H&M CONSCIOUS EXCLUSIVE 2018 BRINGS TOGETHER POWERFUL FEMININITY AND SUSTAINABLE FASHION INNOVATION WITH RECYCLED SILVER AND ECONYL®
By combining the latest in sustainable fabric innovation with designs inspired by the creative home of the Swedish artists Karin and Carl Larsson, the 2018 H&M Conscious Exclusive collection is a thoroughly modern expression of beautiful craft and powerful femininity. For the first time two new sustainable materials, recycled silver and ECONYL®, a 100% regenerated nylon fibre from fishnets and other nylon waste, are introduced to the collection. Launching on 19 April, the Conscious Exclusive 2018 collection will be available in selected stores worldwide and online at hm.com.
For its seventh edition, the H&M Conscious Exclusive collection comprises of beautifully crafted womenswear clothing, lingerie, shoes and accessories that balance strength with softness. This year, along with organic linen, organic cotton, organic silk, TENCEL™ and recycled polyester, H&M introduces the two new materials recycled silver and ECONYL®, a 100% regenerated nylon fibre made from fishnets and other nylon waste.
“It is a great thrill to introduce two new sustainable materials into the collection. By creating gorgeous lace made of ECONYL® and beautiful jewellery crafted from recycled silver, we continue to stretch the boundaries of sustainable fashion. Also, the work of Karin Larsson in particular took on a lot of significance, her stylised motifs, bold compositions and use of colour throughout the house were ahead of its time. She was such a strong woman and it’s that spirit that we channelled.”
Ann-Sofie Johansson, creative advisor at H&M
Handcrafted tapestries and needlework made by Karin, her love for their garden and contrasting characteristics of the rooms in Karin and Carl’s home were the key inspirations for the 2018 Conscious Exclusive collection. They were cleverly translated by the design team into the stunning floral jacquards, abstract embroideries and prints based on specific objects in the house.
There are several statement pieces, such as a white ECONYL® sleeveless full-length dress with organic cotton embroidery and a green floral metallic jacquard full-length dress made from recycled polyester. Meanwhile, a black floral jacquard trouser suit features an open slit at the back of the blazer and cropped flare trousers for a contemporary touch. Overall, the colour palette consists of greens, white and black with touches of dusky blue and powder pink. Accessories include delicate yet striking tulip-motif jewellery made from recycled silver, elegant satin slip in shoes made from recycled polyester, beautiful printed scarves in a TENCEL™ blend and a delicate pouch handbag made fully embellished with recycled plastic beads and sequins.
“Ever since I learned about this collection I’ve been really impressed by what it stands for and the designs are equally appealing. Fashion and sustainability is no longer a contradiction in terms and I think re-using and recycling is an important initiative across fashion. It’s really inspiring to see such fashion-forward designs being made from recycled materials,”
Christy Turlington Burns, this year’s face of the H&M Conscious Exclusive campaign
The 2018 print campaign was shot by fashion photographer Mikael Jansson and stars Aamito Lagum, Giedrė Dukauskaitė and Christy Turlington Burns, world-renowned model and founder of the maternal health organisation Every Mother Counts.
As part of the social campaign promoting the new Conscious Exclusive Collection, I was invited by H&M to create three looks around one garment from the collection. I chose the longline tuxedo blazer, and my three looks are pictures above!
It may not come as a surprise to you, that black is my favorite colour. It’s versatile, elegant, edgy and refined all at once, and makes getting dressed in the morning for a hectic day, one less thing to worry about. In general, my wardrobe palette is pretty neutral, and I prefer to keep my pieces really mix and match, for a Jenga like wardrobe experience when dressing.
When your colour palette is rather simple, however, it becomes extra important to pay attention to shapes, textures and fabrics, to ensure your looks are fresh and interesting, no matter the monochrome. Two of my favorite local designers are legends when it comes to delicate construction in hardy, wearable, yet breathable fabrics. Celeste of Selfi and Ella of Superella have won over my heart with their consistently gorgeous linen wares in a colour palette that fits right into the rest of my wardrobe.
