Careers in Fashion: Trends Analyst

posted on November 20th, 2015 by LISOF

Trend Analysis is a vital component for the workplace today. Knowing and being able to observe, understand and translate what your customers’ needs and wants, means that you can cater to them. Your customers world changes daily and being able to translate their need and wants into tangible solutions can give your brand/label the edge. Trends are about observing and understanding these changing consumer worlds and being able to create solutions from that. Trends is about understanding how one thing influences the next and about making sense of the chaos that is our world. – Elizebeth Croeser, Lecturer at LISOF

When you study a BA Degree or Diploma in fashion, you will study how to research trends, how to use them in design, commercial and fashion media and be able to present trends boards to clients in the fashion industry. This module opens doors into an array of careers such as:

Trend Analyst and Forecaster, Fashion Buying, Fashion Designer, Social Media Marketing, Fashion Writing, Fashion Marketing, Advertising, Styling, etc.

Herewith a Trends project created by LISOF students:

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First Year Photography Showcase

posted on November 2nd, 2015 by LISOF

i-D magazine was one of the first arenas where the barriers between art and fashion photography were tackled. It is a British magazine that was created by Terry Jones, in punk-era London in 1980. His mission was to explore London’s exciting street culture, which was being largely ignored by mainstream fashion.

i-D documented contemporary street style, youth, culture, and focused on encouraging creativity. It soon became essential reading for the fashion-aware. i-D is now a glossy magazine also incorporating contemporary media. It has had an incredible impact at the cutting edge of high fashion, art and street culture shaping the way a generation looked at itself.

Many of the big names in photography today started out working for i-D, like Nick Knight, Juergen Teller, Craig McDean and Wolfgang Tillmans. The cover always features a winking model, or one eye hidden. This is a representation of the magazine’s logo. More than 300 of the world’s fashion elite have given the cheeky i-D wink, from the likes of Madonna, Tom Ford, Björk, Tilda Swinton, Drew Barrymore, to Kate Moss, Lily Cole and Scarlett Johansson.

A cover shot sells a magazine and as such all the elements contained in that image need to communicate a clear and cohesive look and feel that is both current and engaging – something that the consumer will instantly respond to.
Finding inspiration and developing a creative concept for a cover shot requires understanding of the brand as well as an awareness of current fashion, styling and youth culture trends.

The First Years studying their BA in Fashion, were given this information above to recreate their own i-D cover for the Photography Module. They had to comprehensive research about the i-D brand to produce a successful cover that would most likely sell. They had to source a model that would suit their look and feel. They also needed to style the shoot cohesively as so fit in with the image of i-D. Herewith are some of the most successful covers created:

Alexa Bennun

Alexa Bennun

Alexia Roussas

Alexia Roussas

Danita Pilley

Danita Pilley

Kirsten Reis

Kirsten Reis

Mikhile du Plessis

Mikhile du Plessis

Tanya Bezuidenhout

Tanya Bezuidenhout

Caela van Rensburg

Carla van Rensburg

Raquel Macedo

Raquel Macedo

Chelsi Scoltz

Chelsi Scoltz

Chesney Bruce

Chesney Bruce

Dharmisha Makan

Dharmisha Makan

Melissa Nel ID

Melissa Nel

Lesedi Leketi

Lesedi Leketi


posted on July 10th, 2015 by LISOF

I graduated from Lisof in 2003, yes it is a long time ago already and the industry is ever evolving. At the time there was no BA Fashion Degree or Honours option. I have worked in the industry on various levels and I believe having an Honours would give a candidate an edge when going into the job market place, but why? What can an Honours in Fashion do for you…and me? I spoke to some industry leaders, lecturers and students to find out more.

Lissa: What does an Honours in Fashion offer me and others interested in furthering their fashion education?

Erica: An Honours in Fashion offers you a supportive environment to further explore the concepts and critical theoretical frameworks that underpin notions of fashion, the dressed body, and the complex identity constructs in a changing postmodern society.

Lissa: How does having an Honours affect me in the working world?

Erica: A number of LISOF Honours graduates have been accepted into Masters programmes (locally and internationally) across a wide range of disciplines that includes sociology, cultural studies, anthropology, art history, gender studies and cultural history, which points to the value of the programme in building capacity within this emerging field of study, to articulate both authentic research, and opinion, on the dressed, fashioned body. The ability to discuss (any aspect of) fashion with greater academic merit would benefit all career directions (whether commercial or creative). An understanding of the complexity of the phenomenon of fashion, its semiotics and applications (in design, in society, and in personal identity constructs) prepares the learner for the complexity of a multi-cultural and interdisciplinary world of fashion.

Lissa: What do think the greatest impact of this is on the industry?

Erica: The opinions, arguments, essays, posters, or project proposals (research outcomes of an Honours in Fashion) contribute to a wider academic field, such as conferences and journals; as well as adding to public spaces, like museums, magazines and exhibitions, so that the knowledge produced in the programme resonates beyond the institution, as valid contributions to broader transformations of the South African economic and cultural field.

