Meet Mrs South Africa 2016

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The reigning Mrs South Africa Hlengiwe Twala, the beauty from Hartbeespoort Dam, was crowned as the 2017 Schwarzkopf Professional Mrs South Africa at a glittering grand finale at Emperors Palace.

The Mrs South Africa pageant may not enjoy as much fanfare as its counterpart the Miss South Africa competition. Entered by married women, Mrs South Africa sells itself as a women empowerment platform promoting women with philanthropic interests. Although the “queens” or the winners of both competitions take home a sparkling tiara and sash, and also enjoy a yearlong reign, the similarities end there.

While Miss South Africa is also big on women empowerment and celebrating beauty with brains, Mrs South Africa takes it a step further by promoting entrepreneurship and a sense of self. Hlengiwe Twala the current reigning Mrs South Africa explains this to me during her recent press tour in Cape Town.

The Joburg-based Twala has all the trimmings of a beauty queen. A slim and toned body, a dazzling smile and flowing hair, however it is her aura that immediately puts me at ease. I would later learn that this is due to the fact that we share the home province of KwaZulu-Natal. She, born in the quiet town of Pietermaritzburg says Durban is her happy place when she needs some quiet time: “I love Durban, it calms me,”she says.

Unlike most young girls who daydream about entering beauty contests, Twala on the other hand never gave it much thought until her mother died due to a rare blood cancer. This is one of the main reasons she entered Mrs SA.

“I have never really had an interest in beauty contents. “I literally found out about Mrs SA about two years ago. “And what really grabbed my interest was that they work very closely with the Cancer Association of South Africa (Cansa),” says Twala

“It was really heavy on my heart and I wanted to do something that would help raise cancer awareness… the competition was a perfect fit. “I also went through a cancer scare as I was planning on entering, so this has been a very personal journey for me.

“I got my test results a couple of days before the entries closed. “I saw it as a sign that I had to do it now because there are no guarantees for tomorrow,” she says. “I entered and I was not expecting win. I really wanted to have a year of fun. I wanted to have a year of me, because I realised that I was not living but I was just merely existing because I was in so much pain over my mother’s death.

“It has been a truly fulfilling journey. “I am so happy, my kids are happy and my husband is happy because they see me so happy,” Twala says.

Twala, a mother of three daughters, is fresh from competing in the Mrs World competition in Korea. Winning the competition has been a life changing experience, she says. “ My life has changed completely. The one thing that I love the most is that Mrs South Africa is all about women empowerment. “Unlike other pageants, we don’t really compete among each other.

“Soon after the Top 10 was chosen we had to prepare for a Cancer Gala to raise awareness and funds for Cansa… the whole experience empowers you to think like a business woman or a business person,” she says. Her philanthropic interests come from her mother Ntombifuthi, who taught her children from a young age to share what little they had with those who had less, Twala explains.

“I come from very humble beginnings. I remember my mother used to sew clothes for kids in the community who did not have any. “Although we also didn’t have much money to go round, she thought… I have hands and a machine, I will sew’;

“My mother used to say to us ‘When you give to another, you give to yourself’ and that is how I grew up… I don’t know anything else,” Twala explains.

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Top left, Lilliana LulliMarruchi won second princess, Mrs South Africa Hlengiwe Twala and first princess Olwethu Leshabane.

However, life in the spotlight attracts involuntary attention and sometimes not the right kind. Also, beauty pageants of any kind are always under scrutiny and are said to promote vanity and forcing unnecessary pressure on young girls to be perfect. Twala is well prepared for what is coming, good or bad:

“There is nothing wrong with us women looking pretty and enhancing what we have because when you look good, you feel good. “I think we should now promote being comfortable in your own skin and stop wanting to judge,” she says. “I am a little nervous about being in the limelight. “But I think right now, I feel so blessed that even the fear has taken a back seat. I feel so blessed and happy.

“I know it’s going to happen, when people see something good, they want to pick at it. “But you know what? I have so much positive support as Mrs SA, from my family, from my home and my friends… I am going to concentrate on the good,” Twala adds.

