Hello my fashion lovers...
Don't you hate that our fashion industry does not celebrate fashion stylists as much as they should? Stylists don't ever get the publicity they very well deserve in SA? We always see well dressed celebrities but they hardly ever credit the person behind the outfit they are wearing. There aren't many articles in magazines that are dedicated to stylists solely for the work that they do. As you are reading this, count in your head the number of South African stylists that you know, and how much of their work have you seen? I'm not talking about designers! I'm talking about STYLISTS!!
Anyways, enough complaining! I had the privilege to chat to one of SA's prominent stylist Lethabo Maboi aka Boogy about a photo shoot she recently worked on with her partner Graye Olifant, for their pop up shop; Trunks and Cast, which they co-own. They named the projected Neon Valley Street, it is their Autumn/Winter trend teaser show casing some of the clothes that their customers and fashion lovers alike were able to purchase at their Fashion Night Out event that took place last month.
The shoot was inspired by Annie Liebovitz's Alice in Wonderland Editorial shoot in 2008, with the wonderfully surreal garden and dramatic poses,the dreamy images caught in tiny frames.
Me: Why Neon Velly?
Boogy: "Neon Valley represents a world where more is more and less is less.The clothes serve as the characters on rails and the living really is all fabulously easy down to the most minimalist sub-cultures.
"The Fela Kuti inspired imagery represents a NUVO rich neon valley society that believes in free love,hence the man and three wives. The head wrap is a trend that we started seeing on many runways and urban walk ways last year. Turbans can transform any look from drab to fab,the bolder the prints the bigger he statement .In Neon Valley the higher the turban the closer you are to God (:"
Me: I love the Alice in Wonderland theme. Any specific reason why you decided on it?
Boogy: "We decided on the Alice in Wonderland theme because the fairy tale introduced us to so many layered characters and that was a great muse for what Trunks and Cast brand represents "Characters on rails". We used various characters or scenes from the actual story and coupled it with editorial art directions from shoots that we loved that recreated this magical world of mystery and indulgence."
Me: Leeroy Jason! Amazing talent. Very well known local photographer. Is this the first you work with him?
Boogy: "We've been very lucky to have started working with the talented Leeroy Jason since Trunks&Casts inception in 2011 when we launched the pop up store at The Pop Bottles 'Vintage' event in Helderfontein. Since then he has found a home at Trunks&Cast as our in house 'eye'.I love the magnitude and depth of what his lens can capture and that his photography style is constantly being re-invented."
Boogy: "Because we are a pop up shop that fuses fashion and design in order to create a unique shopping experience we decided to theme the above look after the "Mad Hatters" Tea Party. The clothes are vintage inspired takes of lavishness, luxury and opulence."
Me: Beautiful location, fits the theme perfectly. Which came first? Theme or location?
Boogy: "The location of the shoot gave birth to the Neon Valley Street theme all on its own. We shot at my family home in Midrand. My mother swoons for gardening so transforming our well manicured garden into this fairy tale world required little effort just clever Art Direction. Luckily me and my Partner Graye Olifant are a match made in Neon Valley heaven. Graye is an Art Teacher and illustrator so she brings the art direction and design element to the table and I the marketing and styling but we are equally cut from the cloth of fashion."
Me: You have a very unique sense of style and it reflects on your work. What can you tell me about the clothes you picked for this shoot?
The clothes for the shoot where a combination of autumn ranges from Trunks&Cast, Parooz Fashions, Scrabbel and 2BOP. For some reason people think winter and automatically think dark colours. Neon Valley represents a world where the norm is overrated and more is more. I decided on a bright colour pallet of rich Jewel tones and luxury fabrics. I find people end up loosing interest in fashion as it gets colder because they feel the need to add layers where they should just be switching up the materials used to make their garments e.g polyester pants for cottons, denim for corduroy etc. So colour and material was a focal point when sourcing the clothes. Every season I look forward to finding my key accessory and this season for the ladies its the Turban and Head wrap for me. I love the element of drama it brings to tailored fashion as well as the ethnic edge it adds to street wear. Tribal prints and cultural cloths represent luxury for me so the turban creates the consistent feel of opulence.
Boogy: "This season we introduce the "HerMans" Jacket a unisex trench style wind breaker suited for the tailored man and grunge chic who loves to slip into "HerMans" threads every once in a while."
Me: As I mentioned before, your style is very unique, very retro yet modern and chic. What is style to you and how would you define your style?
Boogy: "Style to me is: wearing the same outfit as someone else and giving it a different look. *where the signature ingredient is that extra you*"
"More than a look I think my style reflects a mind frame that plays itself out visually thru my multiple personalities. I'm a chameleon aesthetically but you can sum it is as me-easy to admire cautioned to duplicate. I wear my story . I try to always find that alluring balance between tom boy and Coco Chanel chic. I collect coats and secretly yearn to be a Japanese Horajiku girl."
Me: I have seen you in stunning vintage outfits. Where are some of your favourite shopping places?
