I Am Because We Are

by United Blogs of Benetton on: June 17th, 2010

The World Cup has meant a massive spotlight and emphasis has been placed on South Africa but not necessarily on the sartorial treats that the country has to offer. I recently discovered the Smarteez DIY fashion crew from Soweto who go around expressing themselves through their outfits that quite often try and mix African textiles with contemporary dress. I’m wondering what this new generation of post-apartheid stylites are doing right now as World Cup mania has descended onto their country. I’m hoping they’re wearing suitably themed outfits fashioned out of flag colour fabrics…

Then we have this new collection from knitwear design collective The Inoue Brothers. Born in Copenhagen, Denmark, Japanese brothers Satoru and Kiyoshi Inoue have travelled the world and previously having worked with Andrean knits of Bolivia, they have now turned their attention to the township of Khayelitsha in South Africa. Working with beading ladies they have transferred this craft to organic hemp material t-shirts, making pieces that are 100% made in and around Capetown.

The Inoue Brothers have collaborated with South African music collective Gazelle on the art direction and photography of these look book images that really convey the fun sense of the collection as well as the more serious and earnest intentions of the collection…

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 England vs. USA?

by United Blogs of Benetton on: June 14th, 2010

I’m watching this as we type and as it stands the score of the first group match between England and USA stands at 1:1. I have zero interest in the final result of the match or whether England progresses beyond the group stages. I’m not even that aware of the supposed anti-Brit feeling that some people are feeling in lieu of the BP oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

In the spirit of all things shallow, I’m more interested in playing off fashion graduates in these games of patriotism. Graduate Fashion Week has just finished up in London. It’s an event where schools across the country come together to show their latest crop of fashion design students in a week of shows, exhibitions and portfolio displays.

The aforementioned battle was played out between Sara Wadsworth of Central Lancashire University and Lucinda Ailes of UCA Epsom. Wadsworth turned to iconic places of London like Big Ben and the Millennium Eye as well as the Union Jack for inspiration for her prints. No sign of red, blue and white though as the colours were kept quite neutral which makes things a whole lot subtler.

Ailes created a collection where those familiar stars and stripes were also subtly worked into outfits with chunky knitwear in subdued greys, ending though with a statement coat that is the flag all over.

Unlike a football match though, there is no clear winner. Aesthetics are of course highly subjective and instead, I’m happy just to observe these thematic allegiances that some of the students have chosen to take.

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