The concept of fashion has endless connotations to it. It is personalized according to what is deemed as fashionable in a certain location or occasion. In our beloved country it is alternatively known as ‘istyla’, umswenko by the younger crowd, kotini by the affluent, or simply looking ‘dapper’ for more elegance. On a general note, fashion relates to any popular practise or trends in clothing, footwear, accessories, makeup, and fragrances, straight down to even body types as well as interior design. It is the constant and distinct way in which a person or group represents themselves in their style of life, which can be recognized and followed by many who agree on taste. However, for designers, it is simply the newest creations within the textile industry.
The history of how fashion started dates so far back that it actually has no specific time in which it started. However, the development of fashion is what keeps us intrigued, as it keeps developing to this very day. The beginning of Couture was pioneered by Rose Bertin, who was a famous dressmaker for the flamboyant Queen of France, Marie Antoinette in the mid 1700s. Known as “The Minister of Fashion,” she had considerable influence in what we know as the ‘Parisian style’, in modern day language, a trendsetter.
The modern day fashion houses which are run by individual designers can be traced back to the early 1800s right through to the 1900s due to the influence of Charles Frederick Worth. He was the primary designer to Empress Eugénie, and used his royal connections to gain clients and influence the high profile Frenchmen, in which he was the first designer to sow his label onto his creations. Around the beginning of the 20th century, fashion magazines began to include photographs, making them more influential. Talented and creative illustrators covered the development of fashion and beauty, which had a great effect on the public’s perception on what having taste means. One of the oldest fashion magazine to do so is Harper’s Bazaar, under the La Gazette du Bon Ton, founded in 1867 by Lucien Vogel. It became quite popular in the early 19th century , which set the trend with regards to influence in modern day society fashion magazines along with its rivals such as Elle magazine, Vogue, Cosmopolitan etc.
Although the logical assumption should be that this industry should be a female dominated industry, it is quite the opposite. The Male domination stretches even further to fashion and even feminine hygiene products. Although two thirds of the majority to which clothing and cosmetic sales are accounted to women, men hold the highest positions in that regard on the business as well as the creative side. Even the largest fashion house in the world LVMH, which hosts Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Givenchy, Donna Karan, Celine and Kenzo to name a few, only Donna Karan and Loewe have females CEOs. Even its chief rival, Kering (hosting YSL, Balenciaga and Chris Kane along with several more) has two thirds majority of men in its Chief Executive positions of its 9 fashion houses. Women like Maureen Chiquet (CEO of Chanel) and Vera Wang (need I explain?) with a net worth of $460M according to Forbes 2019, are clear examples of what happens when women design for women, pioneering a revolution.
In South Africa, we have fashion moguls such as David Tlale, Gert Johann Coetzee and Kgosi Nkosi. They set an international standard to what is indigenous to us. All of them stress that fashion is more about feeling than the fabric on your skin, meaning that your persona radiates how a certain style sits on you. We encourage you not to follow but rather to set trends in accordance with your own views. And even if you do follow trends, follow something which suits your body type and who you are as a unique individual. We will be bringing you not only the latest and the boldest fashion concepts, but the brands and products that you can trust will be for you as an individual. Trends are seasonal, but style is forever, as it is a reflection of your natural light.