Delving into mystique of ‘deity’ design

Vuyolwethu Hole

TRIBAL elements, Aztec prints and strong indigenous cultural references were the essence of the garments shown at the Collective range last weekend.

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) students presented their work alongside that of established Port Elizabeth designer Thabo Makhetha at the fashion show held at the Boardwalk Amphitheatre.

“Fashion is a manner of expressing oneself in a universal language and it has a deeper meaning when we develop our concepts. The satisfaction in creating something that is universal and meaningful is such a rewarding art,” said Meike Barnard, chairwoman of the Collective collection committee.

The Collective is a group of student designers working on sponsorship and events to raise funds for their end-of-year fashion show and exhibition. The range presented last weekend showcased the creations of third-year fashion design students.

Angelique Demont’s eco-friendly dress created from blinds was the culmination of structure, bold colours and textures.

“My inspiration started with my interest in extra-terrestrial and UFO research. I wanted to keep the look local so I directed my research to ET experiences in Africa. I found out about the Dogon tribe in Mali whose deity is called the Nommos which literally translated means ‘fish people’. Their oral tradition tells how the Nommos taught them amazing knowledge about astrology,” Demont said.

Barnard said her inspiration was drawn from Russian Matryoshka nesting dolls and the Afrikaans poet, Ingrid Jonker. “I integrated the two concepts as both work on the basis of layering. Ingrid’s life was overshadowed by layers of her poetry and layers in her mind as she struggled with depression as well.

“The theme regarding this concept is regression. I want my range to show how Ingrid’s life regressed until her final layer was left. This final layer of the Russian dolls is known as the Natasya, meaning [the true self],” Barnard said.

Her range is titled “Dark Paradise” and Barnard said the name came from the idea that Jonker escaped her problems [layers] through her poetry, but in her poetry a morbid atmosphere of her depression still filtered through, making her paradise “dark”.

Demont says to raise funds for the year-end fashion show, the students are hosting themed fashion parties around the Bay.

Barnard believes any form of marketing used correctly will be effective. “In the day and age we live in, social networks are the most immediate and easily accessible form [for marketing]. Another aspect one can never overlook in marketing is word of mouth and print media,” she said.

An ’80s themed party at DNE and a fashion show at the Second Avenue Campus are some of the events the committee has lined up this month. The committee hopes to raise enough funds for the year-end fashion show and they plan on making this the biggest fashion event the university’s fashion department has seen in its history.

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