In our latest Colour Issue, we’ve rounded up fashion’s avant-garde – six people whose inherent style we admire and whose trend-savvy we trust. Today we chat to three of them: Chloe Townsend, Thando Sikawuti and Thulare Monareng. Here’s what they had to say…
With a background in graphic design, Cape Town creative Thando Sikawuti’s first foray into fashion was making limited edition t-shirts. But it’s his statement-making men’s shorts we love for the contemporary Afro Cool update he’s given this everyday wardrobe staple. Made from the bright Ghanaian textiles that he discovered on a visit to the country by way of Oslo, Copenhagen and Rome, what began as an addition to his personal wardrobe has become a boutique business thanks to requests from friends and acquaintances. With his brand currently in the pipeline and no HQ to speak of (yet), Thando wryly refers to himself as ‘The Walking Shop’. Contact him on email@example.com for ordering queries.
Favourite South African designer? Craig Native, as his clothing is individualistic and non-conformist.
Favourite urban spots? Long Street and Observatory: for the collision of different people and the artistic expression evident in much of the decor of its bars, shops and eateries. I specifically like Yours Truly Cafe in Long Street, for a coffee and the cool paintings for sale.
Can’t live without… Music. Or leaving the house without feeling good about what I’m wearing.
Favourite music? I’m into underground, old-school hip hop.
Combining her skills learnt at the London School of Fashion along with her innate creativity, offbeat design sensibility and love of colour and pattern, Chloe Townsend has created South Africa’s most-wanted luxury leather accessories label, Missibaba. As well as being the darling of the local fashion press, the Missibaba brand has been featured in publications from Vogue Japan to Wallpaper. Her Woodstock studio is a buzzing space saturated with eye candy, inspirational objects, mood boards, samples and swatches that all go towards the making of her seasonal ranges of bags, clutches, belts, leather jewellery and one-offs. The names she gives her bags – Puffin Pouch, Zoo Cha-Ching, Vicious Fishes, and Peacock Possum – are just as delightful as the items themselves. The label Missibaba comes from Chloë’s childhood nickname, given to her by her mother, and the brand has the same playful, creative presence. Visit www.missibaba.com.
What inspires you? Everything that surrounds me! Nature, the colours of fynbos, local plants and birds. Changing light, contrasts in general, leather as a material, my creative friends, and collaborations with talented people such as Meg Summs of Fabric, Stiaan Louw, Anna Loubser from Wolmer… And a gorgeous, Scandinavian 1920’s illustrated book of fairytales given to me by my very special grandmother. Trips to India, Argentina and Greece inspire patterns and add variety to my colour palette. And last but certainly not least, my creative family and all the Missibabas!
On your playlist? I’m loving Maria Minerva and the Cocteau Twins at the moment.
Best urban space? I’ve been spending a lot of time at my brother’s new restaurant, Harbour House, which recently opened at the Waterfront. They have the most delicious sushi and perfect position, where I intend to spend many a lazy Sunday afternoon into evening.
What do you make of Cape Town winning the title of World Design Capital for 2014? What an incredible opportunity! I hope all members of our community can be encouraged to embrace it with open hearts and minds. We all need to pool our skills, knowledge and ideas in order to move forward as a whole. It is definitely possible. We just need to enjoy it!
We love the names of your collections almost as much as we love the bags. How do you come up with them? The name of the collection arrives during the making of the first samples. It sounds a little odd, but the bags kind of let us know what they want to be called. They take on a life of their own!
What’s in your handbag at the moment? What is not in my handbag at the moment! A hammer, cold/flu medication, a lemon, sunglasses, wallet, a CD of a ridiculously rad local band The Makeovers, NT cutter blades, perfume, mascara, leather samples… The list goes on!
Thulare Monareng first nabbed our attention with her ingenious Fashion Deli Cafe: a clothing store on Long Street where local designs were displayed in deli fridges, cool drink crates and shopping trolleys. Currently, she is the international artistic director for United Fashion For Peace, a Paris-based organization committed to the development of sustainable and ethical fashion. There are plans to expand her Fashion Deli concept, and eponymous Thulare Monareng and Thuli brands internationally.
Favourite urban spot? Greenmarket Square, which I call the town square. It’s a wonderful mélange of creativity: from the food served in the various cafes to the eclectic performances by local buskers and the stalls selling clothing and crafts.
Top South African designer? Strangelove. I think they’re the most innovative and underrated design label in South Africa. I love their afro-urban approach to design reflected in beautifully tailored garments that are avant-garde but also very wearable.
The last thing I put on my credit card was… A painting by Justin Stationway from World Art.
Who has impressed you recently in design? Japanese designer Rie Hosokai’s exquisite couture garments constructed from balloons.
* Photographs Adriaan Louw & Richard Aaron Production Charl Edwards Interviews Rebecca Houston & Alece Bick Additional Text Mandy Allen