I recently had the pleasure of catching a few shows at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Cape Town with friend and blogger The Cool Kid aka Musa Nyangiwe. With multiple shows spaced out over a 3 day period, the event hosted in a marquee outside the V&A Water Shed was a spectacular show of beauty from all the designers present who gave us a look at their Spring/Summer 2016 collections

As a self-proclaimed ‘graphic design person’ it would be easy to get lost in admiration of all the beauty surrounding me, from Mercedes-Benz showing off all their latest and greatest vehicles, to rubbing shoulders with the upper-echelon of South Africa’s fashion design world, but despite this I managed to make it to a few shows. 

Whats your role in the fashion world?” is a question I found myself being asked numerous times throughout the event, despite the recommendation of several friends I do not model and although I have immense respect and admiration for fashion designers I do not aspire to become one in the near future. This question lead to a mini ‘existential crisis’ and a lot of introspection which eventually lead me to this post. I feel as a "graphic design person" at events such as these I’m uniquely positioned to pick out certain motifs and trends within the garments and see how they translate to various digital media. Immediately I began to plan out a colossal post in great detail in my head before realizing that there was no way I’d get it done in time, so for the sake of completing this relatively soon I decided to choose only one show to highlight.  

After seeing an amazing collection at the AFI Fast track show in Jo’burg by Armand Dicker I was really looking forward to seeing what the Next Generation of South African designers are working on.

So read on below for pretty pictures of the AFI Next Generation show at Cape Town Fashion Week 2015, followed by my deconstruction of what I saw. 

The first of the two designers in this show was Tuelo Nguyuza presenting “Collectiv”.

Clearly Inspired by spring ‘Collectiv’ reminds my frozen Cape Town body that winter will eventually give way to warmer days. This is achieved by a palette consisting of bright fuchsia and turquoise coupled refreshingly with white:



Looking back retrospectively I find it very easy to point out my favorite piece from ‘Collectiv’, pictured right is the garment that stole my heart this show. Ever since I first started seriously dabbling around in my art studies, the nature of flowing fabrics has intrigued me. Possibly because of my temperament or the intrinsic nature of the task I found it easy contour and draw hard sharp edges but immensely difficult to even begin to depict fabrics. In continuing the my studies I developed little tricks and knacks to keep my art teacher happy, but If I'm honest with myself I never really learnt to draw smooth flowing fabrics. Thus after I'd finished the illustration to right I decided that I'd complete another inspired by trends present in the whole show, and particularly the fabric of this garment. 

To further drive home the beauty of spring Tuelo uses floral motifs throughout his works, a tradition that has roots in Ancient Egypt, to create a pleasing and balanced composition. 

I've recently fallen in love with 3D rendering, despite the fact that my Macbook heats up to worrying levels and the fans sound like a small aircraft whilst I render it has its beauties. Such as the fact that I can finally create lovely flowing fabrics! By using motifs repeated thought the show and loosely adhering to the color scheme I abstracted the concept of models and clothing till I was left wth nothing but a perfect sphere and a strip of cloth, or something along those lines...

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With ‘Collectiv’ all wrapped up, the lights dimmed and the smoke machines billowing clouds TSOTETSI KL’s eclectic show was up next. 

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TSOTETSI KL used two color palettes, a very broad and energetic one, and another consisting of earthy marsala hues. When Pantone announced that the color of the year would be marsala I was extremely conflicted, on the one hand I personally love wearing earthy hues but on the other I loath having to do any graphic work with them as something just seems to get "lost in translation". I mean even the colour palate above doesn't display the exact nuances making it all but impossible for me to illustrate a few items from this collection. There is one specific piece of his I'd like to show you though. 


 Where his AFI: Next generation partner Tuelo stuck with floral prints to liven up his work Tsotetsi brought out an old time classic Ben-Day Dots aka Polka Dots to liven things up. Side Note: Those of you that know me, know that I’m completely obsessed with Roy Lichtenstein and all things related, and that includes dots. So the moment I'd completed the illustration to the left I opened my 3D render and started working. Most of us will be familiar with pixels, tiny dots that comprise all the digital images we se. Fundamentally pixels are 2 Dimensional, but what happens if they existed in 3 Dimensions? Enter the Voxel!  Much like one could make a larger 'pixel' from many individual pixels, I experimented with making a larger cube voxel from many individuals, and what I arrived at was my first perfectly looping gif (well almost perfectly)

Although I'd love to illustrate every dress I saw at the AFI Next Generation and subsequent shows, I have a habit of making grand plans and not following through. So even though I'm fully in my artistic zoneI think it's best to end the post here.

Yours in Art