Melanges Of Cultural Clothes Into Contemporary Dress Codes

When Heritage Day can be everyday with modern and everyday fashion clothing used with traditional material.

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By Nokuthula Msimango and Gaby Ndongo

Creative mixtures of both African and European clothing made an alluring scenery in this year’s UJ International Festival. Various blends of cultural apparel were well incorporated into contemporary dress codes.

African print was at the centre of it all. Participants used it for their cultural attires: African printed tops with European designs alongside high-waisted jeans and headwraps. Other cladded tailored-fit trousers, not forgetting the unseasonable two-pieces.

The trend, to some people, is from wanting to express the African creed of unity. The use of similar patterns and vibrant colours was to unify an otherwise diverse group of people.

Some students commented that they enjoy wearing pieces of their traditional wear as part of their everyday looks. “For me, it’s a norm really; I’m always in headwraps and bracelets. I think it’s just celebrating being a woman in Africa and its just colourful and bright, you know. It makes the outfit pop,” said a UJ student, Jennifer Sehlabo. TOJ

UJ 16th International Festival look book

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Swati nationals rocking their traditional attire. She sports her “ïlihhiya” (cloth) and he holds his “sagibo” (stick).
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A very modern take on the traditional two- piece. She dresses it up with tassel earring and a clutch bag. This outfit stands out on its own and she balanced it with simplistic accessories. This custom piece is a definite show stopper with the sheer mesh bottom.
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An eccentric and contemporary take on the African print two piece. She pairs striking gypsy pants with a vibrant patterned jacket and a timeless converse shoe that matches her white vest.
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If the complementary colours are anything to go by, she sure delivered! Her bright yellow and blue jacket is complimented by her Zulu crown with similar hues. It all balances out with her solid grey turtleneck, with a yellow Zulu skirt and Zulu inspired waist accessory.
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When a head wrap is all you need, a yellow and bright shirt which feels like summer that compliments the beautiful multi-coloured head wrap.
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She presents true Zulu beauty, dressed in traditional Zulu attire, a white vest and a purple beaded traditional Zulu head piece.

Reporting by Nokuthula Msimango and Gaby Ndongo; Editing by Ntozanele Libimbi and Kupakwashe Kambasha

Image courtesy to Devon van de Venter and Conrad Mmotsa

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