● Connect with me on Twitter and Instagram @Nontando58

This feature was first published in the Cape Argus on December 9 2016. 

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Iintsizwa Ziphelele

PICTURE: UBUNTU

All pictures are by Ubuntu: Iintsizwa Ziphelel co-founder  Mogomotsi Magome and I. 

Quirky, quality clothing that celebrates the arts and the African culture and heritage is what the Iintsizwa Ziphelele brand is all about. Based in the vibrant and energetic township of Pimville in Soweto, Joburg, the label launched in 2006 and is recognised as one the coolest and oldest streetwear brands.

I meet co-owner Mogomotsi Magome  at their studio/factory early on a Monday morning as the township comes to life. The studio facing the street is a kaleidoscope of colour, displaying t-shirts , headwear, jackets and shirts in mixed prints and fabrics. Chatting over a breakfast of puffy amangwinya (vetkoek) and polony, Magome tells me that Iintsizwa Ziphelele, which loosely translated means Brotherhood, is a story of brothers united by their love for fashion and the arts.

PICTURE: UBUNTU

PICTURE: UBUNTU

Magome and his friend and business partner Mthunzi Nkosi met when they were studying at Tshwane University of Technology (TUT).

“We were studying things that had nothing to do with fashion. I was doing operational management and Nkosi was doing management services… very corporate stuff. We got involved in the arts such as poetry and over time an idea about having a clothing line came about and it wasn’t just him and I at the time, there were other friends involved,” he explains.

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“The idea was to create a clothing label that we could identify with, away from mainstream and retail clothing. Mostly because we were in the arts and working with musicians and artists, we wanted to create a brand that people can identify with… an African brand but not your typical African. A blend of African prints mixed with modern styles and fabrics,” says Magome. 

Their signature t-shirts display cool graphics telling stories of African traditions, such as their popular t-shirt with the word “Lobola” on it. This in many African cultures, such as in the Zulu and Xhosa nations, is a price paid by the groom to the bride’s family before marriage.

“The name ‘Iintsizwa Ziphelele’ represents the principles of a brotherhood,” says Magome.

“When we were in tertiary, for a lot of us it was unchartered territory and for us to survive we had to stick together as a collection of friends. There has always been a necessity to keep brothers around, help each other to survive socially and otherwise. That bond that we formed gave birth to Iintsizwa Ziphelele and it has been like that ever since,” he says..

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“In the beginning we were just printing t-shirts using a small one-colour screen printing machine, the most basic method of printing that you can use, in a garage. Back then the trend was to print political icons such as Steve Biko on t-shirts, it was about what was happening on the streets and people wanted to see that.

“As time went on we worked with graphic designers to create different kinds of images. It’s a big jump from where we were, we have now moved beyond t-shirts and are creating a variety of things,” says Magome.

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Although the brand primarily produces menswear they also have a handful of women’s t-shirts and bucket hats on offer. During my visit I styled their menswear collection for their summer look-book. Their pieces, such as the camouflage shirt and sleeveless bomber jackets work as unisex pieces.

‘’The printed images on our clothing speak about life in the townships and homelands, and represent our daily reality as black peoples no matter where we are in the world. The brand celebrates Ubuntu and the last remnants of our cultures, post apartheid,” says Nkosi, who I interviewed later.

“Through the clothing we get to tell our stories. Fashion has played a role in defining people and eras, telling tales of different generations from the 1600s to the 80’s and now post slavery. We are inspired by the rich history that our country tells, the unique nation of this world – in fashion, music, languages and the different cultural exchanges that come from the different ethnic groups,” he says.

PICTURE: UBUNTU

PICTURE: UBUNTU

From humble beginnings to now having a fully functional mini factory at the back of their studio boasting the latest technology in printing, sewing and embroidery machines, the duo now employs young graduates and offer their services to other brands and organisations.
Not only is their clothing popular in KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape and Joburg, they also have clients overseas.

