Hello Foxy Lady

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Hello Fox is an accessories label by Angie and Jo who I met at Wolves across from my apartment. Wolves is awesome. Angie co-owns Wolves thus she's already glazed with awesomeness. Besides that she makes lovely cakes and is an art director for a big company whose logo is # in pink aka Network BBDO. She also has a blog called Lucky Pony www.superduper.co.za/lucky Angie makes the Hello Fox jewellery with Jo, who is apparently addicted to buttons judging by her blog www.buttoncandy. This is their story (as told by Angie):

1. Describe Hello Fox in once sentence
One of a kind awesomes that you wish you could eat.

2. How did it all start?
Jo, the other partner in this duo loves collecting buttons of all sorts. She used to make earrings and then we started chatting and we decided to start making a bunch of other things too.

2. Who wears your accessories?
Awesome people.

3. How do you balance your time between work, Wolves and having an accessories label?
I’m not sure how ahahaa! I eat loads of cake in between to help me motor on.

4. What's your number one seller?
Our brooches, because they are often one of a kind.

5. Will you ever have an Etsy store?
We do have one, just haven’t linked up a paypal account yet. But we will soon :)

I told you they were awesome.

Friends With Jenny

I discovered the Friends With Jenny label when I was working as a fashion assistant in Cape Town. What I like about it was that it came to the magazines through Styling Concepts, a PR agency that most local designers didn't use at the time. I thought, mmm this girl is gutzy and clever and I also thought her clothes were cute! A few years later, she's still around and looks like she's doing well for someone who didn't actually study fashion design. If you didn't know anything about Jenny Russell, here's your chance:

1. How did FWJ come about?

I studied industrial psychology and worked in that field for a while, as well as investor relations. I found that it just wasn’t my thing and I had the dreaded Sunday Blues every week! I has always loved fashion and been interested in styling, designing and writing about it, so I resigned and decided to try it out and see what happened. I started by importing from the UK (high street fashion) and have since changed to South African labels. I wholesale and retail the Friends with Jenny range, and stock other South African brands too.

2. How do you balance your time between being a designer, editor and blogger?

It’s sometimes hard, especially at the moment as I’m building a studio space and that is requiring a lot of time – driving around, picking out finishes, having meetings with builders, etc. I try blog every day, usually first thing in the morning and then schedule certain days for FWJ – admin, driving to fabric houses and my CMT. Editing and writing is a freelance occupation, so when that work comes in I have to prioritise and get it done asap.

3. Who is the FWJ customer?

20 – 30-something confident, fashion conscious ladies who are looking for something a little different to what is available in the chain stores, and certainly not something everyone else is wearing! Unique designs and fabrics are a certainty, with interesting shapes (although always flattering), and exclusivity a definite. I try to mix the trends with classic, basic pieces.

4. What's the most memorable garment you've ever made? Your most successful?

I’m still looking for that ‘bread and butter’ piece; the piece I’ll keep making for years to come and it’ll keep flying off the shelves! Last season though I did a gorgeous summer dress (the Puff Dress), which sold like hot cakes. It was just a classic, flattering, easy to wear summer dress, with a great bust line, tied in at the waist and subtly flaring over the hips. It hit at knee length (always a good bet), but the skirt part could be made longer or shorter with ties in the inner lining, which gave the dress an amazing, asymmetrical, hitch look. Beautiful! I’ll be doing them again this year.

5. How much can people expect to pay on average for a FWJ piece?

Probably about R500 (price points are from about R200 – R900)

6. Where do you stock your clothes?

Joburgh: Just, Malva and Dell’icious Clothing.
Cape Town: Mememe and Fashion Network.
Ballito: Coast.
Paarl: Wild Orchid.
East London: Fizz, BScene and Indigo Jane.
Namibia: Anjo Clothing.

Friends With Jenny is one of the labels that will be sold at the Pulchritude Sale this Saturday!

Silver Servings

Friday, July 23, 2010

Stephanie Beyers of Silver Spoon Clothing is one of my favourite young designers in SA because she's ambitious but with a professionalism that will take her career very far! I fell in love with her cutesy label when I visited her website last year. She lives and works in Port Elizabeth so she's still very much got that country mouse charm about her and her clothing. Silverspoon Clothing will be one the designers at Pulchritude next week. I wanted to find out a little more about her business so I asked her a few questions:

1. What 5 words describe your brand?

Quirky, quaint, dewy-eyed, 'folky', ready-to-wear

2. What is your bread and butter piece? The one that keeps you in business

Definitely the fold cardi, although at first I thought it was really boring... Ive since realised that the simpler the piece, the better the sales.

3. How do you balance being a designer and running a business?

I have days where I feel serious - so those I keep staked for paper work, and days where I feel dreamy - which I reserve for designing... so far handling things like this has worked out well. I managed to see early on that neglecting paper work leads to tears, so I force myself to keep it in tact. I had to make a conscious decision that when I started Silver Spoon I was firstly a business owner, and secondly a designer, so whatever decisions I make I firstly think about how i would benefit Silver Spoon.

