Monday, July 16, 2012

African fashion in new shape

The days when settling on a skirt that was too baggy around the waist because it fits around the hips may be facing an edge for many African women. Thanks to mother-and-son team who are cracking a sizing system that is conforming to the black women unique contours.
“The shape of the clothing in the shop doesn’t solidify, compared with the shape of An African woman” Fikile Nxedlana says over the phone from Vunula fashion workshop (Her House) in Durban.

Ask most of the African about fashion and they will tell you, from a mother of sixty, that since they were teenagers, if they are lucky to get an outfit that was fitting, that would either be a fitting top but unfitting bottom. Either it’s too baggy or stands out at the back such that you can never find pants. Jamal Nxedlana agrees with this wholeheartedly “the problem is usually the hip-to-waist ratio”.

Western patterns have no room for natural hourglass figure. Facing facts, women have more dramatic curves than what the stores suggests.

It’s through such things that young fashionista, styled with the likes of Loyiso Bala and Spoke Mathambo, and his traditional mother have teamed to create new label called the misshape. The label was instantly aimed at the young professionals, boasting chic silhouette courtesy of Jamal and new sizing system, a basic reality of the African measurement, developed by Fikile.

“I would buy clothes and change them” discloses Fikile. “Soon I was modifying all my friends’ outfits. I then took a design course and started to make clothes. That is what inspired me to push Jamal and let people know that there is a market here. In trying to correct the patterns, I came up with new ways of working things out.”

Fikile creates the look while the mother creates the pattern. He chooses the fabric while she produces the outfits at her factory. It’s the same place that she trains the unemployed women to help them make a living out of fashion.


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