Erica De Greef

Who is Erica? Erica de Greef, PhD Scholar in African Studies, and Research Fellow with the Archive and Public Culture Research Initiative at The University of Cape Town, is currently working on a body of research that focuses on the possibilities for transformation in the postcolonial museum via the curatorial potential of thinking through fashion. Erica holds a Masters in Fine Arts (Wits University, 2011), and a Postgraduate Diploma in Higher Education (2013). Having developed the critical field of fashion studies in South Africa, predominantly in the context of fashion education, Erica has promoted the understanding and use of fashion with a strong local content, whilst engaging with notions around fashion, history, society and identity.If you’re looking to study further, or gain a deeper understanding of the exciting fashion realm, then come and join one of our research evenings to see what the Lisof Honours Programme is all about.

Lissa: Who studies an Honours in Fashion and why?

Wendy: We have such a multi-talented, eclectic group of students who come to us from all sectors of the South African fashion industry – we have students joining us from other universities for the fashion-specialisation that we do so well; we have planners, buyers & merchandisers coming back to study from industry because they want to improve their academic standing; and, of course, we have our own past students continuing their degree studies into their chosen specialisation. This makes for a diverse and engaging classroom environment – and you can only begin to imagine the network connections and friendships that are built in this space. Our lecturers are experts in their fields and they really help to fuel the debate and research capacity of the Honours student group. They’re certainly a vibrant and ambitious group this year, and I’m looking forward to seeing their research outputs at the end of the year.

 Who is Wendy? WENDY SCHULTZ, Head of Department: Honours Commercial Courses at Lisof


Lissa: What has studying and Honours in Fashion impacted you?

Danielle: Fashion has a very academic side, one that is not often explored or discussed by the glamazons who attend fashion week. The Honours program has deepened my knowledge not only of fashion but also society. Fashion is a great medium to study cultures, psychology and politics. I am discovering that fashion does not exist in a vacuum but is rather a culmination of the world around us. This program not only extends to academia but also design philosophies, giving my own work gravitas, going beyond aesthetics. People are often surprised when I explain that I am doing my Honours in fashion, “You can do that?” is the normal response. I explain that fashion is not about fabulous fashion shows and retail stores, but rather it is about people. When you study fashion you study people and all the crazy complexities of the mind that we as the human race express through our appearance.

Who is Danielle? Danielle Kushlick is a 4th year Honours student, currently working on her Dissertation on Body Modification. She is a Sales Rep at LISOF and continues to work on small design projects in her spare time.

Dani pic copy

Lissa: What do you value most from doing an Honours in Fashion at Lisof?

Lusanda: The Honours programme has provided an additional perspective into the psychological and socio-cultural elements that exist outside of the fashion system, while playing a hand in influencing fashion. I value being able to elaborate on the theories we learned at LISOF at an undergrad level, then applying them to practical and real-life phenomena. We also explored business and marketing concepts that are familiar to a commercial major student, yet are more sophisticated and require more individual application of ideas.

Lissa: Would you recommend this programme?

Lusanda: I would highly recommend the programme for students who are competent in undergrad theory and enjoy a practical and less authoritative and formal lecture format. However, it must be acknowledged that the course is very time consuming, given the substantially higher level of learning and the required independent research, so a steady commitment to the programme is necessary to truly appreciate the knowledge you will gain.

Who is Lusanda? Lusanda Ntintili is a 4th year Honours student, administrative assitant at Lisof and passionate about menswear.

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To learn more information and enquire about the Lisof Honours course click HERE.

Who am I? A question I often ask myself! Lissa Leandro Correa Mendes is my full name and I graduated from LISOF 2003. My namesake ladies wear label “Lissa Leandro” was born from humble beginnings and grew to appear in over 100 SA media publications, graced SA TV screens on lifestyle shows and soapies and walked on several SA Fashion Week runways. I am currently a Social Media Strategist at Lisof and full time mom to two fashionista girls!



Explore Career Opportunities

posted on September 19th, 2014 by LISOF


As you finish up with your studies in fashion design, you begin the next journey of looking for employment. Not only is this daunting, it is also a necessary and imperative step.Employment will ensure a regular income while also guaranteeing that you are able to utilise your skills and fulfil your passion.

It is the dream of every fashion graduate to see their work in magazines, on runways and worn by celebrities. Some graduates may dream of working side-by-side with a renowned designer while others dream of an upbeat and trendy storefront display. Whatever your dream might be, it is important to realise that every dream is the culmination of hard work and experience. Get off to the right start by exploring possible career options that will catapult you forward.

With a myriad of career options available for fashion graduates, it pays to know in which direction you will be heading. If your beat is to design men’s wear or wedding couture, ensure that you look for jobs, internships or apprenticeships in your specialisation. Avoid jobs that are not in your field as this will hamper your progress. As a graduate that is looking for a job, you also need to be prepared for long hours, hard work and a salary that might not be able to buy that Louis Vuitton purse. However, patience, commitment and ambition will ensure that you are boosted to the top as quickly as you deserve. Never forget that your fashion design course equipped you with more than just pattern making and sewing skills – as a graduate with a Bachelors of Arts in Fashion, you would have also learnt the following:


  • How to meet and adhere to tight deadlines,
  • How to think creatively and individually,
  • How to work collaboratively and on your own,
  • You would have developed good presentational and interpersonal skills,  and
  • You would have fine-tuned analytical skills.

