NightWalkingTruths

ideas on creativity

Posts Tagged ‘shweshwe

The Story of a Style Outcast

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Style Outcast?

Last week I wore one of my many China T-shirts to university. The shirt says “Rent a cow. Kind, sweet and quiet.”

I bought this T-shirt from a department store one day and I remember being ecstatic because it actually fit me and didn’t look like your boyfriend’s t-shirt that you slept in the night before.

This was the main reason I bought it, and later it became part of my cute animal T-shirt collection, which happened by accident.

 One day I opened my cupboard and noticed that I had numerous T-shirts with animals on them.

Coming back home and these T-shirts are struggling to find a place to fit in South Africa’s trend conscious fashion style, which has been accurately explained by style-guru, Lauren on her blog Glossary. 

All day people gave me strange questioning looks. One man even remarked on what a terrible T-shirt it was. I guess wearing unusual T-shirts in SA means that you are making a statement. He thought I was calling myself a cow and wearing the shirt as some ironic desperate cry for a boyfriend.

Lauren asks: Do South Africans follow consciously follow trends? I say yes, to the point of it being insitutionalised. If you want try something different, it still needs to fit into a stereotype. Even Indie style has it’s own specific look, you’re not wearing it if you don’t have the retro swag shades.

If you wear Indian kurti shirts it means you are vegetarian and spend your holidays in eco-villages. If you wear shweshwe skirts you are trying to be black – seriously a Zulu girl in Durban once accused me of this. Try pairing these together and you are a style outcast.

Living in Asia as a foreigner, you are already different to everyone. Without even trying you already stand out. As much as it’s difficult to find clothes because of small sizes, you have a lot more freedom when it comes to style.

Asian women are very style-conscious, especially in Korea but there are many who still make their own trends. Cute is always in style so you get a chance to be 10-years old again, with matching clips and bows.

Now I face the dilemma of sometimes feeling like I first have to decide who I am before I choose my clothes.

This becomes complicated as I tend to have a sentimental relationship with my clothes. They all have stories.  Like my reject orange rose dress from the factory shop. The first time I laid eyes on it I thought the fabric was so lovely that she shouldn’t be a reject any longer. My Mom always disapproved when I wore it, being a former reject she had some flaws.

Unintentionally, I left the dress behind on one trip to Asia and she became a reject once again. As she was already flawed, the dress was a perfect candidate to become an overcoat the domestic worker wore when cleaning the house.

When I came home my heart bled for this lovely dress that had now become ugly/beautiful with bleach stains and ripped hems. Since moving to Jozi I reclaimed her again and she is no longer a reject. Now I have a new look to add to my wardrobe – homeless chic!

Written by BiancaZAR

February 20, 2010 at 4:19 pm