The problem with black, especially when used on fabric like linen, is it tends to fade after a few washes, and begins to lose the vibrancy that makes black such an iconic wardrobe staple. Blacks turn to greys and suddenly the whole look is off. Enter new Skip Intelligent Perfect Darks concentrated auto washing liquid with fiber care technology. This magical liquid helps keep the richness of dark colors on your clothes, especially black, which keeps them looking newer for longer. I have been using the product in my weekly wash of all my darks, and am so impressed with the results. My clothes look good as new and have not showed any signs of fading or greying! I even put the product to the test by washing old jeans of mine that had already begun fading, and the result on the first wash was incredible. The little black that was left in the pair, became really vibrant once more, making the fading in the jeans look deliberate, like an acid wash, instead of like I’ve worn them too many times.
This new Skip Intelligent variant comes in Perfect Darks, for rich black and jewel tones, Perfect Whites, for crisp whites and in my case, linens, and also Perfect Delicates, for your lacy camis, lingerie and embellished garments. You can purchase this product at any of your major local retailers. Stay tuned as I give those two a try soon, but heads up, the Perfect Whites is just as good as the Perfect Blacks, so my guess is Delicates will be amazing too!
Originally published on Superbalist The Way of Us here.
Photography x Anthony Bila
By now you’re familiar with rap sensation and daughter of the revolution, Sho Madjozi; if not, you must not have eyes, ears, and frankly, a leg to stand on. I have the pleasure of calling her friend, but to much of young South Africa, she is known as an inspiration. After gaining wide spread acclaim for her writing and prolific internet voice, @MayaThePoet as some may remember her, has given the culture in popular culture, new life. An undeniable force in complicating the conversation around fashion and culture that seems to be dominating dinner table talk and timeline chatter amongst the woke and willing, Maya Wegerif has managed to bring a purity back to the notion of ‘an image’ on the South African hip hop scene. ‘How can you not incorporate culture into your craft? You don’t get to be Zulu when it suits you, or only on public holidays, or Xhosa when it’s convenient. I’m Tsonga all the time’, says Maya about her on and off stage identity.
Most recognizable about the young artist’s performance of culture, is her now iconic Tsonga Xibelani skirt, worn by women in her village, and now by Maya herself in all of her performances. The making of Xibelani is a practice Maya inherited from her grandmother. ‘It takes a lot of patience’, which undoubtedly brings a heart and a soul to what could very easily have become a performative identity for the benefit of fame. ‘I’ve never been a fashionista. Your style is a product of what’s around you, so for me it was raiding my mother and grand mother’s closets, and of course they had Xibelani, so that’s what I would wear. For my first performance, the feature with Okmalumkoolkat, I had nothing to wear. I couldn’t afford to buy a lot of new stuff either, so I looked at my old Xibelani and decided to wear that. I had no idea the impact it would have.’
In conversation, Maya has mentioned before that development in her community is a cause close to her heart. Expressing that most people have the desire to help, the vast majority just don’t know how. By combining her skills as a writer and actress, harnessing her passion for film and her pop culture clout, she’s thought of a way to make an impact that demonstrates not only her ideas about fame and longevity, but also the activism no doubt inherited from her active father before her. ‘The issue with where I come from is that nobody my age lives there. You’re born there, you stay there till you finish matric, and then you go to Joburg for work; you only then come back when you’re old or you’re sick. But of course, why would anyone want to stay there when there’s nothing to do. So I thought about my writing, that’s easy to do alone in your room, it doesn’t take a lot of people, or help a lot of people, but cinema does. You’ve got technical people, you’ve got acting and music, and even if people wanted to be carpenters, they could be a part of cinema through set design. I want to make movies that side because of how many economic opportunities that could bring.’
Maya has never been shy about how her heritage has pride of place in the way she lives in a personal capacity, and of course, in a public one. Moved by her impact, her retelling of mails written to her by young fans emanates thoughtfulness and warmth that can so often get lost in the whirlwind of popularity or fame. ‘(I am most moved by) the kind of stories that tell me about having been ashamed of being Tsonga or even other ethnic groups; of not having space in mainstream media or not feeling represented. Girls write to me about having been ashamed of speaking Xitsonga, or Tshivenda, and now they feel they have the space to wear their culture proudly. It’s pretty extreme out there, people used to change their names to not be Tsonga, and the stories of people telling me that I’ve restored their pride, touch me the most.’
