Random “photography” with my Nokia N8 that I became creative and inspired with.
Hopefully it will inspire you.
On Saturday we decided to go to Monte Casino for a movie seeing that the dreaded weather didn’t leave us with any other solutions, and staying in was not an option. We went to see Resident Evil: Retribution, which really … Continue reading
Today as I sat with a few friends at the University of Pretoria aka Tuks, my very prominent observing technique came out to play when I noticed the coolest guy pop up a good distance in front of me with … Continue reading
As you may or may not know, I unfortunately did NOT make it through to the semi-finalists stage to become the ELLE Style Reporter for South Africa, with reference to my recent blog post titled “Beauty and the streets”. When … Continue reading
Some shots I took a few weeks back of denim jeans, and t-shirts – it’s amazing how basic items can become so interesting depending on how you style yourself, like pairing your plain tee with a scarf, a funky pair … Continue reading
With less than two weeks left, S.A’s very own street culture showcase, STR.CRD™ (Street Cred) 2012 is lurking in the shadows of Johannesburg getting ready to give us the hottest showcase this country has seen.
Personally I’ve not been to the event, but as an avid street culture enthusiast, in the forms of fashion, sneakers, graffiti and street art, music and dance, etc., I am rather ecstatic to see what STR.CRD™ is all about and I cannot wait.
“STR.CRD™ 2012 kick start on the 27th September with HIGH.STR Fashion Event – an intimate gallery style fashion presentation that focuses predominantly on the clientele who require more bespoke and exclusive products. HIGH.STR Fashion is by invite only opening night to members of the media, brand partners and authoritative thought leaders within the market”
“On the 28th-30th September various partnering brands will open doors to their pop-up stores as well as retailing their limited edition 2012-13 collections to consumers attending the event at Maboneng Precinct”
Numerous activities will be in order for the days like: fashion, music, dance, skate, sneakers, food market and engaging conversations with local and international like-minded people at the event and many more.
“Sticking to tradition, STR.CRD™ will be hosting the STR.SESSIONS, which is a collaborative platform for both local business and artistic minds to engage and share with one another experiences and knowledge in order to positively grow and make a difference within the global village we live in.”
“STR.MUSIC will present international artists like Jesse Boykins III from the U.S and Just A Band from Kenya. Local artists are still to be announced.”
“Other elements include; STR.DANCE, STR.GRAF, STR.SKATE, STR.SNEAKERS, STR.BBALL.”
Tickets are available online at http://www.webtickets.co.za. for R120.00 OR at the door for R150.00
Can’t wait.. Hope to see you there!
Hi. May I take your picture? – I’m a street style blogger, and I like your style.
These were the few and convincing, yet true words I shared with complete strangers I had nothing in common with, for the past three months in preparation for the ELLE Style Reporter in association with Blackberry, search.
It was only fitting for me to set out upon a journey on the streets of South Africa available to me, Pretoria and Johannesburg respectively – with new eyes and a new mission.
So what does street style mean to me? And what did I find on the streets?
“People dress themselves every day, how they dress is an extension of who they are, what they believe in and where their tastes fall, in relation to the rest of the crowd.” – This is an excerpt from a street culture book titled “Street World: Urban art and culture from five continents” (including South Africa in case you’re wondering) by R. Gastman et al., and in my opinion, a very appropriate and informative definition. Street style is about diverse individuals expressing a piece of who they are whilst staying true to themselves without interference of mainstream media, through fashion. Ted Polhemus says “Styles which start life on the street corner have a way of ending up on the backs of top models on the world’s most prestigious fashion catwalks.”, and so – in the beginning of my street style scouting adventure I knew exactly what I wanted to do, and that is expose a piece of the true style on some of our South African streets.
On the first day of my search, I made it clear to myself that I wanted to capture the unconventional and significant fresh ‘trends’ and inspirations emerging in my surroundings. Instinct made me stop everyone that looked good, and as my journey progressed I found that I was drawn to certain items on certain people and everything on others – drowning in the immaculate rawness of our streets.
The culture on our streets is captivating, I found that the poorest of people have the richest sense of style, I began to capture the innocence and edge of the street, I fell in love with South Africa each time I walked a block further.
