Tomorrow, today

All Dressed Up

by | Jun 1, 2021

Fashion designers speak volumes through an inspired vocabulary of fabric and form. But sometimes it’s good to hear directly from them. We spoke to three designers – Yui Keeping of Wanida Boutique, Luanne Toms of 1971 and Shamyra Moodley of Laaniraani – about how their style-journeys intersect with their thoughts on sustainability.

Yui Keeping | Wanida Boutique

“Before moving to Cape Town, I lived in Bangkok. A city where pollution and clothing waste are commonplace, thanks to the mass production of fast fashion in Thailand. When I moved to the Mother City in 2016, I was taken by this beautiful city full of fresh air and the wonders of mother nature. It hit me how lucky I am to enjoy her natural wonders – and how important it is for me to play my part in ensuring that our natural world is protected. Attending a Twyg magazine event a few years ago, I really began to understand the importance of sustainability. It struck me that at home in Bangkok, there’s such an over-abundance of unsustainable clothing, but here in South Africa, you find so many local designers each championing sustainability. It’s incredibly inspiring. So much so, that when I started my brand in 2019, my primary thought was: how do I not contribute to fashion’s over-waste? Especially since my designs use a lot of fabric, I choose to use 100% cotton and produce low runs or make-to-order, to prevent deadstock. My customers really appreciate what the brand stands for. I keep it small so that it stays special – and sustainable, of course!” – May 2021


Luanne Toms | 1971

“Sustainable living becomes more and more important to me as I become more and more aware of the necessity to live mindfully. 1971 was built on a foundation of sustainability – being a small, start-up brand with small runs and a desire to use natural fabrics and manufacture locally, it was a natural fit. 1971 has taught me more about sustainability practices, helping to grow my own understanding as I explore the issues and how to solve them. My goal was always to create a range that grows, feeding my soul as a platform for my own creative journey. I believe in a wardrobe of long-lasting items, that you slowly add to each season. That’s why we manufacture on-demand, rather than over-produce, and continuously evolve the experience – not only for me, but for the shopper too! From fabric choice to delivery, the package needs to be exciting and full of storytelling. The sustainability journey I’m on is an exciting one because it’s a new way of creating, offering endless possibilities for exploration. It’s the perfect time to play!” –  May 2021

Shamyra Moodley | Laaniraani

“Being sustainable is essentially and instinctively who I am. Ironically, as a child of teacher-parents in the 80s, I spent all of my time teaching myself. I famously nicknamed my mom “DIY” because every time I suggested doing something, her response was consistently “do it yourself.” Creativity was boundary-less in our house, even though resources were incredibly limited. I remember trying to bake a cake with half the ingredients and dictated instructions. This imprinted in me a respect for resources and a drive to make my own rules. Though my grandmothers have limited education, they both have display a lifelong love of learning and using their resources to the maximum, teaching themselves to sew, plant, pickle and more! My own shift from corporate to creative, as well as being a mother to two, has reminded me to use what I have: my experience, my hands, my heart; and to be kind to the planet and her people. My mum always said I would look great in a sack. And so, the story of my signature sack skirts begins. Enter off-cut hessian – an incredibly sustainable textile – some let over T-shirt yarn and a love for weaving that birthed these art-piece skirts, each with its own story to tell. Usually when we talk sustainability, we’re talking terms like carbon footprint or circular economy. But sometimes, simply breathing new life into the thrown-away, while protecting a love of hand-made for future generations, is the definition of sustainability too!” – May 2021


Fashion Director | Ky Bxshxff | @kybxshxff

Photographer | Tom Maltbie | @tommaltbiephoto

Hair and Makeup | Amy-Louise Tourell | @amylouise_makeup_

Fashion Assistant | Chad John Payne | @chadjohnpayne_

Models | Dami Oni and Oleshé Solomons | @oni.dami + @oleshesolomons

Model Agency | FanJam Management | @fanjam_management


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Our work is in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 12, which aims to ensure sustainable consumption and production. Read More