These skills are extremely important when looking for a job. Not only do they improve your CV, they also give potential employers the idea that you are capable of a diverse and varied skillset. During your fashion design course, you would have covered the history of fashion, merchandising, brand management and marketing. Although these skills equip graduates for a career in fashion design, they also give them the skills to pursue other career paths. These include:


  • Graphic Artists,
  • Textile Designers,
  • Clothing Advisors,
  • Fashion Entrepreneurs, or
  • Exhibition Designers.

For graduates who are looking for something different, a career in theatre, film or television costume design is also an option. However, it is important to remember that a certain amount of experience is expected from those who pursue these paths. When searching for employment, you will see that many institutions are looking for three to five years’ experience within a specific field. Do not let this discourage you – industries across the board expect this from potential employees.

It is always a good idea to start looking for a job two to three months before you graduate to ensure that you can start the New Year on a new page. Keep your eyes and ears open for any opportunities that will improve or help you build onto your skills. Apply for as many positions as you can and show up for the interviews with your portfolio – the chances are that your passion and skill will be noticed and you will have a job before you even finish your academic career!

For any questions, queries or advice, contact LISOF on 086 11 54763.

Academic Papers

posted on September 26th, 2013 by LISOF

With a key focus on engaging critical and original thinking and writing, research plays a vital role in the broader fashion discourse, contributing to advanced scholarship, academic & professional development and entrepreneurial achievements.

The work published here includes research completed by our undergraduates (Bachelor of Arts in Fashion), postgraduates (Bachelor of Arts Honours in Fashion), lecturers and institutional managers.




Research Essay



Published Essay



Conference Paper


posted on May 7th, 2013 by LISOF

Next in Nature

By Wilmarie Van Der Merwe

The first thing that comes to mind when this name of this trend is mentioned is the obvious image, and notion, of nature. However, the observable question aligned parallel to the name of this trend it asks, “What exactly is it about nature that is a trend in fashion?”

Next Nature is a macro trend forecasted for S/S 2013/2014 and is explained by WGSN (2013) as “Neo, Next, New. We are rethinking our craving for the new. A newness that can be built upon ‘solid layers’ of past experience or that can fast-forward to a world of design that does not yet exist. We are seeing an adventurous set of systems and aesthetics that will make the geological, the botanical and the digital look alluringly fresh and thought-provoking” (, 2013)

“Next Nature takes a provocative look at nature as it sprouts and creeps further into our sensual, spiritual, synthetic and digital worlds, uprooting conventional ideas on ecology and sustainability” (, 2013).

In essence Next Nature is, arguably, both a form of resistance and collaboration of both the current global economic crisis and its stages of recovery, as well as climate change and the phenomenon of global warming and the effects thereof. Fashion can be seen as a reflection of the influences on society and so it deems only fitting for such a large global impact (both economically and ecologically) to have an impact in the fashion environment.

WGSN (2013) explains that “real nature is not green” and that “with our attempts to cultivate nature, human kind causes the rising of a next nature, which is wild and unpredictable as ever. Wild systems, genetic surprises, autonomous machinery and splendidly beautiful black flowers.”

According to the WGSN (2013) S/S 2014 graphic and print forecast, titled ‘Botanical Jungle’, this trend is “a lush jungle theme of illustrated plants and structured organics, with soft water based pigments for vintage appeal and heavy embroidery worked into solid areas of colour to add texture”.

The first glimpse of this trend was spotted on the runway; back in 2010 Alexander McQueen’s Spring/Summer 2010 Collection titled Plato’s Atlantis (Mowar, 2013). The always definitive, fashion forward designer stated in a detailed press release that his collection was “casting an apocalyptic forecast of the future ecological meltdown of the world: Humankind is made up of creatures that evolved from the sea, and we may be heading back to an underwater future as the ice cap dissolves” (Mowar, 2013).

The emerging trend soon picked up and adopted by numerous designers, most notably that of Corrie Nielson in her S/S 2013 collection, where “instead of patterns and prints, Nielsen excelled herself by creating each outfit into the structure of a flower, as if each model wore a living organism” (Joseph, 2013).

The Next Nature trend has grown profoundly in various other international designer collections and finally made its arrival and emergence on the South African runways at SAFW (Rosebank Hotel) S/S 2013. The trend was prevalent in full force in some collections and more subtly so in others, either way, Next Nature has arrived in South Africa and welcomed with open arms by various designers.

In an informal interview with designer Samantha Constable whose SAFW S/S 2013 collection was part of the Lufthansa Best Collections, said to expect a lot of white from her collection, and that the colour reflected her inspiration which was based on global warming. The heating of the earth’s temperature and the melting of the ice caps as a result is definitely mirrored in the fit and flow of the garments, starting with edgy, structured more textured pieces and progressing into longer, sheer, chiffon pieces with a feminine flow.