I think there is an interesting transfer of energy when our favorite parts of public figures, become the things were hid from ourselves or tried to change. In thinking about the most recognizable parts of the Sho Madjozi brand, naturally, the Xibelani comes to mind first, but I think Maya’s styling of her hair and loyalty to her stylist, is something a lot of young black girls and woman are empowered by when it comes to the embodiments of culture. ‘This hairstyle only really became popular now, but I’ve been doing it for about 3 years now. The hairstyles that I do today, and the ones that have become most popular in South Africa today, I made up. The variations you see now, no one was doing before; I completely made them up. But for me, the inspiration was Thandiswa Mazwai, who is a strong inspiration for me, and I think she was deeply inspired by Fulani hairstyles in West Africa. The shape of my head is weird, so I always have to do up dos and can’t just have them straight or flat. If you remember Alicia Keys when she used to do the braids, they would always lay flat, now, she always does an up do, and that’s because of the style I introduced. It was even trending on Buzzfeed. I just have fun making them up, sometimes they come to me, the styles, and one even came to me in a dream. I was in a Fulani village once having my hair done, and I taught the woman doing my braids, how to do the style. I went back a while later to visit, and several girls in the village now had the style, and the lady was still braiding more. In a lot of ways I take from Fulani culture, and it’s nice to be able to give something back. That’s what I have to say about culture and the development of; no one can say that they made something up just out of nowhere, we all are inspired by someone or something, but it’s better not to just take. I think, rather for the advancement of culture, if you’re going to take something, also give something back. Otherwise you’re just a leech, a vulture. Culture is a group effort.’ I couldn’t agree more, and I think now more than ever, this is a sentiment we should strive to engage every day; not just when convenient, not just public holidays, not just heritage Month.
Transitional seasons call for smart layering solutions, lightweight fabrications, clean lines and modern twists on classic tailoring. The Autumn color palette moves towards brighter, lighter, cooler colors for a fresh Spring feel. Contrasting and complimentary shapes are a new way to elevate the simplicity of a work-wear wardrobe into the edgier and more casual weekend wardrobe.
Photography x Anthony Bila
LOOK 1: Monotone Ease
Breaking up your modern suit into separates gives your wardrobe more versatility. Take the trousers and pair them with an off the shoulder shirt, a low slip on mule and an oversized bag with metallic hardware, for a sophisticated weekend restaurant look.
Style tip: The look works with the jacket and without for varying degrees of coverage and elegance. The off the shoulder detail under the double-breasted blazer adds an interesting contrasting element.
LOOK 2: Day to Night Suiting
Keeping your modern suit whole can still be an appropriate look for away from the office. Pair with a monochromatic graphic t-shirt like this one made in collaboration with French illustrator Quibe, for an edgier more relaxed look. To take it into after work drinks, or girls night, add an architectural heel for a little glam.
Style Tip: Use your hairstyle to play with the high/low detailing elements when wearing a full suit. Loose hair feels more relaxed than an up-do or intricate style. Use your hair and your shoes to dictate the formality of your suit styling.
LOOK 3: Casual Color Blocking
Solids on solids are an easy way to elevate a simple look from casual to elegant. Add another neutral coloured jacket or blazer to your basic suit trouser, with a t-shirt or blouse underneath finished with a suede mule for comfort, and your look becomes a clean yet comfortable take on the age old colour blocking trend. This look relies on the cape style of the jacket to bring an element of newness to an otherwise easy look.
Style tip: Choosing a shirt with a long and interesting sleeve detail to go underneath the cape jacket accentuates and highlights the shape of the layers and is a dynamic way to bring contrast into a monochromatic ensemble.
I'm not really big on prints. Those of you who have known me for a while, or at least followed me from afar, have surely recognised my aversion to patterns and prints. I have nothing against them, it's just a personal preference; I find it easier to build looks from a wardrobe full of solid neutrals in classic shapes, and a host of accessories for variety and texture. This look is predominantly black, but I took a chance with the ditzy print in white to give a fun, casual, element to an otherwise simple, and perhaps juvenile, look. I broke the black with an Olive Green suede shoulder bag with brass hardware, Camel coloured leather slides, and a handful of gold jewellery. Roll up the ankle of your skinny jeans to show off a little ankle, throw on a pair of Ray-Bans, and your Springtime Brunch look is ready to go.