4. Does living by the sea influence your aesthetic?

I hardly see the sea! But i think living in a small city does, i grew up on a farm, moved to Plett when I was 12 and then Studied in PE, so I've never really been apart of the hype and fast city life, I have to find inspiration from different places and I don't have much reference to 'who is doing what'. It gets frustrating, but I think its been a saviour. PE can be loads of fun, but its not constant, so I guess there's less distractions!

5. What do you like the most and the least about your job?

- Seeing a girl try on a dress/blouse/whatever that we've made and seeing their face light up.
- All the opportunities...
- I LOVE my studio, my seamtresses and working (working in general - I have been told that its a problem...)
- cutting!
- suppliers running out of fabric...

6. Where do you stock in JHB?

Just - 44 Stanley
Burgandy Fly - Maponya Mall
The Street - Greenside
Dell’icious Clothing - Bryanston

So who is Christopher Strong?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

When I first came across this brand a few years ago, I thought this guy was one of the few male designers in SA who understand the art that is a woman's body. I was initially too embarrassed to ask who he was because one day everyone just knew who Christopher Strong was except for me...until I discovered that a girl was behind the brand. A girl named Olive. I decided to ask her more about her label before any of you come to Pulchritude next week thinking Christopher Strong is a boy. Here is what we talked about:

1. So who is Christopher Strong?

Christopher Strong is a character from an old classic movie that has
become my alter ego (and, apparently, my income!) for the past 2

2. How did it all begin?

I used to design for a menswear brand in Jo’burg but moved on a whim
to Cape Town for a change of pace and scenery. A few years later
Christopher Strong was born out of pure frustration, and perhaps
necessity, as I needed to pursue something more creative. It began on
a very small scale but is it gaining momentum, which is all terribly

3. There's something special about the Christopher Strong brand,
what do you think it is?

I'm hoping it’s because we design clothes that women really want to
wear. Our business so far has consisted of mainly bespoke work –
there is something quite decadent about having a once-off piece made
just for you…especially when it isn’t necessarily for a special

4. What is your bread and butter garment, the one that keeps you
in business?

I've yet to find out! Up to this point, most of our garments are made
to measure but change is on the way with our ready-to-wear collection
which will be ready in October.

5. Tell us about your Woolies T-shirt venture? How did it come
about and are there other similar collaborations up your sleeves?

It started when ELLE asked me to design their birthday T-shirt for
their collector’s issue with Alek Wek on the cover. We finalised five
designs which were all made up for the shoot. The one that was chosen
for the cover developed into a project in collaboration with
Woolworths where the Tee was produced and sold in selected stores. It
was a great exposure and opportunity for the brand.

6. What can Pulchritude shoppers expect from Christopher Strong next week?

A few classic dresses, embroidered Tees and some really fun skirts.
All are very playful and easy to wear and superb for layering.

Clearly we're in for a treat ladies!

Olive is currently working on a new collection that will be shown at SA Fashion Week at the fab new venue (lips sealed for now)! Did I mention that nothing at the sale will be over R1300? The cheapest item is R45 and there's nothing above that. Tomorrow, I sit down with someone else. Stay tuned kids.

pics from www.christopherstrong.wordpress.com

Pulchritude 2 aka PULK-RI-TOOD

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Everyone's invited. This is an anti guest list event so you're welcome to bring whomever you want! Apart from Pulchritude, there will also be a vintage clothing stand by the fabulour VieArem! 

Beautiful Things

Monday, July 12, 2010

Every now and then, I come across a website that plants seeds of doubt in my head about what I do and how hard I work, or don't work evidently! I discovered www.missmoss.co.za. It kinda made me feel like that. Here are some of the beautiful things I've come across from that site and others.

This Vanessa Bruno Collection video featuring Lou Doillon made me cry. It's been a while since I've seen something so beautiful. It's her latest collection and its reminded me why I love my job so much.

“ Le bel été ” a fashion film starring Lou Doillon featuring Gonzales.

Watch the video here http://www.vanessabruno.com/en/

This video is where the future of fashion is headed. I am over runways and front rows.

Here's more of Ms Bruno's clothes. Pre Spring 2010


I also ran into some cute things in other places:

This is a sample from Extra Fancy design from SA born New York Based designers. Check out their website: www.extrafancyco.com

I'm trying to get I love Leroy to do Pulchritude. Legs have never been more crossed.


Then everybody, including Winter, must get the hell out of town for Ruby's AW2010 collection:

images from www.missmoss.co.za and www.10and5.com

p.s. I love my life and I need to get a new camera.

Danica Lepen leaves Black Coffee

Friday, July 9, 2010

I Just received this from Black Coffee:

09 July 2010

Dear Friends

With much sadness but also excitement of the pursuit of new opportunities I have decided to leave my position at Black Coffee. It has been an exciting journey and a place that will be sorely missed. I will now be freelancing as an independent stylist and design consultant.

Black Coffee has been my heart and home for the past five years. We have had a wonderful time developing successful collections and products together. I have been overwhelmed by the support from our clients, media and friends and I feel honoured to have been part of the growth of this established brand I admire as much now as I did when I joined.