Gert-Johan Coetzee’s S/S 2013 SAFW collection pays homage to the stand against violence and abuse against women and children. His inspiration comes from the ‘Sea Urchin, a delicate sea creature who would be defenceless against predators if it weren’t for its sharp spines to protect It’ (Kougianos, 2013). The Next Nature trend is not seen in the actual designs of the garments, but the exception of the sequinned pieces, the garments present the theme of sea creatures in a fashion environment, and adding to that ‘under water’ feel created and emphasised by the 3-D sharp spine like creations on the dresses.

Mej. Lues’ S/S 2013 collection titled ‘Floral Anatomy’ encapsulates the mesmeric Next Nature trend in everything from design to colour to fabric. Fitting, seeing as she explained that she was “very inspired by the Next Nature Trend” (SAFW, Crowne Plaza) but that her specific idea for the collection came from “her mothers’ watercolour illustrations of plants and flowers” (Rosebank, Crown Plaza). From there the idea evolved into a combination of botanical sketches, x-ray photographs of flowers and Xena Holloway’s underwater photography. “That I why I chose such a bright colour palette, because the colours seemed to be amplified underwater” (SAFW, Crown Plaza).

The fabrics were all well chosen for their texture and consistency, either very smooth or see through; chiffons, silk organza, cotton voile, scuba and georgette were all showcased throughout the collection. The dye technique she used for her fabric is a technique known as Sun-dye, and she did it herself to ensure that fabric would be one hundred percent unique and fit effortlessly in with the theme of ‘Floral Anatomy’ (SAW, Crowne Plaza)

The asymmetrical designs with the one shoulder folding and drapery add to the ‘under the sea’ feel with the image of a sea horse created in mind whilst observing. The neck jewellery displayed on the models is also very definitive of the next nature trend ; made from deconstructed cording and made to resemble vines and stems of flowers (SAFW, Crown Plaza)

The Next Nature Trend is seen in elements of certain other collections presented at SAFW this year. Cutterier by Laz Yani also featured in the Lufthansa Best Collections featured models walking down the runway wearing bird’s nests as hats, adding to the already bird like posture of the models walking down the runway with their hands on their hips, resembling a bird’s wings.

Vesselina Pentcheva’s S/S 2013 Collection also featured strong elements of the Next Nature trend. She was inspired by “the magical, moonlit forest of a Midsummer Night’s dream, where human and magical worlds collide…this collection is pure vibrancy and mystical fantasy” (, 2013). The butterfly motifs on a silk chiffon dress are reminiscent of the next nature trend in the way that nature elements can be used for other structures in a fashion context. The last gown to make its way down the runway was reminiscent of a forest fairy with a netted veil with moss green leaves sewn into it, as well as on the shoulders and on the dress from the waist down, mirroring an almost chlorophyll inspiration design.

Designer Suzaan Heyns also showcased elements of the Next Nature trend in her S/S 2013 collection if the form of organic structured shoulder pads and arm jewellery, mirroring the Next Nature trend’s themes in seeming ethereal in deriving from depth, architecture and structures inspired by natural sources.

I think it’s very important that this trend hit the South African shores because this isn’t a trend influenced by a particular era or a particular group that enables waves of nostalgia for some or that has been re-interpreted for those that aren’t. It’s not a trend exclusive to a certain country or culture either, it is a reflection of the current global situation that every person in the world feels the effect of in every country regardless of race, religion, culture or time period, and in adopting it creating awareness on either a conscious or a subconscious level. And by the South African fashion industry starting to embrace this trend shows that we acknowledge what is happening and even if we can’t change it, we can definitely do our bit in creating awareness through unusual, interesting and innovative designs that captures people attention and in essence gets people talking.

Reference List:

SAFW Trend Report S/S13 – Nature’s Kaleidoscope

posted on April 30th, 2013 by LISOF

Nature’s Kaleidoscope

By Abulele Madasa

Trend Analysis Lecturer – Nicola Cooper

Subtle, sensual, printed and natural, spring/summer 2013 embraces Nature’s Kaleidoscope through the exploration of earth, air, water and fire. This trend features nature as an expression of individuality and identity. Fantasy and reality are merged into a romantic ideal, escaping from social upheaval, violence and rage and into Mother Nature’s warm embrace.

Designer’s explore influences from past experiences, sexuality and identity to create an interactive experience with their audiences. Nature’s Kaleidoscope features intricate, subtle details and embroidery, soft A-line and draped hemlines, lightweight fabric layering, innovative dye and print application, contrasting proportions and textural exploration. This expressive trend softens bold vivid colours, extracting calmer, cooler and warm tones from pearl lilacs, emerald greens, and soft gold and ghost-like white. Nature’s Kaleidoscope is more simplistic and expressed through fabric, colour and print for spring/summer 2013.