“The business is funding itself. What we did is to try and create a business model that can sustain the brand. The machines that we use to produce our brand, we also use them to produce printing services to other brands;

A lot of young brands get killed because it’s not that easy to get out there and make as many sales as possible and produce again. We had to find some innovative way of making it work,” Magome explains.

PICTURE: UBUNTU

PICTURE: UBUNTU

 

“Obviously growth is inevitable. Three years from now we should be in every corner of the country in department stores;

One of the business’s primary objectives is to create jobs for our people and play our part in this country’s economic growth, not only by enriching ourselves but by building our community here in Soweto,” adds Nkosi.

 

PICTURE: UBUNTU

PICTURE: UBUNTU

 

Connect with Iintsizwa Ziphelele on:

Facebook: Iintsizwa Ziphelele
Website: http://www.iintsizwa.com

This piece was first published in the Cape Argus on October 3 2016. Find me on Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat: @Nontando58

 

Biko tote bag trending in SA

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The 12th of Septmber 39 years since South African anti-apartheid activist Stephen (Steve) Bantu Biko died in police custody in a prison cell in Pretoria. He was founder of the Black Consciousness Movement and questions about the circumstances of his death remain.

During his lifetime, Biko’s writings and activism aimed at empowering black people and he captured the hearts of many here at home and throughout the world. His ideologies are still relevant today and live on in many mediums, including fashion apparel such as T-shirts and various art forms.

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Siki Msuseni, founder and owner of Pigments by Siki.

Trending in fashion circles is the “Who Killed Biko?” tote bag by stylist and blogger Siki Msuseni . We chatted to the 25-year-old owner of the collaborative platform for creatives in the fashion industry, Pigments Studio, about her statement bags.

What does Steve Biko mean to you?

Steve Biko is the perfect example of a brave, great leader. He was not apologetic of what he stood for… he was a valuable asset in dismantling apartheid. Even though apartheid ended 17 years after his death, he remains one of the forerunners who fought against inequality.

How did the idea for the tote bags come about?

The idea came from my observations that in our (past) school curriculum there was not a lot of information available about South African history. However, a lot of issues that were swept under the rug are coming to the surface 22 years later in post-apartheid South Africa.

I wanted to start a dialogue with ordinary South Africans through these bags. They are a form of activism without saying much. I approached graphic designer Xolani Dani with a brief to create the artwork for the bags which displays a portrait of Steve Biko crying on one side and on the other side the words, “Who killed Biko?”

I am trying to discredit the myth that for one to talk about matters concerning our politics, one needs to be well read and well spoken. The bags are a way of encouraging ordinary South Africans to start a dialogue, to engage and to open up meaningful conversations with each other around political issues.

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Describe the customer/person you had in mind when you designed the bags.This one is for the brave young people of South Africa, the ones who have been brave enough to stand up against the inequality still experienced in today’s South Africa. It’s for a youth that acknowledges the past mistakes of our parents but chooses to move forward in unity. I designed the bags for the young person who associates with the Black Consciousness Movement that Biko created.

What message, if any, are you hoping to carry through with the bags?I don’t necessarily have a message but want to open a much bigger dialogue where everyone’s opinion about how Steve Biko died are valued. I want this to be a piece of public art that you carry, that will get people talking and looking deeper into our history. I am aware that I may be opening some raw and unhealed wounds, but these are important and necessary conversations we should be having.

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If Biko was alive today, what would you say to him?

“I have so many things I would say to him. I would thank him for being a vessel of black pride. He encouraged us to be proud of our black skin and said we have something great to offer to the world”

What would you tell the younger generation about Biko? I would tell them that conformity is a bad disease that can drown you.

“Be like Biko – be brave and challenge the norm.  Always question everything they teach you at school… be revolutionary in your approach to life”

 

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Your favourite Steve Biko quote? 

