Sometimes the greatest types of inspiration that one can get are the ones that may have been considered the craziest trends in times that have past. Fearless fashion is what I am talking about. Some people have it within themselves to try out clothing, or a particular era of style because they think it’s cool and not because someone else decided the relevance of the trend. This ability is one that only a handful of people in our mists are blessed with, and no doubt, most of these people hail from the Mother City, Cape Town.
Everyone who lives in Cape Town after having lived elsewhere for the majority of their lives is always impacted in ways that affect their style, art appreciation and choice of music. I know, I came to University with not much style. I used to come to campus in a t-shirt and shorts every day. But literally, a month into my stay, I realized I had to step my game up. Capetonians have such a presence that oozes confidence and they often have style that is untouchable. If you have any respect for fashion then a different sort of style flame is ignited in you once you’ve lived in Cape Town. Naledi Radebe, a real Capetonian (as in she grew up in Cape Town), is the perfect ambassador for fearless fashion. It is original and fits in everywhere, and it helps that Naledi is probably one of the coolest people I’ve ever met. She is a down to earth Bachelor of Arts student that seems to thoroughly enjoy life.
Naledi affirmed my notion that Cape Town changes people, as it did me. She told me something that need not be paraphrased: “Capetonians have an appreciation for mixed cultures and styles. You see it in the food we eat, music, fashion and art. We’re an artistic and creative bunch, having the option of being able to explore different avenues and try this and that; a little hippy, a little beachy, a little nerdy, a little preppy, and a little old school hip-hop. We have such a great diverse range from which to choose. We celebrate. It’s a party for everything”. This last statement, which I agree with full heartedly, continues to solidify Naledi’s style identity.
Naledi’s style, I would say, can be said to be similar to the swagger that Solange Knowles is pushing at the moment, with a definite dash of Zoe Kravitz. Both these celebrities have very distinct and fearless ways of dressing, and have similar influences in their style that Naledi has. Everybody who dresses in a way that is noticeable, makes one wonder what drives their fashion outlook, and on countless occasions including Pop Bottles at Azura in Cape Town at the beginning of the year, as well as the J&B Met 2011, I’ve said to myself “I totally wish I had thought of that outfit”, but I guess this is why Naledi is a student style icon, and I am not.
Naledi tells me that she doesn’t mind what people say about what she wears and that the only opinion that matters in hers. And furthermore she says “If I dig it I’m wearing it, and I will push it as steez (style for those who are not familiar with that term) regardless of judgmental eyes”. Impressive as that statement is, she continued to tell me that she draws inspiration from an era that most of our parents and other fashionistas wish had never happened, the 70’s and 80’s. However, even though they had some very tragic tragic moments of fashion in this era, Naledi continues to point out that “they had it going on”. There was a sense of rebellion that is very attractive in terms of the style of that time, “that was a time when there was a merge of styles from preceding years, so there was room to try a lot. People were outrageous and I appreciate that in their hair, glasses and clothes.” Naledi says. And after doubting the era from which Naledi derives her inspiration, this above explanation makes sense. The fact of the matter is that, in shops accessories, shoes, clothing and fabric patterns are adopting shapes that were very prominent in the 1970’s and 1980’s. And it may be something that some of the more cautious fashionistas might want to try out.
Even though the 1970’s and 1980’s were colourful and outrageous, it is of utmost importance that when pursuing a style such as this, one must have essential pieces that tie the whole outfit together. And these are Naledi’s: “Leather jackets and belts (I have a couple in different shades). Girls in high- waisted everything goes without saying and of course lipstick- in every colour.” These essentials can most definitely define an outfit for ladies. And for men, Naledi gives great advice “Light denims, preferably skinny jeans, plimsolls or All-Stars and plain white T’s”, and furthermore “grey is a great colour for both sexes”.
For those who are new to Cape Town winter, it would be wise you take notes at this moment in time. Naledi says that this winter “Go aviator on us with a pilot jacket. Grandpa jerseys and woolly everything! Combat boots never die and let’s not forget hooded scarves.”
If you want to spot Naledi on campus or pushing the ultimate swag on the street, she will be wearing one of the three things, thigh-high socks, sheer stockings or black detailed stockings.
Some may think that it doesn’t take much to adopt a Capetonian style. However, it’s not that easy because style is not just about the clothes you put on, that does not give you swag in any way. What gives you swag is the way you carry yourself. If you believe in what you are wearing and have an air of confidence and fearlessness, no-one can stop you or even dare try and chuckle at you. So like Naledi, try something new, something outrageous and carry it with the utmost swagger and you should be just fine.
Much Love and even more Dopeness
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