Reference List

WGSN (2013), Macro Trends AW14/15 Modern Myth [www]. Available: http// [Accessed: 1/03/2013]

SAFW/LISOF Trend Program: S/S13 SA Fashion Week Trend Report – GET GRAPHIC

posted on by LISOF


By Kylie de Vlieg

Trend Analysis Lecturer – Nicola Cooper

As an aspiring trend analyst, one is always on the lookout for something new, the next best up-and-coming trend. We search for a distinct look and in doing so we often overlook the broader spectrum, in 2013 the latest consumer obsession is Newism:

Due” to the democratization and globalization of innovation (not to mention the celebration of entrepreneurship), brands and individuals from all corners of the world are now working around the clock to dream up and launch endless new products and services, that are truly better and more exciting than current offerings”.( 2013)

During SAFW S/S 2013 at the Rosebank Hotel this trend of newism was very much apparent as old looks were recreated from the past into something we will soon see on the streets of South Africa. Spots, dots, sheers and geometric prints with stripes as the hero of graphics are one of S/S 2013 most notable fashion trends.

The Macro trend of graphic prints and prominent stripes seen on the runway of SAFW S/S 2013 will be apparent from the ultra sophisticated ball gowns to every day commercial clothing racks. The excellent thing about this trend is that you are most likely to already own some form of print or stripes.

“Geometric prints are really fun to play with, because you can choose to match or clash prints. The prints should be quite angular and repetitive, resembling shapes like triangles, zigzags, circles, squares, stripes or diamonds, and they work best on simple silhouettes like fitted sweaters, tunics, tapered trousers and pencil skirts.” (Oppel, 2013)

This trend is not exclusive to the over spenders or fashions elite. Anyone and everyone can manipulate it to their own desire. Colour block this season by using bold and striking geometric patterns in popular colours such as black, gold, yellow, blue and Pantones colour of the year, Emerald. If you are not so brave you can go for the subtle striped headband or a triangular inspired necklace as seen in Bianca Warren’s S/S 2013 collection at SAFW (see image 1)

Bianca Warren
Image 1
Bianca Warren
Filename: 13SAFWa_BiancaWarren_0541.jpg
Location: Crowne Plaza, Joburg, Gauteng, South Africa
Credit: Simon Deiner / SDR Photo

The graphic print trend focuses on the visual aesthetics, as it uses solid colours in contrast to each other often dramatically juxtaposed as seen in Black Coffee’s S/S Collection at SAFW 2013 (see image 2). Jacques van der Watt, ‘used the visual language of imprint’ to create Black Coffee’s S/S 2013 range. It “is created through hand-rendered patterns embellished onto delicate mesh dresses” The collections intricate detail captures the minds of it’s adorners as the ridged angular prints are reflected repeatedly onto each garment. All carrying the same “negative pattern image created in original Congolese Kuba cloths” says Van der Watt. Varying in colours and designs each garment is designed to perfection.

Black Coffee

Image 2
Black Coffee
Filename: 13SAFWa_BlackCoffee_0197.jpg
Location: Crowne Plaza, Joburg, Gauteng, South Africa
Credit: Simon Deiner / SDR Photo

The large focus of S/S 2013 SAFW was not so much the presence of the Graphic print trend but the colours, textures and finishes found expressing them. Come the boom of black and white. This was seen all over SAFW from the runway to the streets, the solid black and white stripes were in full force. One of South Africa’s most loved and well known designers Gert-Johan Coetzee reflected this contrast of black and white in his S/S 2013 collection seen on day 3 of SAFW (see image 3)

Gert-Johan Coetzee

The reinvention of the Breton stripes was also seen on SAFW runway by designer Caren Waldman of TWO. While using different fabrics and textures we saw the prominent horizontal stripes with the ever so popular slanted black and white stripes in contrast to the neutral shades seen in her collection. (See image 4)


Image 4
Filename: SDR_6742.jpg
Location: Crowne Plaza, Joburg, Gauteng, South Africa
Credit: Simon Deiner / SDR Photo

The Breton striped shirt was first worn in 1858. The navy and white shirt had 21 stripes that represented each of Napoleon’s victories. It then became the uniform for all French navy men. Named after the Breton workers who increased its popularity throughout the later half of the nineteenth century. (Bien, 2013; Wikifashion – Breton stripes)

Coco Chanel first introduced The Breton stripes to the fashion world in 1917 during a trip to the French Rivera

“She saw the workers in the marina wearing their knit navy and white striped shirts and the inspiration for a new nautical collection was born. Paired with her wide leg pants and high waisted belt, Coco Chanel was a vision of casual, seaside sportswear”. (Bien, 2013) (See image 5)



Image 5 Chanel in her Sailor’s matelot at La Pausa with her dog Gigot, 1930
Image from Coco Chanel – The legend and the life
Justine Picardie


The Breton stripe has been adapted by almost every group possible. From artists like Andy Warhol to movie stars like Audrey Hepburn in the 1950’s. In the 21st century we have seen revival of these familiar stripes but often with a trendy twist. Big chunks of black and white with sheer inserts make for a beautiful contrast. Timeless crisp, translates into everything from ball gowns to a casual striped T-shirt. ‘Whether they’re traditional navy and white or jazzed up in a bold color combination or embellished with sequins, the Breton stripes have now been a staple in closets for over 160 years.'(Bien, 2013)