“Black man, you are on your own”

South African concept art and fashion photographer Jordan-Lee Garbutt

Copywrite of Jordan-Lee Garbutt

Copywrite of Jordan-Lee Garbutt

Fashion photography is one of the most sought-after professions but it is also one of the hardest to break into. For every photographer who makes it through the door of the glamorous industry, many others are in line, still knocking on the door. Only a few gain recognition in the various media, which ranges from street photography and portraiture to documentary and glamour photography. South African concept art and fashion photographer Jordan-Lee Garbutt has captured the industry with his latest exhibition, titled The Power of Sound, being showcased at Cape Town’s Mullers Gallery this month.
I chat to him about t his trade and his current work.

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How did you get from being an aspiring photographer to doing it for a living? After my studies, I dived head first into assisting. Assisting is the best way to gain experience, learn your craft from top professionals, and see what works in real life. Discovering how to work with people and photo shoot dynamics can only be learnt in the field.

 

“Putting in the hours of learning your craft, researching your subject matter and approaches, all adds up in the end. I assisted for three years before starting to build my portfolio. I created photo shoots that displayed my ideas, my vision and what I believed in.”

How do you get the person, place or thing that is in front of the camera just the way you want? Conceptualising and planning, 99 percent of the time, every detail of my shoots are planned. I work with stylists, make-up artists and other talented people to help create my “visions”.

It takes a team to create the end result. Collaborating is the only way to move forward, you can only do so much on your own, and other viewpoints, perspectives and talents will transform your idea into something more powerful.

Copywrite of Jordan-Lee Garbutt

Copywrite of Jordan-Lee Garbutt

Which photographers influenced you on your career path? American fashion and portrait photographer Richard Avedon’s career initiated a change in the way I created images and how I looked at choosing to make a living from photography. He managed to balance his commercial work with his personal work and blended campaigns and exhibitions perfectly. That is something I aspire to replicate.

“Gregory Crewdson’s Beneath the Roses changed the way I wanted to create. It revealed the high-end planning and concepts with lighting that resonated with the way I create and how I wanted to create”

What motivates you to continue taking pictures? It really comes from inside. I knew from the first week of exploring photography that this is what wanted to do with the rest of my life.I love what I do, I feel my best when I’m creating. My biggest drive now is trying to initiate a change in people, change their perspectives and open their minds to a new way of thinking. Breaking down social, economic and personal barriers.

Tell us about your photography process? My creative process and inspiration varies but I have a general guide that I like to follow. Everything I create, I think in layers. Starting off with the base concept, everything else is added to that. I see the world in a certain light. I prefer dark tones and playing in the shadows. White, bright and “fresh” images have never resonated with me. I like the mystical, the surreal, and our innermost thoughts.

 

I’m at the stage where I cannot take images just for the beauty. I have to add an underlying meaning. It has to be thought-provoking.

Copywrite of Jordan-Lee Garbutt

Copywrite of Jordan-Lee Garbutt

Which images would you say have been the most significant in your career? My latest exhibition, entitled “The Power of Sound, has had the most impact. From all the press to being on Top Billing. It has grown my brand, but what I have loved about the project is the way it affects people when they see the images and poems.

Collaborating with poet Mo Libretto transformed the project into something more. The words and visuals complement each other perfectly, proving how important a collaboration is.I

After that, I have two projects lined up. The first celebrates the diversity of South Africa through the 11 official languages and our diverse flora. It’s going to take me all over the country, showcasing our beautiful country and people in a way that has never been done before.

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How would you say social media is changing the photography industry? There are two sides to this. It’s made photography and creating a lot more accessible to everybody. People who wouldn’t normally have any interest in photography or visual artistic expression now give it a go. It can just be a creative outlet, or it can help people gain knowledge.

The other side is that it has made everything a popularity contest and it has given people the platform to either spread love or hate.
The amount of “trolling” and bad mouthing has grown exponentially. But everyone is at their own stage of development and skill set, and everyone has their own taste of what is good.

“We should all be helping each other and not put others down to elevate yourself”

Connect with Jordan-Lee at http://www.jordanleegarbutt.com. 