Street style and culture often inspires designers and creative beings and for the more trend knowledgeable – it’s known as the “trickle – up theory” – when fashion and culture on the streets trickle up, in other words elevate from innovators on the street to fashion runways and eventually the mainstream.
So why do we merely pay attention to people that seem to be “dressing for the party”? And by that I mean people that consciously dress, with known catwalk trend knowledge, in hope to be photographed.
“The thrill of street style lies in its accessibility…you can be dumpy, knock kneed and as poor as a church mouse, but if you know how to mix your togs, you can still be a style star…” – Bel Jacobs of metro.co.uk says it best in her article “Is street style losing its appeal”.. Style cannot be bought, and style and inspiration can be seen and found in almost everyone and everything, it takes true observation to allow the ugliness to possess beauty.
Here are a few inspiring individuals:
The lady in the dodger blue sarong, with hints of black, white and maroon, strategically tied it so it became a skirt – a bold move in the eye of winter, and yet she’s standing on the street without a care in the world. She was waiting for something or someone and even though she has a smug look on her face, her style and personality depicts the opposite. She’s playful – her stripy pastel socks and navy blue Converse All Stars complement one another very well. She also, and I am sure subconsciously, paired her dominantly elephant printed sarong turned skirt with a neutral basic black jacket and finished it off with her maroon and navy blue beanie and chocolate brown satchel.
Inspiration comes from the zaniest things, clouds in the sky, a thought, a dream, practically anything – but in this case I found a connection and felt inspired with a diminishing wall and a painter. With reference to International Street style I found on wgsn.com earlier this year (first image below) – the gentleman’s pants had been the one he had used when he began to paint. He rubbed his hands on his pants and allowed the mistakes to become a beautiful creation. In the following photos I took in Pretoria, an undeniable array of feelings inhabited me when looking at the beauty of what a normal person would consider “a dirty overall” – I felt culture, hard work, stories, I felt like each brush stroke or mistake embraced its own personality, and having the wall as a reference was a bonus, seeing how the black paint was now chipping away and exposing the coral – also telling a story of its own.
“On one hand regularly photographed subjects are consciously or subconsciously dressing for the occasion…on the other, street style bloggers are vying for the most influential subjects and intriguing looks, thereby focusing their efforts on personalities with access to fashion from different avenues and making it sometimes unobtainable and unrealistic for the average consumer…”, “..The result inevitably detracts everything street style used to stand for.” – Nik Thakkar, creative brand strategist for Huffington Post
I agree with Thakkar, because street style has become more about people intentionally being stylish to make the cut of the hottest blogs, rather than unconsciously dressing up. Everyone loves “an unexpected combination of colours and fabrics that mix vintage with new…”, but everyone or at least I do appreciate that more when it’s done naturally and uninfluenced by anything, but that person wanting to be expressive.
The next individual is a child. When last have you seen a boy of a tender age wearing a garment that didn’t represent his favourite cartoon or soccer team? This young boy wore his faded custom pleather jacket, black denim jeans and camel ankle boots very proudly and stylishly in the midst of winter where warm furry pyjamas could have been opted for seeing that it was the holidays.
The following gentleman’s ears caught my eye – you know how tattoo and piercing enthusiasts have plugs in their ear holes, well this guy had a bullet in his. It blew my mind, I was so fascinated. Amongst the piercings, he wore all black everything, with custom embroidered patch work designs on his black denim jeans, lime green neon wayfarers and African wooden beads tangled in a potential dread-lock in his ginger hair.
When it comes to men’s style you’d expect the rich to only look dapper, right? Wrong. The next few gentlemen’s professions include washing cars, cleaning, guarding cars, delivering packages and street vending. Their job titles do not depict their style. They are all expressively dressed as they can be and even though the gentleman in the orange cap is wearing his uniform he made it his own by including an onyx marble bracelet and his navy blue Converse All Stars. He added a piece of himself to this rather plain khaki uniform.
