Lukundo Nalungwe


You must have picked up some great styling tips as a model; can you share one? The best tip I’ve picked up is not to stick to just one style; mix it up! When I had just started modelling, I thought fashion or style was wearing high heels and girly clothes. Boy, was I wrong! I learnt a lot watching stylists put outfits together. They would pair what I thought were random things – and then it would turn out amazing.

What’s the one thing you own multiple versions of? Converse! I have a few pairs in all white, all black, navy blue, and black and white. I wear them with shorts, summer dresses and suits. And yes, I do wear high heels – my favourites are from Steve Madden and Zara; they’re the most comfortabl­e high heels out there, in my opinion. I wear them as often as I can because I don’t think I’ll be able to for much longer – the ankle problems are creeping in!

Every woman should own… A pair of boxing gloves! I’m into my muay Thai. But since we’re taking about fashion, I would say a good pair of black tights. You can dress them up or down, and they’re perfect to travel in, hike in, dance in... My favourite pairs are from H&M and Cotton On’s sports section.

Any sentimenta­l pieces hanging in your closet? I have two: one is an African-print wrap skirt I bought at a thrift store when I was 14 or 15, and the other is a black ball gown given to me by Nigerian designer Zizi Cardow on 10 February 2010, the night I won M-Net’s Face of Africa. It was a surprise gift, and I treasure it because of the memory it holds.

Who is your favourite local designer? It’s so hard to choose; I admire many local designers. Urban Zulu, to name one. I was lucky enough to walk the runway in their designs during AFI Fashion Week last year. I found them to be very hip and cool. Comfy too!

What’s your go-to everyday outfit? I love a fitted white T-shirt, jeans, Converse and an oversized blazer. I’m into my high-waisted mom jeans at the moment, but I own several pairs of skinny jeans too. I love a dark-blue wash, and ever since I bought the perfectfit­ting pair at Zara a few years ago I’ve never looked anywhere else for jeans. As for the blazers, I borrow them from my husband… Or should I say I own his blazers now?

Any shop you can’t resist popping into for a browse?

I love thrift stores. I got it from my late Mama – she would pop into a thrift store every weekend to buy all kinds of things. They were always unique-looking items and durable. She was such a trendsette­r. I would like to think I get my style inspiratio­n from her.

The best tip I’ve picked up is not to stick to just one style; mix it up!

We’ve noticed that you love sneakers – what do you normally wear them with?

I finish off almost every outfit with coloured sneakers. I love them. The brighter the better! I wear them with denim, dresses, dungarees, skirts… Basically when my feet aren’t in open-toed shoes or slippers they’re in bright sneakers. I’m super into Puma at the moment, but I’m not brand loyal. Last year Saucony did it for me.

What does your favourite pair look like? I go through stages, but at the moment it’s a pair of Ralph Sampson high-top Pumas in maroon and white. They feel so ’80s and retro, and look fab with ripped mom jeans. I’m hard on my shoes, so they look wrecked after a year. I probably have six or seven wearable pairs on the go.

What do you look out for when you are shopping for yourself? I always look for something that’s a bit different, either in colour or shape or fabric. When it’s a bit different, it stands the test of time and can be worn outside of the trend. I also look for classics like the perfect white T-shirt or a great-fitting pair of ripped jeans. My work is quite physical and I’m often on building sites, so I also look for comfort.

Who makes the best basics? I’m an H&M jeans girl, as they are a perfect fit for me and I love their high-waisted style. The best white tees last year were Cotton On... I’m still looking for this year’s one. But Zara usually has a decent tee at some point in the season.

If you could buy only one new item for summer, what would it be? The perfect cozzie. (I’m a total beach bum!) I’m obsessed with one from Beachcult. I bought from them last year and lived in it, so I bought another one now. It’s a fullpiece with a small opening on the tum and it’s very high-cut. I also love high-waisted bikini bottoms with a skimpier top. I usually find great cozzies at Rip Curl.

Any items in your wardrobe that you are attached to?

I have a knitted beanie that has been on my head for the past 10 winters. I am so attached to it that I once reclimbed a mountain when I thought I had dropped it. It’s the perfect shade of grey and it was originally from the kids’ section of Earthchild, would you believe? And I don’t have a small head. Must have been a fault... Worked well for me.

Any vintage shops worth a mention? When I was in my late teens there used to be an amazing shop on Lower Main Road in Observator­y called Victor Victoria. I would go there every Saturday and I’d always strike gold – authentic German cotton anglaise dresses and shirts, and leather jackets for an absolute steal. I still have a few pieces from that time.

What’s one thing you’d never wear? I’m not a highheel girl at the best of times but there is something about a heel with jeans that really isn’t me.

Maybe it’s the combining of formal and casual that throws me. The joke is that I was the formalwear footwear buyer for Woolies for three years! My partner who bought footwear for casual was the one who wore heels and I never did. It worked, somehow.

Is there anything you look back on and cringe? Um, almost everything! My wedding dress, everything I wore to art school, most of my maternity wear. I find that if it’s anything further back than a year, I cringe.

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