African Print.. It’s not only for the Afro-centric..

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..

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At the Annual Grolsch Appreciation Event at The Museum of African Design (MOAD), in Maboneng Precinct. Wearing a Dainty Frocks creation. The top is made out of Vlisco Fabric and the shoes are Jimmy Choo. Got them in NYC a couple of years ago. Timeless!

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Another Dainty Frocks creation. My favourite! Paired with my Tom Ford sunglasses which I sourced from the most exquisite sunglass store at The Palazzo Hotel in Vegas. Also rocking my Louis Vuitton clutch bag which I bought in Paris during my and hubby’s second honeymoon.

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A Dainty Frocks shift dress, paired with my killer Steve Madden heels which I bought at their beautiful 5th avenue store in NYC and my red Prada Saffiano bag which I bought at Selfridges in London a couple of years ago during a trip to watch cricket at Lords Cricket Ground. (Did they really think that I wouldn’t shop?! #boys #smh)

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Rocking a David Tlale collar made out of Vlisco fabric. I bought this at the Design Indaba expo 2014. (The design indaba is one of those events in the annual calendar that you absolutely cannot afford to miss. Particularly if you have a passion for design, arts and culture. The 3 day conference and expo will have you feeling inspired and completely intimidated all at the same time. It’s just what every individual needs in order to get that kick that pushes you towards your God given purpose. .. That and my husband’s inspirational talks of course:-)). I’m also wearing my Stitch & Steel corset which has the most amazing and intricate detail.. a real masterpiece. I don’t know how they made it! ..paired with a dainty frocks pencil skirt. You can never go wrong with a Dainty frocks creation:-)

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The Boss Lady delivering her speech to the Grolsch Swingtop Circle members. (The Grolsch STC is one of the most sought after database/memberships in SA, comprising of the best of what SA has to offer in terms of opinion leading male entrepreneurs and leaders from various disciplines. (Single ladies, do not get any ideas. LOL;-))

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My new obsession.. my ray-ban polarised blue sunglasses which I bought at Sunglass Hut at the Cape Town international airport 2 weeks ago after my annual trip to the L’Omarins Queen’s plate at the Kenilworth Race Course. I’m wearing my G-star Raw denim shirt which I bought in Amsterdam (one of my most favourite cities in the world), with my Dainty Frocks pencil skirt. A Denham necklace which I bought at the Denham Women store at the Nine Streets in Princengracht, Amsterdam and my Ted Baker laptop bag which houses my beloved Apple Mac. This laptop bag was a thoughtful gift from my dear friend Nqobile Ka-Mbonane after I’d told her that hubby had bought me an Apple Mac in order to help me pursue my dreams (or rather.. push me (or shove me.. LOL)) towards fulfilling my purpose!

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The shoes are leopard print pumps which I bought at Socrati in Sandton City a couple of months ago. Socrati is one of the very few stores in SA that always has my shoe size available in more than just one style or pair of shoes.. This specific pair is by Carrano, Brazil. Their shoes are so comfortable, I bought 2 of the same style. *hides*

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..

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