These men haven’t lost themselves as people because they can’t afford designer fashion, instead they made do with what they have and didn’t settle for less than they are worth. I mean wearing tailored jackets to guard streets, tailored pants and dress shirts to wash cars, and tan leather jackets all the way from Germany to deliver packages, if that’s not something then I don’t know what is – they are not following trends, they’re creating them, they’re being themselves. That’s street style to me. As a fashion design graduate, I would thrive on such inspiration from the streets to create new looks for the catwalk.
Apart from the unique individuals I encountered, the fresh and noteworthy trends in relation to the ELLE Edits section in the July edition of ELLE magazine that were evident, were a collection of things like: a wide variety of accessories and key clothing items.
Sentimental Wrist Wear – imminent in the form of bracelets, bangles, wristbands, etc. and necklaces, or beaded chains -these people and majority being males had a connection with their sentiments, these items were not just for decorative use but held strong sentimental value to them. One man had an elephant hair bracelet and African shell leather wristband and Mr “I have a bullet as an earring” made DIY gloves – consisting of different colours he cut the finger compartments out and paired them with tied string which made his wrists unique. A remarkable piece of jewellery was seeing the silver cutlery that now possessed new qualities by becoming a bangle and ring, and it was only until I looked at the photos did I notice that it was actually a table spoon and fork – very inventive.
Also striking in this wrist wear trend in the right hand side of the image below, is that these beings – male and female correspondingly, have messages on their wrist wear which is something that they stand for or are acting out against – the one embroidered wrist band says “Abortion” and the colourful rubber wristbands say “Celebrate life; Passion; Pride; Confidence.” – This contributes to their personalities, thus they are expressing themselves.
The neck jewellery consisted of a collection of unique and beautiful African hand-made crafts that these people attained in special places.
Distinctive Jackets – As it was the middle of winter, jackets in this cold season naturally becomes what cotton thread is to a needle. These jackets were a combination of leather, Melton, denim and wool individually. They all possessed tailoring qualities like lapels, collars and interesting pockets, whilst all having a unique look to them in the varying lengths and styles -the one jacket was even the gentleman’s pilot jacket and so eye-catching on the street.
Vintage Handbags – These are beautiful vintage satchels, black and tan respectively, which belonged to these ladies mothers prior to them using it, apart from that they both confidently paired their looks with skinny red denim jeans. The hand-made denim bag was made from a vintage pair of jeans by the guy who guards cars, extremely innovative.
Rastafarian influences – Highly noticeable in the form of these men’s outstanding accessories, the one gentleman all the way from Germany, who came to visit SA for the first time, had a lot of African hand-made crafts on him that he wore every day. The Jamaican and Rasta pin badges are also very cool, the way they are contrasting and outstanding on this guy’s beige tailored jacket and colourful marijuana printed shirt. He is clearly expressing who he is.
Lastly…The Bold and the Blackberry – One thing I noticed from the beginning of my search were the cell phones that were used. These people are but a few of the many that use Blackberry handsets, including myself – it’s convenient, quick and easy to use, compact and all round an amazing phone. I was not surprised, but as a part of my search I had to photograph the types of bold and dashingly fabulous individuals that are Blackberry savvy.
At the end of my search I have gained a lot of new knowledge and experience. I got to roam the streets, and embrace the culture, whilst understanding some of the country’s wonderful style. As a firm believer in style being your own I was highly inspired by a quote from Bel Jacobs where she says “If anything it’s bloodshot eyes, gaping pores and the psychology behind the make-up I want the viewer to probe in”.
I hope by reading this blog post I have exposed you to what I was set out to do and that was capturing and going back to true street style, and to open up your eyes and mind to the beauty around and be yourself even more than you are. When I asked all of my street style encounters what made them dress the way they did, after coolly agreeing for me to take their picture, they all individually said the same thing:
“I wear what I wear because I want to.”
Karabo Matlala, is a 22 year old Fashion Design Graduate from the prestigious fashion school LISOF situated in Hatfield, Pretoria. Having obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Fashion Design this past May, in her final year in 2011 she chose to take on an extra subject amongst the many she already had. This subject was Photography, and as Karabo likes to put it “the love of her life”.
