The term “cool kids of Cape Town” has gone under some criticism, so much so, that people around this beautiful city do not want to be known as one. Why? Some people have made it become a status associated with an unnecessary sense of exclusivity and arrogance. However, some people on UCT campus deserve the status, for what it truly means: Creativity, originality, style and swagger. What is swagger is might ask? Andre Moraloki our new Student Style Icon says “swag is being as much of yourself as you can be. Doing whatever you feel like doing and not caring about anybody’s opinion. That’s how I found my voice in fashion. I merely do whatever feels right and no one can imitate me because nobody is me. People can tell when you don’t feel comfortable in your outfit, and that defeats the whole purpose of fashion.” This young man has proven to me time and time again that style is a simple expression of one’s inner beauty. I am very excited and proud to be able to publish this article, because he is a style icon in every way.
Cape Town is known for many things and one of these things is a vintage trend that runs through most stylish peoples’ wardrobes. It is so accessible to people who live here, and is a great option for students because it is indeed the cheaper option most of the time. Walking through the streets of Woodstock, Observatory, Town and even as far as Muizenburg and Kalk Bay, one is bound to come across a thrift store or seven.
Even though vintage is a great trend, some people (especially men) find it very hard to wear vintage items and still look relevant. A lot Cape Tonians are guilty of looking as if they were playing dress-up, however, what they should be doing is something that Andre does extremely well, using the vintage to inspire your outfit. When men where vintage from head to toe it is often overwhelming. But by pairing these items with current style items a man can go from looking like he literally stepped of the set of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air to looking like a man who has the swagger of, my man, Tom Ford.
There are not many celebrities who dress in this way however, good examples are Siyabonga “Scoop” Ngwekazi and Guy Ndlovu of Cream Cartel. These men have done what Andre has managed to do, and that is making vintage current. I spoke to Andre and his view of fashion is very simple, and because of its eloquent simplicity it makes a lot of sense.
Andre has to be a man of great inspiration and indeed the words “vintage” and “artistic expression” came out when I asked him what his style inspiration was. Furthermore he articulated that the clothes bought from thrift stores are not only cheaper, “but they have more of a story to tell. The patterns, cuts and colours you get from vintage clothing can never be found in commercial stores.” Buying from thrift stores also allows one to create an identity that no-one else can copy. These precious items that you find in these secret nooks of Cape Town are pieces that are not made anymore. I’m sure Andre would agree with my sentiment, because Andre has solidified a style identity for himself to which he owns the copyright, and this is something Andre recognises as he says “I also find that expressing myself through my clothing allows me to define my style and make it more distinctive”
Style is not something with which one is born; it is something that is learnt. So it certainly helps that Andre’s mother is a women of impeccable taste, and of course, someone who influenced Andre’s love for vintage clothing. “My mom is a huge lover of fashion. She used to buy items (clothing, accessories, furniture etc.) at a very low cost and recreate them into something magical that no one else could have thought of. I guess watching her all those years growing up, I got to understand the beauty of creation and self expression and fashion was one of the portals I have always used to create beauty and express myself.” Andre says. I must say he, like myself, is very lucky to have a mom who cared about self-presentation, because it is not often you see a well-dressed child, with an edge of individuality.
To all my stylish men out there, if you need style advice, ask Andre, he will most definitely lead you in the right direction. But because this is a forum in which there is always advice, Andre suggests that “every man should have [at least] one a pair of skinny jeans and a double breasted blazer in their closest. There is no compromise”.
At the end of the day self-presentation is key, and once one is comfortable with that notion, the evolution of one’s stylish expression can begin. As Andre says with regards to the importance of self-presentation “ I do believe you don’t have to be at the forefront of the fashion world do dress well. You simply have to get the basics right, find what works for you and wear it with confidence-Though you do need to match that up with a good persona. There is no point in dressing well but having nothing to show for it. Self-presentation is about the whole package, not just the fashion. So dress well, speak well and have tonnes of confidence (not arrogance) and the world is yours”
I could not have said it better.
Much love and even more Dopeness
Koosh: The Lil’ Black
Special thanks to Andre!!! Much Appreciated :)