This piece was first published in the Cape Argus on September 7 2016. Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat: @Nontando58 

Celebrating Tourism Month

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Trying my hand in Archiery at the Real adventures place in Parys, Free State province. Picture:Paballo Thekiso

My first road trip was with three of myvfriends. We planned the trip from Durban to Cape
Town in three months. We were young and carefree. We divided the trip into two parts with an overnight stay in Knysna.

For dinner we ate sushi for the first time, in a restaurant by the harbour. This was followed by a late night of drinking at the bar at the backpackers’ where we were staying before stumbling to our four-bunk bedroom in the early hours.

The next morning on the road was rough, we were tired, hungover and excited at the same time about reaching Cape Town. We arrived just before sunset at the Green Elephant backpackers in Observatory, our home for four nights.

The staff welcomed us with open arms and we formed friendships that are still alive today. We spent the days sightseeing in the CBD, shopping at the V&A Waterfront, sipping cocktails in Camps Bay and driving up Signal Hill.

2. Quad Biking in ParysPicture:Paballo Thekiso

The nights were spent playing pool in Lower Main Road Observatory and club-hopping in Long Street. Without realising it until the last night, we had spent most of our petrol money. Our parents came to our rescue, but not before scolding us for our irresponsible
behaviour. Memories from that trip remain fresh in my mind.

What made the trip extra special was we managed to save the little money we had at the time for an adventure that would see the four of us bonding… we learnt a lot about each other during the long drive in a small Corsa.

“I would like to think this trip ignited a lust for travel in each of us”

Since then, the four of us have travelled extensively in South Africa, as well as in Europe and the US. Contrary to what some might believe, one does not require a fat bank balanceto be able to travel, be it local or international. However, some saving and smart planning is key.

Common sense goes a long way. For example, buying a plane ticket a few months before you travel will be cheaper than booking the flight the day before you are due to travel.

In the past, I have taken the Greyhound bus to Durban to visit my family and overland trucks to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and Namibia for holidays. The experiences are priceless.

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Queening with the BaSotho women dressed in their traditional wear called Thebetha

“Venturing out of your comfort zone and learning about other people and cultures will teach you things about yourself and the world you won’t find in a textbook”

 

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Enjoying a sunset cruise on the Vaal River. Picture by Paballo Thekiso.

One of my favourite Sho’t Left (domestic travels) trip include a visit to Joburg where I caught up with friends and family. On a recent trip there I spent a weekend in Soweto, which is home to some of South Africa’s world famous names, such as Nelson Mandela, and is known for history changing moments such as the 1976 Soweto student uprising.

During my stay there I visited the Mandela house in Vilakazi Street, a buzzing street lined with restaurants and cafés… a not so common sight for a township. There is an electrifying energy that hangs in the air that when I left, I felt empty .

Recently I paid a visit to my home town, but opted to stay at a hotel in the city centre instead of home as they were busy renovating. I saw Durban through the eyes of a tourist for the first time and I became one.

I visited art galleries, museums, took long leisurely walks on the beachfront promenade and discovered cafés where I spent hours watching people. I returned with a new-found appreciation for the city where people have no whims about striking up conversations with strangers. I realised how much I missed this simple act of ubuntu (human kindness) that is still alive there.

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Last week I spent a week in the Free State visiting several towns. It was my first time there and I experienced a number of firsts. I learnt about towns I never knew existed, such as Vredefort near Parys.

I quad biked, I tried my hand at archery and went river rafting on the Vaal River. All these sporting activities were never on my to-do-list of fun things while on a holiday before this trip.

1. L-R Liam Joyce and Nontando Mposo river rafting in the Vaal RiverLiam and I slaying. Picture:Paballo Thekiso

September is tourism month, an annual celebration focusing on the importance of tourism for the economy. The theme for this year is Tourism For All: Promoting Universal Accessibility.

It aims to encourage everyone to explore and rediscover our country. So, round up a group of friends or family for a Sho’t Left somewhere.

Visit:www@shotleft.co.za for more travel inspiration. 

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Connect with me and follow my adventures on Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat @Nontando58. 

This feature was first published in the Cape Argus on September 2016. 

