For a long time I was fearful of playing around with print. Particularly african print. The thought was extremely daunting.. Where would I start? I wear weaves for goodness sake!!.. How would I credibly pull this off?
It took a dream I had over a year ago (where I was wearing my husband’s white shirt with rolled up sleeves, and a gigantic A-line maxi skirt in african print), for me to realise that it was totally do-able and that I should give it a try. God has a way of revealing the latest fashion trends to me, usually before they hit the market, through very vivid dreams. …I know.. Totally Amazing. Right?!
I went around the office asking my trusted afro-chic ladies to recommend places and brands that I could explore to find my ultimate look. After many recommendations, I finally found the perfect place that suited my style needs. Dainty Frocks! (Check out their instagram page to see the various designs and styles that they offer). Their studio is based in Melville JHB. Nqobile, the owner, is an amazing and talented lady who’s professionalism and level of attention to detail is like nothing you’ve experienced before. They have ready made garments and are also happy and willing to create garments to suit your needs. Their turnaround times, on a very complex piece, are around 3-4 days. Pretty Impressive if you ask me!
There are tons of places, online stores etc. that provide modern african print designs.. A friend of mine, Sunshine Shibambo, swears by Mr Price (not my vibes but I’m absolutely inspired by how they are managing, positioning and growing that brand), and is also the person who referred me to “Stitch & Steel”. Another african gem, based in Maboneng Precinct.
I am quite proud that this trend took the world by storm in 2014. We’ve waited long and hard for the time when Africa would take over the world stage and show other nations what we’re made of. I don’t know how many of you follow the Celine’ brand, but one of their collections last year was inspired by that checkered big red, blue and white bag that people used to use and continue to use when travelling to remote and rural places. Ask me, my husband is Xitsonga and I see those bags everywhere when I travel home to Limpopo. Proof that you can find inspiration from absolutely anything.
If you’d like to buy your own fabrics and play around.. (maybe you’re a talented seamstress or aspiring fashion designer:-)), I’d recommend that you use Vlisco fabrics. They are absolutely exquisite. One of my dear friends, Paulien Eikens, who’s based in Amsterdam, is part of the team that is currently expanding the footprint of the Vlisco brand within the african market. Their fabrics are available to purchase at the newly, revamped Kluk CGDT store in Cape Town, amongst other places. David Tlale’s latest collection, available at Luminance in Hyde Park Shopping centre is also created using Vlisco fabric.
Below are some of the looks that I rocked this past year, and I hope that they’ll provide some inspiration for those who, like me, weren’t too sure on how they could pull this look off..
For more on style tips and inspiration, also check out my instagram page at instagram.com/vikas01cof or log onto Facebook and follow us at Facebook.com/vikashipalana.com
Till next time..