Mx Blouse, the gender non-conforming musician whose pronouns are they/them, was delighted when Amanda Laird Cherry’s head designer Brendan Sturrock offered to dress them for their recent Durban concert. The outcome of the one-night opportunity turned into a series of powerful gender-fluid fashion images.
When Mx Blouse went to the studio to collect an outfit, they asked to borrow some clothes for a shoot. “I’m always looking for opportunities to create images, and since I love wearing ALC, I was keen to do a shoot.” In no time, photographer Brett von Dort was booked and space cleared in the new ALC’s studio.
Mx Blouse selected garments from both the both the ALC womenswear and menswear collections. They says the brand’s menswear, “suits my style”.
ALC first opened for business 23 years ago, with a team of two in an apartment on the Berea, Durban. Now the studio employs 25 people and is based in Morningside with some production outsourced to majority women-owned manufacturers within easy driving distance from the studio.
The brand responds to questions about recent collections:
ALC: For the AW19 Womenswear collection (above), we collaborated with ceramic artist Frank Nthunya and drew inspiration from the spontaneous and experimental working process of realising the silhouettes of his pots, the intricate detailing in the textures, and the effect and colours that the surface of the clay takes on once fired. The silhouettes showcased are abundant with expressive, voluminous, layers. The fabric prints were developed by Zwelisha Giampietri.
ALC: The initial inspiration for this SS19 menswear collection (the green coat and the yellow pants) stems from the work of Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai, in particular two of his pieces from “The Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji” series; one of them being “The Great Wave off Kanagawa” and another focussed on Mount Fuji itself. The combination of colour, texture and mood of these two works caught our interest and resonated powerfully for the upcoming season.
ALC: We predominantly used Twill, in addition to Ottoman, Poplin, Chambray, genuine Shweshwe over-dyed in our own colours, and single jersey knit.
ALC: The garments are adorned with details such as sunken utility pockets, and a marbled print dyed by hand. Some of the looks are intentionally monochrome and others have been styled using the same hand-dyed treatment for the entire ensemble. The colours dovetailed beautifully with the two selected Hokusai works.
ALC: The silhouettes in the SS19 womenswear collection range from accessible to avant-garde and are spontaneous and layered in a way that feels complex, but with a minimal finish that balances decorative and functional elements. All of the looks are styled as full matching sets using colour and fabric.
ALC: We used our perennial favourite, 100% cotton genuine Shweshwe cloth, as well as luxurious and eco-conscious 100% tencel, cotton dobby and various striped fabrics, both printed and yarn-dyed.
ALC: Our primary colour story presents a palette of white, rust, hunters green, mint, shades of blue, pink and beige, accented with shades of black and navy.
ALC: We’re dedicated to making sure our fashion footprint (our business) is a responsible one. We prioritise partnerships with nearby producers, helping to raise the skill level in the local industry, and we also work with crafters to elevate their work in a way that is wearable and contemporary.
Mx Blouse is a South African artist based in Johannesburg. Inspired by 90s Kwaito music, Mx Blouse also draws from genres as varied as hip-hop, house, pop and jazz. The artist’s critically acclaimed singles ‘Is’phukphuku’ and ‘No Match’ as well as a feature on frequent collaborator Thor Rixon’s ‘Khahlela’ have garnered attention from Highsnobiety, OkayAfrica, Kaltblut and more. Raised in the township of Esikhaleni, KwaZulu-Natal, as well as Alberton North, Ekurhukeni, Mx Blouse identifies as non-binary and centres their work on the reclamation of identity by exploring the cultural influences of their upbringing, unobstructed by stereotypical notions of queerness, gender, Blackness, etc. (Instagram: @MxBlouse)
- Disclaimer: The tulle in the first image is nylon. Although this fabric is not sustainable it was printed locally, and the brand as a whole is committed to local sourcing, manufacturing and mostly uses natural fabrics. Thus, it qualifies to be featured on Twyg.
- Photographer: Brett von Dort (@blackstagcreative)