Fashion is exploring and evolving as it breaks away from hallowed traditions. It might very well be in the process of becoming an industry that considers its impact on the environment, placing its focus on quality rather quantity. Shift in Flow is a fashion editorial by a team of creatives including Noentla Khumalo, Noncedo Gxekwa, Noentla Khumalo and me. It embraces the changes we face and highlights four South African fashion brands that speak to these shifts and that promote a sustainable future.
For their Autumn Winter 2020 collection Amanda Laird Cherry and her team focused on reusing, restyling and upscaling secondhand clothing sourced through Gumtree. The Gumtree Restyle collaboration and resulting showcase at SAFW was where the brand played with the concept of upcycling. Amanda says, “We have become too consumerist, especially when it comes to devouring fast fashion. There is an international need to be way more considerate about purchasing in general, which is why our collaboration with Gumtree on the SAFW platform was the perfect setting for us to cement our commitment and give us the chance to be creative and present the process in a sophisticated way.”
“It’s been a very tough but time and time again the saying about NOT being the biggest or strongest but the most adaptable to change will survive – is so valid and true,” says Kat Van Duinen who is using this time to create theatrical and imaginative garments that offer escape. “Retail has come to a complete halt for us and we have to lighten the mood… to allow a space for imagination, dreaming and frivolity,” says the designer. Kat and her team are building new online platforms; a new website and Instagram store. She will launch her new collection through these platforms on June 15th.
Consumers may want clothing that can be worn multiple times or in multiple ways to help minimise the quantity of clothes they purchase due to financial constraints and conscious consumption. Designer Roman Handt created pieces in collaboration with performance artist Kieron Jina and fashion stylist Carel Combrinck that speak to African indigenous cultures inspired by BaSotho blankets. These multi-wearable garments “enable the wearer to dictate how it should be worn. I wanted the blankets to remain versatile as garments and not lose the multiple purposes that blankets are used for,” says Handt. When asked about the future of his atelier considering the pandemic, Roman says, “I have decided to downscale the workforce and go into hibernation until 2021. I will focus on creative projects with other artisans who might be doing/feeling the same as I do. Observing the local fashion market seems to be the safest option for the next couple of months. I might change careers all together – I’m still trying to figure out what exactly is going on!”
The pandemic and the lockdown have impacted us hard, making a recovery from its effects appear impossible for a lot of businesses. In order to get through this incredibly painful process of recovery, we must redefine norms and practices and promote sustainability in a way that is authentic and true to a brand identity.
The designers whose garments are featured remind us that fashion reflects society and has the power to inspire a shift in flow.
Creative Director: Noentla Khumalo
Photography: Noncedo Gxekwa
MUA: Sinobom Faku
Words: Tandekile Mkize