The Trend of Graphic geometric prints have been seen on the runways around the world for many years, this is not a new trend. It is however being re-created especially with the newism consumer trend of 2013. Although it is not a new trend it is a classic timeless style that gets shaped and shifted. The Breton stripes as mentioned earlier have been a macro trend since the early eighteenth century. In the Late nineteenth century a music genre arose from England which combined elements of pop, ska, and reggae, this genre was called “2 Tone”,

“Representing the 2 Tone movement. The black-and-white checkerboard pattern was chosen to symbolize racial unity and equality, and has since then come to represent the second wave of ska music.”(Melanson)

The checkerboard pattern is black and white, very similar to the minimalistic take on stripes seen on the SAFW S/S 2013 runway, this graphic print is often found on clothing, footwear, wallets and purses and used by many iconic brands such as Gucci and Louis Vuitton. During the 1980’s “checks “as well as bold graphics and bright colours dominated the decade’s fashions, and have been seen on the runways for over the last three decades. This shows that the graphic prints are here to stay and will continue to reappear on the runways and clothes racks around the world, taking on new shapes, forms and silhouettes. It’s a classic style more than a trend.

Big, small, simple or psychedelic, graphic prints are a relevant trend because it’s a hard and soft mesh of textures and patterns coming together much like South Africa with its diversity of cultures and styles. The beautiful balance between rich cultural history and contemporary inspiration flows through the garments seen at SAFW S/S 2013; the black and white representing our country’s past yet the new translations of the patterns can be seen as the boundaries being pushed by the creative minds. This trend is appropriate for South Africa because we are notorious for taking something old and recreating it in a proudly South African way.

Reference List:


Trend Briefing: Clean slate brands – Heritage is the new baggage, Lust for the new (April 2013) Available:

Origin of stripes

Heather Bien, March 2012, Sweetlemon magazine – History of stripes Available:


Breton stripes Available:


Tarryn Oppel, March 2013, – Crazy for geometric prints. Available:

History of Checks

G.Melason, Edited by: Bronwyn Harris, – what is a checkerboard pattern?

Publication 2003-2013 Conjecture Corporation.


SAFW/LISOF Trend Program: S/S13 SA Fashion Week Trend Report

posted on April 25th, 2013 by LISOF

Eastern Influence

By Sasha Simon

The South African catwalk welcomed in WGSN’s Idiomatic Macro trend (WGSN Creative Team, 2011) in full force this year, as the SA Fashion Week S/S13 collections were unveiled at The Crown Plaza Hotel in Rosebank, Johannesburg. This Idiomatic trend represents a global celebration of, and appreciation for regional cultures (WGSN Creative Team, 2011). As a reaction to an overwhelming dominance of Western culture through Globalization, a need has risen to preserve, enjoy and experience the uniqueness of regional cultures, by sharing the splendor of these cultures with a global audience (WGSN Creative Team, 2011). Rather than the phenomenon of Globalization suppressing the spirit of non-Western cultures, the Idiomatic transforms Globalization into a tool through which the customs and eccentricities of the regional can be celebrated and shared globally, while inspiring the world to revel in diverse cultural beauty (WGSN Creative Team, 2011).

The South African nation is heterogeneous and diverse in nature. The multi-cultural reality in which South Africans live has ultimately led to a strong appreciation for, and propensity towards the cultural. As a result of this fascination for indigenous culture and heritage, South Africa would naturally respond to the Idiomatic Macro trend, and embrace the characteristics of the trend in manner that is both unconscious and instinctive. Idiomatic seeks to pay respect towards the traditional, while simultaneously progressing in the modern (WGSN Creative Team, 2011), and in doing so, cultural characteristics become contemporary tastes. In other words, the celebration and preservation of the Idiomatic seeks to enhance the cultural in a way that is no longer sentimental, but instead dynamic and progressive (WGSN Creative Team, 2011).

Thus, the South African adoption of the Idiomatic Macro trend will find contemporary expression through the celebration of a range of Eastern cultures, including the Orientalism of India, the aesthetic of Japanese tradition, and the symbols of the Middle East. The trend has found inspiration from regional Eastern heritage and created a wearable East-West fusion, ultimately delighting in the stylistic elements of these cultures while adapting them into an aesthetic that is suitable for the modern South African lifestyle and taste (WGSN Creative Team, 2011).

The East-West fusion catwalk trend was first proposed by WGSN in 2012 as a S/S13 capsule catwalk trend (WGSN Womenswear Team, 2012). The trend’s Eastern references paired with a Western interpretation, encompasses the celebration of the Idiomatic. While WGSN’s capsule trend has found shape purely in the Japanese aesthetic (WGSN Womenswear Team, 2012), the South African interpretation of the trend is in the majority formed by Japanese inspiration, although as already abovementioned, has extended across a broader range of Eastern cultures: the Oriental Indian aesthetic, Japanese culture, and Middle Eastern tradition. The trend explores and references Japanese floral prints and embroideries, traditional silhouette shapes such as the kimono and sari, ‘origami’ construction, Japanese inspired waist-belting, natural and layered or draped fabrics, volume, and clean lines, among other design elements common of the East (WGSN Womenswear Team, 2012).

