start small, by producing a few products until you have perfected them, instead of making a lot and having a hard time selling the clothes. They started with consignment at 4 shops and they didn’t make a lot of money in the beginning, but 5 years later, they make money from the few stockists that they have consignment deals with but the majority of their stockists buy their stock from them. “So this is why you haven’t opened a shop yet?” I ask. Gina shoots back, “why should we when this is working so well for us?”. A lot of designers rush to open stores and get stuck with expensive rent and not enough profit, but this is not to say that the Two method works for everyone. The most important thing is accessibility. Consignment sucks in the beginning, but that’s how people get to know your brand. Caren confirms the point about brand accessibility: “The other day", she says, "we saw a woman over 70 wearing one of our tops and we were happy, but wondered which one of our stockists she bought it from”.

3. They are easy to communicate with

When I organised a trunk sale at Glamour Mechanics last year, Two was one of the participating labels. They always picked up their phones when I called, responded to emails immediately, returned whatever forms needed to be returned on time – could that be the reason why they made the most money that day? We can’t always pick up our phones or get to our emails on time but its much easier to deal with someone who throws the ball back in your court every time you serve it to them and these girls take communication very seriously. Both have BlackBerry’s so they can constantly be in touch with stockists, customers and people like me, who enjoy dealing with them because it’s easy. They also say having good terms and conditions with their stockists is part of their success with them, “We have a returns policy, give the stores 30 days to make payments and we always make sure we deliver on time”.

4. They have no Egos.

This is a bit of a touch-and-go subject, because it’s subjective really. But to be honest, a lot of people, not just designers in this industry have egos. What’s important with these two is that they have not let their success get to their heads. They may not be featured in top magazines and initially they were not happy with the lack of coverage, but I had to remind them that their bread is buttered thickly on both sides and that some of the “fabulous” designers featured in top magazines with the amazing clothes, aren’t exactly rolling in dough.

What I’ve learned from talking to Two is that your talent as a designer should be balanced by good business sense and vice versa. Every excellent designer should have a left brain partner – Marc Jacobs has Robert Duffy and Vivienne Westwood had Malcom McClaren at the beginning. It’s even better if both designers are versatile and can handle admin and the creative.

I've always preached this of course, but this was the first time I've ever really seen its excellence face to face. The girls' latest venture will be stocking a major retailer. A national retailer has shown some interested in their clothing (please note, the retailer called them), in fact they are already talking to it. Clue: it's not Woolies or Edgars or Truworths! I'm so proud of them and I hope other designers learn from these two, I'm pretty sure I could convince them to give classes on making order forms.

Pic sources: Natalie Payne via SA Fashion Week's Facebook Page.

For more information on these Two, visit their website www.twotwo.co.za

This is why she's TheOnlyHeadGirl - Prefects find this kind of shit out

Thursday, April 15, 2010

My very resourceful friend Sara (TheOnlyHeadGirl) just sent these to me in light of my last blog, where I realised that Darkie hoodwinked all of us into believing that he created those tie skirts. Well, in his defense, I don't remember him ever saying he made up the idea, but he omitted the fact that the idea wasn't his. He is not the first or the last person to do this, we know it happens in China and India but those guys are upfront about their thievery.

The point is, if you're a designer that's thinking about copying something and you think nobody will find out, think again. Just ask Cynthia Vongai or Darryl Bristow Bovey.

P.S Can we please just forgive these two people already? It's been so long. Where in the world is Cynthia now?

Lies, Deceit and Betrayal

One day when I was 16 years old (2001) I was reading a Cosmopolitan on a Sunday afternoon. While reading, I saw a new designer with a label called Darkie, whose name was Themba Mngomezulu. A few things excited me about him: that he was black and using vintage clothes as inspiration - my favourite items were his skirts made from ties. I went mad for them, fell instantly in love and did something so stupid, I'm convinced it's the reason why I have to be introduced to him everytime I meet him all these years later (he "never remembers me".bucket please)...I sent him an SMS saying I wanna be in fashion or something so teenagly stupid, I wish I could remember. Of course he never responded and I totally understand why.

As a 16 year old growing up in East London there were a few limitations:

a) I was dead bored and so anything from the outside excited me - 60s rock music, encyclopaedias and y-mag.
b) I had a very distinct and otherworldy fashion sense, mostly vintage and i would break my clothes and put them together with paint, losing "respect" from my mother, her friends and my peers everytime I stepped out the house.
c) I'm not going to carry on with this list because I wanna get to the bottom of why I even posted this at 12.35 am

I was looking at Tavi's blog (as one does) and she was going on about Sassy Magazine - a now defunct American teen mag from the late 80s. One of the images on her site is this:

Take a good gander at the image on the bottom right. He totally copied it. I've spent the past 20 minutes trying to look for his "rendition" of the skirt but can't, though I remember that he used bluish ties for his. Did anybody else know this and am I the pitied fool that found this out literally 10 years later?