 

Racing…It’s A Rush

ca Nontando Mposo_J&B Met_7490.jpgThat time I slayed in Jacques LaGrange Couture at the J&B Met earlier this year.  Picture by Henk Kruger .

A lot of you know that I love a beautiful day at the races. It’s an opportunity to dress up, a chance to mingle with the who’s-who’s of South Africa while sipping on ice cold champagne and nibbling on good gourmet food…Oh! and now and again one will spot a horse or two racing on the plush grass.

Basically that sums up a horse racing event for most people. We have several must-attend horse racing events in the country. In Cape Town, my favourites include the L’Omarins Queens Plate, The J&B Met now refered to as The Met. And Durban has the Durban July. All mentioned events are attended by the South African elite crowd who dress up in designer clothes to pose and be photographed by both the media and the public.

As you know the horse racing industry is a multi-million rands business. The horses that get to compete are treated like gold, worth a lot of money and train like athletes. As a Lifestyle Features Writer for Independent Media I was fortunate enough to learn a lot about the process that goes into preparing a horse to race…from conception to the race track. It’s quite an interesting and lucrative industry that is small and still needs to do some ground work in getting young people to be interested enough to invest into it.

Enters myself and a handful of carefully selected influencers who have been chosen to be Brand Ambassadors for the sports racing brand  “Racing it’s a Rush”  in the Western Cape.

In a nutshell, “Racing it’s a Rush” promotes the glamorous and lifestyle side of the sport. The group of ambassadors include fashionistas and bloggers like myself, photographers…basically the cool kids of Cape Town you should know. I am very excited about being part of this as it’s a bigger opportunity of learning about all things horse racing while having fun as well. For the next months we will be visiting stud farms and attending horse racing related events so follow our journey as we explore what the industry has to offer…hopefully you will learn a few things as well in the process.

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Power Team: Lauren Campbell, Lucian Albertyn, ME;-) and Sibu Mpanza. Picture by Chase Liebenberg.

For our first assignment we visited the beautiful Woodhill Racing Estate in Paarl. Here horses are schooled at approximately two  years of age. Training includes breaking in, starting gates and getting the horse fit to race, as well as maintaining a race career strategy.

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The horses were happy to pose for selfies and pics. Picture by Chase Liebenberg.

The highlight of the morning was watching Malan du Toit, a self-trained “horse whisperer” at work. His work with horses has earned him respect nationwide, and he is frequently called in to help troubled horses.

Using his rare talent, he teaches racing horses how to load and saddle up into the gates at the start of a race, and to respond to a rider’s instructions. This interaction is fascinating to watch.

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Malan’s  training steps include establishing a relationship of trust with a horse and getting the animal to accept him as its teacher. With gentle direction and training, he then goes about changing a horse’s problem trait until it is ready to race.

“The art is to train the horse gradually through the levels so that eventually it’s accepting the rider. We do the training over a period of a month or two, depending on the horse, as each horse is an individual like us human beings;

The longer the training, the better the horse becomes,” says Malan

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With fellow ambassador Lee Fraser enjoying a cup of tea

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Jade Robertson and I indulging in a selfie….how gorgeous!

 

Our journey continues.

Follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat for all the behind the scenes action: Nontando58

Connect with “Racing. It’s a Rush” on Instagram @racingitsarush.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Threaded Man

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Siya Beyile by Keagan Kingsley

Siya Beyile, founder of The Threaded Man, first came on our radar a little over a year ago. At the age of 21, he had big plans and dreams about making a mark in the saturated world of fashion.

He has gone on to make huge strides in building a credible brand as trends forecaster, stylist and an all-around go-to guy for everything menswear and fashion. From being listed in this year’s Forbes 30 under 30 list to fashion director to the stars at the South African Music Awards (Sama), his development has been impressive. I catch up with him before he jets off to New York City this week.

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Pic by Tashinga Mutakwa

When did your passion for clothes begin? My passion for clothes is rooted in my culture. Growing up, I was always so proud of how the men and women were dressed. What caught my interest even more was that in our culture whatever we wear stands for and means something. It taught me that fashion is not just about looking good, but its also about communicating who you are and what you believe in.