On the SA Fashion Week S/S13 catwalk, the East-West fusion takes form in three categories or elements, namely: nostalgia, pattern, and technique, construction & silhouette. These elements mould together to shape the essence of the East-West fusion catwalk trend appropriated in South African fashion.


Suzaan Heyns was the first to introduce a Japanese nostalgia on the runway, on day 1 of SAFW with her much anticipated bridal collection featured in the TRESemmé & Motions Sheer Glamour Collections show. The image of a model gliding down the runway with an ancient Japanese inspired parasol in hand, referenced the beauty of Japanese history, while igniting an appreciation for the tiny symbols of Japanese tradition still hidden within the now booming urban culture of the Japanese empire (see image 1).

Amanda Laird Cherry followed in Suzaan Heyns’ direction with reference for ancient and authentic Japanese architecture in the design of the headwear worn by the models presenting her collection down the runway (see image 2). The collection further referenced Eastern culture through the element of construction. Dresses with an aesthetic alluring towards Japanese origami were seen; an aesthetic achieved through Amanda Laird Cherry’s craftsmanship in clean lines and folds (as seen in image 3 & 4).

Following Amanda Laird Cherry’s collection on the first night of SAFW, Black Coffee presented a breath-taking collection that fused an image of both tribal and Japanese beauty. While the collection was in essence inspired by a tribal aesthetic, Jacques Van der Watt explains that while the mud cloths of the Congolese Kuba tribe inspired his collection entitled Imprint, a merge between the African and Japanese aesthetic occurs naturally in his work, and his designs always create a fusion look between the two cultures (Interview, Crown Plaza Rosebank, 11/04/2013). This was most clearly displayed in the opening scene of the Black Coffee show, in which two men clad in black Japanese-inspired dress, slowly made their way down the runway, leaving a trail of yellow petals along their path (see image 5), and an air of Japanese naturalism filled the space of the show (see image 6).

The nostalgia of the East-West fusion trend was introduced on the second night of SAFW by designers Paul Harris and Dominique Gatland in their Lunar collection, which was inspired by the Mahatma Gandhi salt march in the 1930s (SA Fashion Week, 2013). With nostalgia for Indian history, the collection was presented to the sound of Indian instrumentals, as flowing pieces came down the runway in natural fabrics of silks, cotton and linens. In colours of whites, neutral beige tones and eggshell blue in reference of the ocean, the loose silhouettes and drapery referenced clothing pieces of Indian tradition. Sari inspired pieces, leather sandals and delicate necklaces made of white stone referencing salt, affirmed the appreciation of the historical Indian event (see image 7 & 8).

Day 2 of SAFW marked the close of the Eastern nostalgia, with designers Laz Yani for Cutterier, Anmari Honiball and the Palse Homme installation. Japanese nostalgia was concluded with Cutterier’s presentation of exquisite drapery referencing Japanese silhouettes (see image 9), and nest-like headwear with further reference to Japanese naturalism (see image 10), along with Anmari Honiball’s use of flatform shoes with an aesthetic alluring towards traditional Japanese footwear, termed Geta (, n.d.). Palse Homme presented nostalgia for the Middle East in his static menswear installation, referencing traditional Middle Eastern dress (see image 11), while adorning his models with black turbans (see image 12).


The East-West fusion trend incorporates Japanese inspired and Oriental florals as a dominating print, as well as embroidery this S/S13 season (Clarkson, 2012). The fusion ultimately creates a hybrid print design that references the naturalism and splendor of the East, while catering to Western taste (Clarkson, 2012). Eastern inspired floral prints and embroideries were seen on the SAFW catwalk in a wide range of designer collections, including Blaklisted, oriental embroideries in Terrence Bray’s Sheer Glamour collection (see image 13), Sies! Isabelle’s Japanese inspired florals (see image 14 & 15), oriental brocade prints on silks from Sober (see image 16 & 17) and brocade prints on menswear blazers in the Ephymol collection (see image 18, and dainty floral prints from Vesselina Pentcheva in her bridal wear collection (see image 19).

Technique, Construction & Silhouette

A number of collections presented over the course of SAFW found their place within the East-West fusion trend through construction and design techniques referencing the East. The reference towards Japanese origami appeared in an extensive number of collections. Such construction work is characterized my immaculate folding in craftsmanship, in conjunction with clean lines in the design of the pieces – like that already mentioned of Amanda Laird Cherry. Origami inspired pieces were seen in collections from Kottin & Twille (see image 20) and Black Coffee. Origami reference found expression in the form of statement origami necklaces in the Just collection (see image 22). Additional to the Japanese reference of origami, was a repeated reference towards the kimono dress, by designers such as Sies! Isabelle (see image 21) and Just (see image 22). In a range of collections, the use of Japanese and Indian inspired drapery, pleating common of renowned Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto, billowing sleeves, and fabric layering, all contributed towards creating the East-West aesthetic that paid homage to the Idiomatic celebration of Eastern style.

Joel Janse van Vuuren’s collection embraced an ancient Japanese dye technique termed Shibori (Janse van Vuuren, 2013). The result was a collection enhanced by beautiful fabrics, while exhibiting the magnificence of Japanese tradition (see image 23).