Karabo has always loved photography since a very young age, she says “I always wanted to be the one taking the photos at family functions, school events, etc. It was in Grade 10, when I was 16 when I had truly fallen in love with photography. I knew this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”
Residing in Bronkhorstspruit, nothing during her years growing up and even whilst studying could stop Karabo from gaining the experience to become the best photographer she is today. As a passionate sports lover, that is one thing Karabo wants to conquer in her journey forward – becoming a sports photographer and what a better way to combine two things she loves: Soccer and Photography.
In the past 3 – 4 years, Karabo has photographed some of the country’s greatest events, like her favourite local soccer team ‘Kaizer Chiefs’ playing against Mamelodi Sundowns, and feeding her fashion soul by assisting some of the fashion industries well-renowned photographers at SA Fashion Week and African Fashion Week, respectively. Events like these have taught her to be confident, to trust her instinct and to capture the moments when they are presented, she has also learnt precision and how to be in the best angle for an unforgettable shot.
Karabo says, “Photography is exciting and entails a lot of hard work, but at the end of the day, to be able to see the final product of what I have done is an amazing feeling, which is why love doing it.”
Today, Karabo ranges from doing events like weddings and birthday parties to fashion shows and location shoots. As a photographer, her goal is to always make the person she’s photographing feel as relaxed and comfortable as possible, she believes that is when you truly get great images.
As an individual, Karabo treats every experience like a lesson. She firmly trusts the fact that there is always room for improvement, and always wants to better her work. She hopes to be one of the South Africa’s top photgraphers in the near future, and I think with the magnificent photos Karabo takes and her beautiful attitude and nature, she’s not far off from that dream.
Do you have an event that you’d like Karabo to photograph?
For more info on how to book Karabo, contact:
Cell: 072 190 2529
Online Portfolio: http://saphotography.ning.com/profile/KaraboMatlala
A new season, a new day, a new beginning – The beautiful, welcoming season that is “Spring” has finally graced us with its inspiring and heartfelt presence after endless tormenting during the last week of August. It’s such a great time of year, and a magnificent period to be alive.
While we pack away the jerseys and stockings that Winter demanded and prepare our skin to be exposed with shorts and every other kind of skin baring garment available this Spring, my only concern is what will you be wearing?
A few of the major hot new trends this Spring/Summer 2012 are:
A colour palette of sugary pastels, techno neons and solid, colour blocking brights like cobalt, coral and orange to name a few. Prints from Aztec to Zigzag, top to bottom, paired with a neutral classic like a tailored jacket or expressed boldly – you won’t go wrong with this ethnic, eternal trend. Flared skirts and dresses for the ladies in terms of garment items, and pyjama pants seem to be in the loop too.
For the men - contrasting lengths, garment pieces like a pair of colour-blocked tailored shorts or rolled up chino’s and a long sleeve neutral knit rolled up to the elbows, and colour wise apart from the pastels and neons – Blue in every shade imaginable is a colour to keep in mind.
This season it’s all about distinction, and contrast and as “nice” as it is to follow trends, in my opinion it serves as a guideline and should ultimately inspire the individual in whilst they style themselves. Truly hope this short and sweet trend guide helps you in your Spring/Summer shopping endeavours.
Remember everyone has their own individual style, and I’d love to see yours. If you have incorporated one of the trends I have mentioned in a unique way, snap a photo and send it to me with your name, surname and location for a follow-up blog post: email@example.com
Laying in bed, giving Kendrick Lamar and Young Jeezy’s “Westside Right On Time” a listen while I naturally go through the style tab on hypebeast.com, and having only been updated a few moments ago, I am most excited to have the eyes to look at these beautiful street snaps of Fabien Desgroux taken by Hypebeast’s very own, Youngjun Koo.
Personally being a hip-hop head and a versatile lover of everything street, the style Fabien possesses in these images has my pupils in shapes of hearts. I’m in love with his colour and detail/jewellery choices.
I’m sure his unique bracelet/bangles, chain(s) and ring have some sentimental value to him, apart from adding to his overall look. His slouchy, loosely fitted, yet sexy knit vest exposes his very toned body and as a grey lover myself, the cool grey Fabien has on works so well with the grungy, hard charcoal his denim jean encompasses.
Overall these are great images by Youngjun of a very stylish male on the streets on New York, and I had to share them.
Photo: Youngjun Koo – hypebest.com