How has The Threaded Man portal evolved since it was launched? When The Threaded Man launched, the idea was that it was just going to be a portal/blog for men’s fashion. Since then it has grown into a full agency, into Africa’s largest men’s fashion and lifestyle portal. Through our styling and consulting divisions, over the past months we
have worked on campaigns for big brands such as H&M, Levi’s, Stuttafords, American
Swiss, Titan watches and Adidas, to name a few.

“The focus is now on taking the brand to the rest of Africa and the world. This week I am heading to New York City to speak at a conference where I will be presenting my business and my work.”

I will also be meeting with some designers and brands while I am there.

The Threaded Man is a success story on its own, but for every successful blog there are dozens that fail. If you could give an aspiring menswear blogger a single piece of advice, what would it be? There is space for all of us as we need more bloggers. However, the key is understanding the market and finding the gap which your blog will fill. Most bloggers fail because of the perceived lifestyle that comes with it. Blogging is a business and it needs focus and skills.

 

You are clearly a creative person, is there anyone or anything that inspires you? It is funny because I don’t consider myself a creative person… I mean I failed at fashion school, haha! I just knew where the gap was and worked hard to sharpen my skills in order
to cater for that market.

“Right now I am inspired by young black South Africans who are doing amazing things… really raising the bar”

They are:

● Tsephang Mollison, otherwise known as Twiggy, is co-founder of the Sleepless in Soweto blog. She is a creative force that people should watch out for.

● Tony Gum, what can I say? The muse and artist is taking the world by storm and recently appeared on the cover of Destiny.

● Austin Melema, the photographer is changing the status quo, look at his #CreditThePhotographer movement.

● Sikhumbuzo Notshe at the age of 23 is already a Stormer and recently made
his debut for the Springboks.

● Anaso Jobodwana, who is representing us at the Olympics.

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Siya styling Khanyi Mbau at the South African Music Awards (SAMAs)

Can you explain what trend forecasting entails, why is it important and how it can help build a successful fashion business? Trend forecasting entails studying local and international trends and filtering what will work for brands. I filter these trends and then present to brands on what the focus should be and which market they need to pay attention to.

“Trend forecasting is important for brands because it affects how they communicate with their consumers. Also as an influencer I am an early adopter of certain trends, through my style I can introduce new trends to the market and make them saleable for brands”

 

How do you measure the success of your website? We do not really care about views, but what is important to us is our engagement rate. You can have millions of views but if there is no engagement then it means nothing.

“Brands care too much about numbers but forget to look at theengagement. Engagement means I am influencing the consumers which is buying power”

Tell us about your personal style. What are your most trusted day-to-day basics? My day-to-day style changes according to my mood. I can go from wearing a suit to wearing ripped jeans and sneakers… whatever I wear needs to fit well.

Siya 5

pic by Austin Malema

Which single men’s style faux pas bothers you the most and why? Men who still wear bootleg jeans. Stop it, it’s 2016!

What has been your career highlight so far? Being the fashion director of the Samas
and being one of five South Africans on the 2016 Forbes 30 under 30 list.

 

Are there any materials/fabrics and designs that you’re particularly excited about right now? Yes, African-made fabrics. Globally, fashion houses are looking at different African cultures and using our ways of making fabrics and infusing them in their designs. Africa is the future.

Do you think someone can wear casual clothing and remain elegant? Yes, absolutely. Look at David Beckham, he wears jeans and tees all the time but always looks very smart without even trying. The key is fit.

What tips would you give a young man who wants to create the perfect wardrobe? Basics are everything, but it is all about the right fit. Invest in good jeans, a suit, leather jacket and boots.

Siya 1

Where do you see the The Threaded Man headed over the next few months? I see us growing from strength to strength, hiring more young people and growing the voice of the brand. I am also really keen to do more public speaking.

Connect with Siya Beyile at: http://www. threadedman.co.za.co.za or Instagram: Siya Beyile.

This piece was first published in the Cape Argus on June 22 2016. 

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