Boogy: "My mom is a the neatest hoarder in the world so she kept a lot of her clothes for us, so moms closet is by far my favourite place to shop. If fashion was a religion my mom would be God. I love going to markets because you find firstly locally produced products and great items from shops that masses won't have access to. I have a phobia of being duplicated."
"I'm a down town darling,the rush of not knowing what your going to find,where you going to find it and the thrill of possibly not finding it again gets me going."
"I have favourite brands as opposed to shops so shopping online has become the cure for a new cause of shopaholism. I think we are being cheated by retailers who keep selling us the same clothes at different prices. The mall is my worst place to spend time. I grew up going to amazing vintage boutiques my all time best being "Patou" that recently closed its doors in Craighall. My mom taught me about the quality of clothes long before I discovered a style to run with. When you start to pay attention the "make" of clothes,cuts,linings etc you tend to not over shop cause the clothes don't wear and tear rapidly."
"Shopping for me begins in the mind so my favourite place to shop would be my imagination. The louder my fashion voice got,the less stops I made to the mall. Its weird but I don't shop a lot by any woman's standards I rather find new ways to arrange my existing wardrobe."
Me: What is your take on local fashion? Do see any sustainable development when it comes to local brands?
Boogy: "South African people have a great general fashion sense which always leaves me puzzled as to why our fashion industry is struggling to sustain itself. I believe its important to introduce local trend forecasting that reflects local style. If you want to see real style I
always suggest one goes to our townships where fashion is consumed and style is exhaled at every corner,spaza and shisa nyama the down side of this though is that local brands are never the must-have items. I asked the other day, who South Africa's Ralph Lauren or Donna Karen is?....How is it that we don't have one well known local design house that has been a successful and sustainable before the 90's?.....Who did it before the Marionne and Lindi's, Kluks and Ama Kip Kips? We are a nation that's made a habit of not creating and not tailoring our industry to us .We have a long way to go."
Me: A couple of people that you've worked with to date?
Boogy: "I have worked with Khuli Chana since 2008. I styled most of his music videos, Tswak Stickem is one of them. Not only did I work on his videos but I also styled him for the 2010 South African Music Awards and the 2010 Metro Awards."
"I worked on AKA's Bang music video last year and I also styled him for the 2011 Channel
"I styled new electro pop group Sky Roq Nation for their promotional album work."
"I have worked with JR doing styling for performances."
"I've worked with Maftown raper K.T"
"I've also done some work with brands such as Butan and Box Fresh"
"I styled Thomas Gumede for the 2011 Channel O awards and I provide a
personal shopper service for him that's still running."
"I've worked with Cannoc productions for the promotional material for
the Trey Songs tour."
"And most recently, Channel O africa and O news"
"Rhythm100radio's 2010 website photo shoot."
"I've styled Chuma Phiri Planet host of Good Morning Africa on Africa
Me: Who would love to work with in the future?
Boogy: "I love mens fashion and generally get male clients and the hip hop industry alone could do with a makeover. I would love to work with more female clients like Dineo Moeketsi, Toya deLazy,the entire generations cast, haha. I would love to work on a production like Miss SA Teen and do wardrobe for a movie. Every time I style I learn something new. I use fashion to find new ways to help people look better versions of themselves ."
Me: What projects are you currently working on?
Boogy: "Currently Trunks&Cast is my main focus. We pride ourselves in being an
authentic pop up store."
Boogy: "Pop up stores are becoming very popular as they offer a uniqiue shopping experience that combines design,craftsmanship,creativity and fashion through manipulation of space and location. On the 26th of May we hosted our first night market event called Fashion Night Out. We collaborated with two other brands, it was a night of fashion,fun and fierceness where people came to shop, appreciate art and mingle with other fashion followers."
Me: Lastly, future plans and goals?
Boogy: "Stylist are still very under utilised and my hope is to make the kind of impression that will make the entertainment industry aware of the need for our services. Having my own fashion line of clothes, shoes and home decor is definitely something I'm already flirting with but have set as a long term goal. I would love to create a womans line of masculine inspired clothes called the "HerMans" range. I would also love to collaborate with Siyabonga Ngwekazi on a high end mens line. Because I'm also a radio host I would to host a produce a local fashion entertainment show for tv...."
When I first saw this photo shoot I said to myself "This belongs in Magazine?" WOW!! The creativity, style and photography blew me away. I love it. It so refreshing to see young fashion lovers who are dedicated to bringing their craft and ideas to life, it is so inspiring. I really enjoyed putting this article together, I could write a whole book on Boogy and her style. I do not doubt that we shall be seeing a lot of Boogy and Graye's work, they are highly talented and driven. Wishing them all the best. A million thank yous to Boogy for taking a time to chat to me. You are Aaaahmazing!!!!!!!!!!
Follow Boogy on twitter @BoogyMaboi and @TrunksAndCast to learn more about their upcoming events.
Picture Credit: Trunks and Cast
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