You can shop this look head to toe at Poetry stores nationwide.
Photography x Anthony Bila
Photography x Anthony Bila
Presently, ideas about ‘uniform dressing’ typically apply to jeans, T-shirts, and white sneakers. But as was examplary on the 2016 high fashion Fall runways in both London and Paris, designers are riffing on a more literal kind of uniform for the season: the military uniform.
Military wear has been influencing western fashion since the ’60s, when John Lennon wore a M-65 and Yves Saint Laurent introduced his iconic Saharienne jacket. What’s different about this season’s take on the trend is the clean, sharp, modern take on the iconic trend, offered to us by Witchery.
Shapes are crisp, buttons dark and solid, with elegant tailoring for a feminine finish, while ccessories are minimal with utilitarian inspired accents. ‘New order’ as the style story is called, is perfect for autumn’s military mood with a more modern and prettier spin. Heavy coats styled over blouses, and belted waists alert to a major shift towards mixing feminine pieces with stronger more masculine over pinning’s.
These hardened shapes laden with history are softened with warm fabrics and textiles for a balanced and up to date feel. Contrasting the utilitarian style with a wide range of knitwear options, Witchery makes F/W dressing a layered affair. The range-wide colour story is built around asphalt grey, parchment white, light grey marl and black, creating a harmonious and cocooning palette for the height of winter, and diversifying the classic inclusion of the khaki family. Looks in the same head to toe colour palette create a singular focus, which softens the shapes while remaining edgy and current.
Ideas of strength are reinterpreted in the eveningwear looks in new and contradictory ways. We see sequin skirts worn with lofty mohair knits for day, along with flocked ruffle sleeve tops with sleek trousers and sumptuous maxi dresses in lux-bonded fabrications with statement wrap jackets. Outfitting is modern and market leading focused on the early adopter customer who loves the element of the new and fresh. Colour is sleek and wearable in midnight navy, silver and black, which enable fabric and cut to be the focus through innovative and special fabrications.
Overall, the collection is a well made set of elegant utilitarian pieces that leave room for a little personal flair alongside on trend textile clashing. The garments are modern and sleek without being cold, providing the perfect base from which to build an edgy yet feminine F/W wardrobe that will age through coming seasons, gracefully.
Poetry Presentation at Salt River Studios Cape Town
Shirt x Zara, Glasses x Celine, Trousers x Jenni Button, Shoes x Zara, Clutch x Ted Baker
Ph x Anthony Bila
Poetry’s new AW17 takes its inspiration from the woman who sees the world as her stage. In line with winter’s inward focus, the fashion and homeware were inspired by more intimate explorations.
The fashion. Floral prints and luxurious knitwear dominate and the winter range was designed with a strong, yet feminine, woman in mind; someone who seeks out the unique and who is drawn to what she finds beautiful." Imagine discovering a lush secret garden, wonderfully highlighted by the moon on an evening stroll. This is the experience that encapsulates the mood of the winter collections," says Poetry’s clothing buyer. Deep shades such as midnight blue and forest green are enlivened with soft, dusty pink and olive, along with neutral milk, oatmeal and camel. Vibrant jewel tones like teal, plum and chartreuse add flashes of brightness to the range’s darker tones.
Details such as pleats, bows, embroidery and quilting have been made new to reinforce the classic femininity of dresses, textured knits and floral prints. Poetry’s popular quilted jackets are back for another season. The colours and styling are new, but the popular silhouettes remain unchanged. The focus throughout is on comfort and warmth. Shirt and wrap dresses, tunics, bomber jackets, knitted coats, slim fit trousers and knitwear in a range of styles make it easy to achieve a fashionable, yet clean, layered look. Even outer layers are soft and tactile, thanks to nappa leather, vegan suede and cashmere jackets, coats and form-fitting jerseys.
The entire range is made to be mixed and matched, a collection of year-round favourites, including staples from Poetry’s latest denim offering. Denim is available in an array of colours from pink and burgundy to black, as well as a choice between embroidered styles and the timeless, sleek stretch denim. Girlfriend jeans have been introduced to the range; a more feminine, alternative to the trendy boyfriend jeans.
