I can't access the proper pics from this weekend's SA Fashion Week, but as soon as I do, I will post them. Chris Saunders, who was collaborating with Elle Magazine took a few more backstage pics from some of the shows. How amazing are these Smarteez pics? It was their very first show and I'm devastated that I missed it because I was horizontal nursing a migrane, nausea and just general exhaustion. My boys have come such a long way and I think what will ensure their success is that their stuff is precisely not everybody's pick.
As I was leaving the buyer's session, after some sartorial pleasantries with Christopher Strong, Silverspoon and Joel Janse van Vuuren, I walked past the most beautiful jersey's I've ever seen in my life. I stopped, did a 360 around the room and screamed "Who is responsible for these jerseys?" At that point, a tall, dark figure came towards me and humbly proclaimed "This is my stand". I had to take a few moments to gather myself because of how I was feeling. You know when you're about to cry and your tears well up in your eyes as if there are pieces of glass covering your eyeballs? And all you have to do to prevent them from breaking out of your eyes and onto your face is to pull them back towards your bottom lids? That's exactly what I did. I've been searching for a really good, really good, really humble and unaffected black designer - and what better person exemplifies such a yearning than the young Laduma Ngoxolo? I also think I was overly emotional because he is, like me, Xhosa and has references of his culture all over his clothes - but it's not literal. He makes the most beautiful [Colour Blocking meets Alpine meets Dr Huxtable sweaters meets traditional Xhosa attire] jerseys from cashmere, mohair and wool!
I'm certainly not the first to discover this guy, Capetonians and other visitors got to see him at this year's Design Indaba and were equally blown away, so blown away in fact that he is set to export to Milan, Paris and London, and in fact his stuff is being exhibited at a Design Show in Milan thaaaday! Are you joking? He is still a student at Nelson Mandela Metropole University in Port Elizabeth of all places. Jaaaaysus! I've now joined the queue of people waiting to stock his stuff (his will be the only boys clothes I will stock at Mememe Joburg inshala). The pictures don't do his work enough justice - touching and smelling these gems is very special and so is he. He is actually a textile designer (you don't meet one of those on any old day) who specialises in natural fabrics - I mean, I flipped when he said "I struggle to find the right yarn". Yarn. I don't think I've actually ever heard a black man say such a commonplace word and make it sound like whip cream! It was an honour to meet you man if you're reading this!
As for the actual fashion shows at SA Fashion Week - my absolute favourite shows if I had to choose three were Ephymol, Lunar, Black Coffee! These three designers always manage to stick to their guns yet always improve on their last collections. Well done guys! I knew I wasn't going to be crazy for collections from designers like Uyanda Mbuli, Gert Johan Coetzee or RJKay but I figure, why hate if these guys have more fans and customers in their shiny pockets than most "good" designers? I never used to understand why SA Fashion Week insisted on having a platform for these kinds of shows, but it only dawned on me now that they really are about "The Business of Fashion". Judging by the number of friends and fans that always holler and cheer when the worst outfits come on at these kind of shows, you gotta wonder whose laughing last at the end of the day. Me the intellectual snob who will go back and write about it on my unpaying blog or Reggie and Gert who probably have order lists as long as the fishtails on their dresses? There is a place for every single kind of person in this world and I commend those who choose to allow for that.
One thing that wasn't cool about that night though was sitting across from Abigail Betz who was saying some deeply inappropriate and tactless things on Twitter about the shows and SA Fashion Week. For someone whose brand exudes class and sophistication, her attitude and tweets were an #epicfail and reeked of the dustbins that are collecting all over Joburg as a result of the garbage collectors' stayaway.