Working with Jacques has been a privilege, we were lucky enough to share the same passion and ideas for the brand. I have learnt so much from him, not only has he been a great partner but has also become a close friend.

I look forward to seeing what the Black Coffee team has in store for us next and wish them much success.

Warm regards,
Danica Lepen


Wow, after they won that R150k from Precious Fashion Awards. I genuinely wish her well, she's a good person!

When black people make black people look stupid.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

After last night's African Fashion Week Awards, I finally feel the need to say something about something I've kept quiet about and far away from. African Fashion International hosted an award ceremony last night, in which Michael Jackson, Yves Saint Laurant and Grace Jones were amongst the winners.

The categories: Style Influencer, Lifetime Achievement and Miriam Makeba Style Icon. AFI are the only ones that know why they decided on these categories and people (two of whom could obviously not pick up their awards, did they have reps? are their estates going to be told of this prestigious honour?)and I'm still keen to find out who the judges were, who would have agreed to be part of thinking of all the black people or "African" people in the international fashion industry, and making up awards to give them just because they are black or they are from Africa.

Cecily Lopez, Koto Bolofo, Albertus Swanepoel, Oswald Boateng and Pat McGrath won awards because they are good at what they do, but also because they are black or can be linked to Africa. Who were they up against? Was Albertus up against any other Milliners like for e.g. Phillip Treacy? Was Cecily Lopez compared to any other top models like Lara Stone perhaps? I wonder how they all felt when they got these awards seeing as though most of the people that would have made the whole thing credible were not involved. Who wants to win because they are black or African?

I really hate it when black people make black people look stupid. Those awards made our industry look as random as it has become. As if African fashion doesn't have enough struggles within our own continent and how the world receives us - we have these guys to thank for making fools of an industry they have played a major role in tearing apart.

The second week of August sees the start of Cape Town Fashion Week, yet another pie that AFI has its fingers in. Why are there so many fashion weeks and what good is this doing for the amelioration of South African Fashion? Exposure is no longer a good enough reason - people who have traveled overseas with their names in lights are still hungry, and dying of exposure. How many more fashion shows are there going to be in South Africa before anybody actually MAKES MONEY legitimately?

Some designers were already complaining about being part of the opportunistic Africa Fashion Week (I've heard some ask, "what's going to happen after this fashion week? What good is listening to the CEO of Woolworths to an emerging African designer?) but I just have one question: What do they hope to achieve by all of this?

I wonder if AFI or the designers actually made money from this. If they did, then I'll sew up my words and eat them along with a generous serving of humble pie.

When are people going to stop attending anything that says "fashion week" for the sake of being fabulous or supporting their friends or because it's the done thing? The whole concept of fashion week has been completely devalued in this country yet people continue to want to start more. It's no wonder that somebody in PE was threatening to start an Eastern Cape Fashion Week and a Mpumalanga Fashion Week - because the role and meaning of fashion week in South Africa has lost its meaning.

Three years ago, this was different - the ceiling for growth in this industry was very high and now, it's a matter of mentioning somebody on your blog or being a black star - and you've made it to "the top". Sadly, the joke is on all of us who actually want to see genuine growth in this industry. It's not nice when people's shows have to be cancelled because of lack of attendance when they have worked hard and spent money on making those collections. It also doesn't help that local designers don't have a guild or anything that protects them and their interests collectively as designers do all over the world.

I'm not the first and I wont' be the last person to complain about this - but what are we going to do? Is it okay to just let an industry that was once more exciting than all the overseas ones put together, dwindle at the hands of vague "visionaries" and their nebulous "visions"?

Fuck, I don't know the answers! If I did I would have pasted them on there for everybody to cut. What I do know is that I would much rather be writing an angry piece about people who have embezzled money and did clever things with it than people who have been given wads and wads of cash, and spend it on bullshit and parties.

The Pulchritude Suggestion Box is now open for business!

Monday, July 5, 2010

It's a new month (June was quite rough) and I'm planning a few things, amongst which are a little weekend getaway next week and the second installment of Pulchritude on 31 July and 1 August! This time, I'm just going to have two (Jozi Food Market in Parktown North and the other in Alexandra at Neh) I've got a few new designers I would like to include but I think it's important to find out what else people would like to see at the stall. I'd love something new for the boys, although Love Jozi tee's will hopefully join us again. Is there a closet designer sitting in some concrete building that I don't know about? I've got my list of people but I would love some suggestions guys so don't be shy. You can email me on milisuthandobongela@gmail.com or pulchritude.joburg@gmail.com

Oh M*h&&ad Al Ja Fuck Me.

Friday, July 2, 2010

You know, politics and religion could learn a lot from Fashion. Damir Doma is a Croatian born German designer based in Paris. This is his latest collection from the Paris Fashion Week SS2011 shows. He's onto something. I wonder how a Muslim man or woman feels about this.

Pics from http://bulletproof-stilettos.blogspot.com/

I feel like walking away

Miu Miu, D&G, Chanel and Chimmy Joo! Can you guess my fav?

Pic: www.seaofshoes.com and Style By Kling http://stylebykling.tv4.se/