A fascination with the East emerged as early as the 1700s during an era termed the Exoticism period (Mackenzie, 2009). The period lasted throughout the 18th century, during which the novelty of non-Western cultures, and Eastern cultures in particular, strongly influenced textiles and fashions, among other arts (Mackenzie, 2009). A similar fascination re-emerged in the years leading up to World War I, in which Orientalism, the Middle East and Asian aesthetics played a dominant role in determining Parisian fashions (Mackenzie, 2009). An appreciation for cultural dress made its mark on fashion once again in the late 1960s, early 1970s (Mackenzie, 2009), while a Japanese take-over occurred on the Paris runways in the 80s and throughout the 1990s, as Japanese designers such as Rei Kawakubo and Issey Miyake lead design innovation, creating a Western appeal towards a Japanese inspired aesthetic (Fukai, 2005).

Re-appropriated into the S/S13 South African fashion season, the Eastern Influence trend will be most readily adopted within contemporary and commercial womenswear. While the trend may not initially be adopted by the commercial market, fashion forward consumers will act as models for t he trend off the runway, and this will thereafter trickle down into retail stores where the trend can be adopted by the commercial market in a manner that is both suitable to their taste, and to the degree at which these consumers exhibit fashion forward behavior.

Palse HommeSDR Photo. (2013) Image 12 [online image]. Available: [18/04/2013].


Black CoffeeSDR Photo. (2013) Image 5 [online image]. Available: [18/04/2013].



Cutterier by Laz YaniSDR Photo. (2013) Image 9 [online image]. Available: [18/04/2013].

Reference List

Clarkson, A. (2012) East-West Fusion: catwalk vintage print inspiration. WGSN. Website [online]. 26 October. Available: [02/04/2013].

Fukai, A. (2005). A New Design Aesthetic. Sydney: Powerhouse Publishing.

Janse van Vuuren, J. (2013). Spring/Summer 2013. Joel Janse van Vuuren. Website [online]. n.d. Available: [20/04/2013]. (n.d.) FAQ (Updated). Japanese Geta. Weblog [online]. n.d. Available: [20/04/2013].

Mackenzie, M. (2009) …Isms: understanding fashion. New York: Universe Publishing.

SA Fashion Week. (2013) Designers: Lunar. SA Fashion Week. Website [online]. n.d. Available: [11/04/2013].

WGSN Creative Team. (2011) Idiomatic. WGSN. Website [online]. 11 July. Available: [02/04/2013].

WGSN Creative Team. (2011) Spring/summer 2013 Macro Trends: index. WGSN. Website [online]. 11 July. Available: [02/04/2013].

WGSN Womenswear Team. (2012) East-West Fusion: S/S 13 catwalk capsule trend. WGSN. Website [online]. 26 October. Available: [02/04/2013].

What Wear When

posted on September 27th, 2012 by LISOF


 What Wear When

Consider how we fashion ourselves everyday in the controlled, creative or random expressions of our identities. Consider the myriad ways in which others may read our fashioned selves. Consider how these fashions may engage with power and place, or culture and class. Consider these ideas and more, and you will realise how fashion impacts every individual in society, and how powerful that is.

 LISOF’s inaugural Honours in Fashion students Maria Balthasar, Aimee Feinberg, Vicki Johnson, Louise McWade, Loren Phillips and Yvette van den Berg, are working closely with Erica de Greef (lecturer, supervisor and mentor @ LISOF) to present new fashion research at the critical, cutting edge of fashion and theory.

 What Wear When is a 1-day Fashion Symposium that will be hosted at LISOF, Rosebank on the 4th October 2012, from 8:00am to 4:30pm. A call for papers resulted in a number of submissions from researchers and professionals looking at fashion production and exchange; the body and notions of identity, gender and materiality; fashion curation and exhibition, display and dissemination; and notions of the modern, post-modern and hyper-modern in relation to fashion.

This symposium aims to address the question of academic criticality in the field of fashion and brings together fashion theorists, thinkers and researchers from various disciplines with interests in the semiotic, structural, symbolic and social analyses of fashion. “Various axes of reflection and intervention will encourage a cross-disciplinary approach in the symposium and will take into account sociological, anthropological, cultural and philosophical approaches to the study of, and understanding of the notion of fashion”, says Erica de Greef.

What is really exciting about this event, is that it brings together researchers with a passion for fashion, and further, provides both Honours and 3rd year students from LISOF to engage with, and present original local fashion and dress research. “This is a fantastic opportunity, and I am very excited and honoured to present my research paper, titled Fetishism and Fame within the Izikhotane fashion culture”, says 3rd year student Kelly Fraser. Key presentations by academics de Greef, Leora Faber and Ann-Marie Tully, Mary Corrigall, Suzanne Erasmus, Frances Andrews and Roman Handt, will cover topics such as Isikothane, Dandy-ism & the pathology of excess, Sutured animal bodies, Guerilla couture, Post-colonial fashion identities and Critical fashion curation. This promises to provide delegates, colleagues and fellow students with engaging debates around fashion.

 To register for this event, please contact Student registrations are R50 for the day, and professional registrations are R100.

For programme details please visit:




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