Is this nothing or am I freaking out about nothing? Do other designers do this? Because if that's the case, then I shouldn't blame him only but it's still something totally uncool. I mean you can be inspired by something, but direct plagiarism? I feel lied to, deceived and betrayed.

At times like this I wish Fashion Police wasn't just a tacky show on E!

Pic: www.tavi-thenewgirlintown.blogspot.com

Beautiful Girl

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Today I woke up missing New York because it's summer there now and people like Oroma Elewa, editor of Pop Africana Magazine, live there. She's got a very cool blog about her finds in New York, with a focus on black people and things, because there is hardly any amazing imagery of black people in this world. Enjoy this and please visit her blog www.thepopafricanablog.com - all the images are taken from there. Oh, and Pop Africana magazine is finally in print form, but god knows when the ship that delivers it to South Africa will dock.

Two Words: Tilda Swinton

Look, I don't wanna say too much because I'm a bit cleaned out word-wise to comment on what I'm about to share with you. If you've been following this blog, then you'll know that I have a mildly obsessive thing, for lack of a better word (remember what I said) for Tilda Swinton. So when I took a break from my other writings, I went on the Dazed sight and was accosted and serenaded by this:


Once you get to the link, relax, then scroll down and press play.

In short:

Glen Luchford has made a short film on Tilda, beautifully shot and bare and remedy-like in it's simplicity, with music by Nick Cave. She's a woman in love and is battling to express her love for this person because it's so much (again no words) and she doesn't want to do a monologue, but write a love letter.

Some Good Goss

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

So the rumour mill has spewed out the following recently:

a) That AFI might go big with an e.commerce site so that all their designers' clothes are available on line.
b) SAFW is gonna go even more exclusive with exhibitions for buyers only and not fashion shows. Sounds dreamy.
c) There's gonna be a month long local fashion designer sale at Main Street Life during the World Cup. Brilliant.
d) My plans to host my very own sale are slowly coming together. Can't wait to invite the designers.
e) The story I'm busy writing about Two Girls will probably change somebody's life. They are so clever.

Disclaimer: This may or may not be a regular feature of this blog. This is just stuff I heard that's good for everyone involved in this industry. Oh, and duh, these are only rumours at this point. If anything is true, I will confirm. Only D and E are the absolute truth because their etymology is me.


Hello two new followers :-)

1. Is what I'm wearing - my new favs from Woolies: Over the knee grey socks. Can't wait for Winter.
2. Is what I'm reading - Vogue India, a gift from a genuinely Indian friend (not that SA Indians aren't) and 3. Business Day's Wanted. Nice cover.

I've decided that I'm going to dedicate Tuesdays to do my favourite thing which is to read cool magazines and sit on the internet and just look for cool stuff. I've been so busy in the past couple of days that I haven't had time to sit and do what got me to start blogging in the first place.

So here's today's find: BLACK BEAUTYYYYYYYYYS! Source: www.viceland.com and I actually know two of these beautiful girls.

Reading these two mags led me to looking for this season's best print ad campaigns from some of my favourite image makers. It's a pity about the Pringle one with Tilda Swinton, I think it could have been better (I didn't put it up) Here they are in A particular order: from loved to more loved. Just kidding. That would be way too much admin.

Chanel Spring Summer 2010 shot by Karl Largerfeld. It looks like an 19th Century painting. So beautiful.

Fall/Winter 2009/2010 also shot by Karl. I know it's late but how beautiful? Intle lengane kuthiwa nguFreja Beha Ericsson.

Miu Miu featureing that 15 year old American Lindsay Wisxon. The shoes. T.h.e.S.h.o.e.s.

Balenciaga Spring Summer 2010. I mean have you ever? Shot by Steven Maisel.

Versace - I'm not a fan of Versace but these are hot pictures

Then finally, Mango. I know it's not a designer store but this picture makes me want to go and plant a tree or sweep the streets or something. These kinds of pictures are good for the world. I heart Scarlett.

The reason I've posted these pictures isn't just because they make me weak at the knees, but that hopefully a local designer will get the idea of shooting a "Campaign" for his or her collection - a campaign that doesn't necessarily have to be for a magazine but for a blog or a facebook page or whatever - just so the clothes are accessible to anyone in the world at the click of a button.

Even retailers like Mr Price can do this. Their blog is good enough, I wish they could play around for their own campaigns instead of the meat and potatoes store window ads. I'm taking my 40 year old aunt to Black Coffee on Saturday because she saw a pic of a coat from their website and she's going to buy it. Use the net people. But she had never heard of them before and she's rich and likes clothes. ????