When I was 15 (That makes me sound ancient, I’m 27) we didn’t have blogs to read for fashion inspiration. Heck we didn’t even have dial up Internet. In fact, when I was an eight grader (or ‘Standard Six’er as it was then) clothes were the last thing on my mind. All I really cared about was beating my Mario Top Score and making mix tapes. We lived in slops and tops and life was sweet.
Now, teenagers - nay tweens - have front row seats at Haute Couture shows. The blogosphere is bouncing with seriously stylish under 21’s. When I got to London and saw all these young girls rocking boyfriend blazers and brogues down Oxford Street, I felt ridiculously uncool and stupendously inspired. It’s like a city of Olsen Twins and mini Alexa Chungs. But how did they all become so stylish?
Well, for one, they live in a great big city of creativity. And while Londoners set some of the world's biggest trends, they're not necessarily trend-led. Rather, they handpick the trends that take their fancy and work them into their individual styles. I think we’re a bit more trend-focused in SA, or Durban at least (I’ve never lived in Jozi or Cape Town so I can't really comment on the whole country) Remember when peasant skirts were big news in 2003? Everyone was wearing them! (Not you? Ok, nearly everyone) And who can forget the ¾ length black skirt and Kangol platforms of the 90's. Or the pedal pusher of 2000? When a trend hits home, it seems to hit hard and that’s not necessarily a bad thing, I guess. But it is nice to see that some looks live on past their heyday in the UK... boys in bow ties and tweed jackets, girls in tea dresses and fifties flicked lashes. Wouldn't it be lovely if you could bundle some of that up and bring it back to SA?
Of course we have our share of amazing designers and stylish folk who wave our fashion flag high but wouldn't it be nice to throw in more international inspiration to the mix? It must be easier to find your own style when you're exposed to so many others. But why am I making such a big deal out of clothes? They are just clothes after all. True, true but London was a lesson in a number of fashiony things for me. The biggie was that fashion is for everyone regardless of your shape or size. And secondly, fashion is fun! London reminded me that I can wear Star Wars T-Shirts and ridiculous bows in my hair till I'm chilling in Shady Pines. Like the music we listen to and the movies we watch, our clothes can be a wonderful extension of who we are. So are we having enough fun with them in South Africa? Do we dress for the sake of dressing, to 'fit in' or feel fabulous? How free to do you feel to experiment with new looks? I think the confidence to express yourself comes with numbers and Durbs for one, is a fairly small city. It's not always easy to try something new, is it? Or is that just me?
I'd love to hear your views on fashion in SA. What motivates you to buy the clothes that you do? Do you you turn to local fashion mags for monthly blasts of inspiration? Or do you prefer the imported editions and if so, why? I sometimes feel the British mags do a better job of demonstrating how to put clothes together. The outfits seem more wearable yet they still have an element of edginess to them. How often does a window display influence your purchases? Or do you just do you own thing and if so, what inspires your choices? I'm super curious to hear your thoughts! My friend Taryn, feels we're more influenced by US looks as seen in our gossip mags and I think she's got a point there. I find street style blogs or personal blogs with outfit posts way more inspiring than runway snaps. It's great to see girls of all shapes, skintones and hair colours pairing Primark heels with Mui Mui bags!
So tell me girls and guys, what are your thoughts and views on local fashion? And if you live over sees, I'd love to hear what you've seen, heard and read about South African style. Over to you!