The lib­er­at­ing power of fash­ion Sarah Nak­intu on free­dom and fash­ion

With the fash­ion in­dus­try’s lat­est em­brace of gen­der flu­id­ity (thanks to in­di­vid­u­als like FAKA, Rich Mnisi and Orange Cul­ture), plus an in­creased in­ter­est in African con­scious­ness and na­tion­al­ism, fash­ion is be­ing used to fur­ther ac­cel­er­ate a broader conv

Glamour (South Africa) - - CONTENTS - Words by ASANDA SIZANI

DO YOU THINK THE FREE­DOM TO WEAR WHAT YOU WANT IS TRULY WHERE WE ARE TO­DAY?

This par­tic­u­lar ques­tion has many lay­ers. We have women liv­ing in coun­tries where they’re forced to wear some­thing for cul­ture or re­li­gion. We have women who want to dress a cer­tain way but can’t be­cause they don’t want to be ha­rassed while walk­ing down the street. We have women who are liv­ing be­low the poverty line and can’t a ord to put clothes on their backs. We have women who seem to have all the means to dress how they please, but once their photo is taken and posted to so­cial me­dia, they’re body shamed or made fun of. In many ways, this goes to show you that we truly are not free to wear what we want.

THIS SEASON, WHO DO YOU THINK HAS COM­MU­NI­CATED THE NEED FOR CHANGE?

This season falls in the midst of so much po­lit­i­cal up­heaval and geo-po­lit­i­cal shifts, so I was pleased to see that fash­ion wasn’t silent. We’ve had many piv­otal mo­ments, such as the ban­ning of fa­mous pho­tog­ra­phers like Terry Richard­son af­ter sex­ual as­sault al­le­ga­tions were raised against him last year. On the run­way, we saw brands like Mis­soni, Prada and Dior take a stand for women’s em­pow­er­ment and trans­gen­der rep­re­sen­ta­tion. We can’t for­get de­sign­ers re­fus­ing to dress Me­la­nia Trump for o­cial pres­i­den­tial en­gage­ments. It truly feels like things are chang­ing and fash­ion is mak­ing th­ese shifts for the bet­ter, com­mu­ni­cat­ing a need for change and free­dom for all.

IN A WORLD OF FAST FASH­ION AND IN­STA­GRAM # GOALS, ARE WE STILL ABOUT IN­DI­VID­UAL EX­PRES­SION?

Ab­so­lutely, and I think au­then­tic­ity and in­di­vid­ual ex­pres­sion are key to the suc­cess of the most-loved In­sta­gram stars. The mo­ment peo­ple feel like they can’t tell the di er­ence be­tween your posts be­ing spon­sored and au­then­tic, is when they re­ally tune out. I think it’s key to have in­di­vid­ual ex­pres­sion be­cause it speaks to con­fi­dence and self-aware­ness.

WHICH BRANDS CAN YOU SAY HAVE SHOWN A SENSE OF LIB­ER­A­TION IN 2018?

Def­i­nitely O -white. I love the in­ter­pre­ta­tions and de­lib­er­ate­ness of the brand to rein­vent what’s nor­mal and in­dus­trial. From the African con­ti­nent, it has to be Max­hosa by Lad­uma. The brand is true to its cul­tural roots and it’s amaz­ing to even lis­ten to Lad­uma Ngx­okolo’s vi­sion for his brand. He’s very in­vested in Africa as a whole, and do­ing things out­side the box and chal­leng­ing fash­ion’s sta­tus quo. One in­ter­est­ing brand worth men­tion­ing is Fash­ion Nova. If you’re on In­sta­gram, you must be aware of Fash­ion Nova – a fast-fash­ion brand pow­ered by so­cial me­dia, celebrity en­dorse­ments and in­flu­encers like Cardi B. I per­son­ally have not tried any­thing from Fash­ion Nova, but a re­cent study by soft­ware com­pany In­fluncerdb (in­flu­encerdb.net) re­vealed that the brand was the most searched on In­sta­gram, out­per­form­ing brands like Zara and H&M. An­other re­port from The Cut mag­a­zine in 2017 showed that Fash­ion Nova was Googled more than brands like Chanel and Gucci. Fash­ion Nova is mostly pop­u­lar be­cause it’s a ord­able and caters to all body types, in­clud­ing curvy women who have of­ten been ne­glected in fash­ion.

WHICH GLOBAL IN­FLU­ENCERS DO YOU THINK COM­MU­NI­CATE IN­DI­VID­UAL EX­PRES­SION IN THE WAY THEY DRESS?

I love Eva Chen so much! It doesn’t get more au­then­ti­cally fash­ion­able than that. Eva is the cur­rent di­rec­tor of fash­ion part­ner­ships at In­sta­gram, and for­merly ed­i­tor at Lucky and Teen Vogue. She’s real and fash­ion­able, I live for her In­sta­gram sto­ries. In Africa, I love Bonang Matheba. I think she’s ac­com­plished a lot at her age and many girls look up to her for her work ethic. What I love most about her is that she’s fash­ion­able and re­lat­able; her style is a mix of high-end and ac­ces­si­ble brands. I think it’s ob­nox­ious to see some­one wear­ing branded cloth­ing head to toe at all times.

LOOK­ING AT THE RAD­I­CAL SO­CIAL CHANGE TO­DAY, DO YOU THINK FASH­ION WILL CON­TINUE BE­ING EX­PER­I­MEN­TAL AND CAUSE A REV­O­LU­TION?

Ab­so­lutely. Fash­ion is evolv­ing at a fast pace and I wouldn’t rule out that pos­si­bil­ity. Look­ing at an in­dus­try like beauty, it’s been com­pletely trans­formed in the last few years and is now caus­ing a ‘mini’ rev­o­lu­tion in re­gards to rep­re­sen­ta­tion and how women want to be seen. This is not far from where fash­ion is headed.

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