Footwear and accessories. Boots, boots and more boots await with a choice of knee-high, riding boots, calf-length boots, ankle boots as well as the new longer ankle boot. They span the spectrum from suede veldskoen ankle boots made for weekend journeys to leather boots with buckles for city escapes. The brand new Voyage collection of bags allows Poetry to provide for travellers too, with leather weekend bags, travel wallets, backpacks and small crossbody bags that will last a lifetime.
Beautiful poncho wraps, luxurious silk scarves, 100% wool felt hats, beanies, leather belts and warm gloves complete winter’s accessories list all in a range of colours that will combine perfectly with the season’s fashions. Flower statement necklaces in soft colours, as well as touches of the trending berry and forest green hues add impact to the Poetry jewellery range. Delicate silver pieces with moonstones and beautiful flower designs give the Poetry look a feminine finish.
Homeware. For this season’s homeware, Poetry has looked further afield and the selection echoes the style and lifestyle of a traveler, who curiously collects keepsakes from around the world. Think handmade candles from the Overberg alongside hand crafted throws from India. In addition, there is handmade Portuguese pottery, frames inlaid with mother of pearl and bone, and a range of black crockery, also from Portugal. The colourful candles are made in Bredasdorp by Kapula, a company that was founded to provide employment for the town’s women.
The colours and prints dark hues, bold florals and softer pastels echo those of the clothing and accessories, and contrasting textures, such as brass, marble and wood, add depth and warmth to the homeware range.
H&M Conscious Presentation at Gallery MoMo Cape Town
Glasses x Celine, Trousers x Jenni Button, Shoes x Zara, Clutch x Vintage, Shirt x Zara
Ph x Anthony Bila
By now you must have noticed that ruffles are back in trend and that this season is all about making a statement via ruffled tops, skirts, shirts or trousers. WHY I LOVE IT - Whether they're framing the face or spiraling off the hips, architectural ruffles build the foundation of a dramatic evening look. These stiff, austere waves are more modern than the floppier furls of past seasons, making this feminine detail feel new again.
Ruffles - ranging from delicate frills to oversized, dramatic decorations on the apparel- are the winners this season. But, if you think you are someone who can't carry off the ruffled look, then let us tell you that the trick to pulling off that flounce is to make sure the ruffle is the central point of your ensemble. Also, one has to see to it that the ruffle on the outfit is structured well as opposed to a bunch of limp as it can make the outfit look unattractive.
This season, ruffles have been one common element on everything from sleeves, necklines, collars to hemlines. For those who think that ruffles can be a bit overwhelming, they can go in for outfits that have ruffles on the bottoms of skirts, trousers and even dresses for that matter.
It doesn't matter if you opt for long or short sleeves, ruffles are the perfect statement added to your outfit. A ruffle detail has the ability to drastically change the way an ensemble looks and can turn the piece into something special for you. One can also experiment exaggerated, layered sleeves for a more dynamic look.
Since ruffles are everywhere to be seen, shirts cannot be spared from the trend. Ruffled shirts are the in thing and can be donned even at office. A white ruffled shirt is something that can make one look elegant yet classy. But too much dramatisation on the shirt must be avoided if you are opting to wear the apparel in office. Ruffles surrounding the neckline or collar is the perfect way to draw attention to. A ruffled shirt can give you the smart casual look as well.
The trick to making your waist look smaller is to have ruffles at the bottom of your trousers. By way of drawing the eyes to the ankle or the bottom of the trousers, one can easily make the waist look smaller and go for the trendy, casual look without putting in much effort.
Ruffles right across on a one-shoulder dress or on the bust on an off-shoulder dress can work wonders. For a minimalistic yet chic look one can opt for ruffles on the bottom of the dress too. And for those who like going a little over the top, you can experiment with layering ruffles.
To add curves ruffles should be worn on top so that the frills can give the illusion of a bigger bust. In fact, one can have frills down the centre of a dress or around a v-neck which will draw the eye vertically for a slimming effect.
You could look frilly and yet not fluffy by opting for a ruffled blouse according to your body type. Ruffles can be easily transitioned from day to night. A ruffled top could well be worn with shorts for the day and paired with a jeans for a dinner date. In fact, even back ruffle tops can be a great option.