It was almost time for South Africa’s Fashion Week and I was very fortunate to be part of it. I got the opportunity to work as one of the digital crew members and got to see every single show. It wasn’t long, until all my social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook hit their climax by updating all the latest news about each and every single collection. I find it quite promising to look at online ratings, not only of events – but almost everything – from a simple product to a big luxurious getaway. Research show that 65% of the youth will first see an online review before attending any event (European Comission, 2016). It was, as always, one of the busiest weeks for South-Africa in terms of the business of fashion and even when people from the media didn’t have front row seats – they made sure they put their asses down front row only! As, with everything in life, is it important to always take note of a few things.
Normcore is a unisex fashion trend characterized by unpretentious, average-looking clothing. The term can be described as “normal” and “hardcore”. This look, or rather non look, is slowly catching on with the youth. Evita Nuh, the 17 year old blogger of “The crème de la crop” has been hailed as the next Tavi Gavinson says that you are actually fashionable by looking like you don’t care at all (Nuh, 2016). This is not only a trend, but one of the fastest growing ones as well. Everyone, from the audience to some of the actual designers and shortly described, the people that makes fashion worthwhile in SA, was seen in oversize sweaters, baseball caps and jogging pants. Universally, even Kendal Jenner can be seen wearing normcore mom jeans and cropped sweatshirts. “Ugliness” has become a trend itself!
Generations Z’s are primed to become the dominant youth influencers of the future, if only we can unlock the key to their psyche. While the millenials were raised during the boom times and relative peace of the 1990’s, only to see the world change dramatically after the September 11 attacks and the following of two economic crashes (History, 2016), Generation Z came along in the aftermath of these events in the era of war on terror and the Great Recession. So while Millenials lost their innocence, Generation Z never really had a chance at being innocent at all. This has made them pragmatic, hard working, somewhat anxious and very mindful of the future. They have the weight of the world on their shoulders. Generation Z though, in contrast to the Millenials, are extremely private and are embracing anonymous social media platforms like Secret or Whisper and Snapchat. They are acutely aware of their private brand and protect it religiously. Put it all together, the privacy, the causion and the focus on doing good through sensible careers and the Generation Z are starting to look less like teenagers and more like their grandparents! Perhaps this is why there has been a resurgence of the “granny” trend seen on the runway of Clive Rundle’s collection on the first night.
Famous Celebrities like trend analyst Nicola Cooper, the founder of Flux Trends, established herself as a Generation Y style icon by showing up in a tailored suit on the third night. It is not a very new – but boy, people are much less attached to traditional gender binaries or linear definitions of sexuality. One of the main attractions of the week was Roman Handt’s installation and it was all about individualism and the right to be whatever you want.
Teenagers will be teenagers and there will always be an element of rebelliousness to their dress. No wonder the punkish signifiers of rebellion are making a comeback seen in recently joined designer, Vintage Zionist’s collection. Buckles, ruffles, leather, tutus and even pleated pants was all very popular in this Autumn/ Winter’17 collection. For a young designer, I think he truly proved his ability and showcased his amazing skill: Accommodating various demographics at the same time, thus making it possible for the majority to participate in his ideals behind the collection – I heard his collection will hit his shop in Braamfontein soon, and I simply can’t wait! Nirvana t-shirts and Kurt Cobain plaid shirts are the go to wardrobe.
The collections were all very beautiful and carefully structured. African Style Story had Indonesian inspired prints with handcrafted embroidery, whilst Rubicon had everything that’s required for a night out in town. Every collection had their own persona and it makes me go back to my feature article, where I defined how important it is in today’s time to associate yourself with what is going on around us and also to become aware of the constant changes in society. More importantly, is it my wish that all my readers will go out there and walk the runway of life, not only with confidence, but with a satisfied smile.