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


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