Street style chronicles: Johannesburg’s most modish

Here we capture clever sartorialism through a street style series that showcases the outfits of ten local creatives. Some are eccentric in their self-presentation and others are more demure, but all were chosen because they reveal an innate creativity through their everyday dress, grooming and overall demeanor.

Lebohang Otukile

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What do you do?

I am a performance artist, I am a dancer and I am a misfit.

What did you do today?

I had a wardrobe fitting for a music video I will be shooting soon. I have just left from a meeting with an artist friend who I will soon be working with on something interesting to offer to the world.

What are you wearing from head to toe?

I am wearing a yellow fringe wig, vintage yellow sunglasses, a Head Honcho bomber jacket, a Comme Des Garcons top, a Romans wrap-around skirt and New Rock platforms.

What do you love most about living in Johannesburg?

I was born in Johannesburg so this is home to me. I don’t mind visiting other places but this is my home. I love the unity that is within the streets of the city and how everyone is collectively striving to make Jo’burg a city of freedom, be it in speech, dress code, sexuality or whatever.

What does your style say about you?

My sense of style says that I am a misfit, I am divergent. I don’t fit in anywhere. I don’t even fit in with the people that don’t fit in. I don’t believe in gender and its roles. I sometimes don’t feel human enough to be on this earth so I walk out of my home looking like something that landed on earth, in a well-known city. I sometimes feel lost in the world but I guess that the sheep that got lost in a forest of wolves ended up leading the pack.

Tzvi Karp

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What do you?

What do I do? I don’t know! I cause chaos.

What did you do today?

I played dress up and then went to explore the city through a very talented photographer’s lens.

What are you wearing from head to toe?

I am wearing my turban, which I wrapped myself. My jacket is R10 vintage and so is my ruffled blouse. I was very inspired by a new romantic 80s prom date kind of vibe for today. I am wearing my mom’s pearls in excess, PVC leggings, Jeffrey Campbell platforms and a transparent bag filled with Barbie accessories.

What do you think that your sense of style says about you?

I hope that it’s a form of expression. I hope that it shows a playful element and that I’m not taking fashion too seriously and that I’m also not afraid to take risks with fashion. I hope that it shows that I’m living life in excess through accessories and clothing rather than simplifying it or reducing it to something. I love the quote “the road of excess leads to the power of wisdom”. Fashion to me is about excess, exploration, having fun, playing dress up and not taking things too seriously. Not worrying or being too concerned about what people think about what my style is.

What is your favourite thing about living in Johannesburg?

The vintage shopping!

What is your favourite song at the moment?

Paris Hilton’s ‘Stars Are Blind’.

Vusi Makatsi

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Where are you from?

A small town in the Eastern Free State called Ficksburg, Meqheleng.

What have you been up to today?

Had a interview process during lunch hour and then went back home to create content. It was chill.

What are you wearing from head to toe?

Thrift boutique items. I have a love/hate relationship with malls vs thrifting. Like I hate consumerism, but on the other, more objective end if I can have it my way (and still consume?) at half the price of a mall shopping spree, I’m all smiles.

What do you love most about living in Johannesburg?

The city’s fruit and vegetable street prices, and the high amount of black excellence as compared to Cape Town. I lived there for four years and it isn’t particularly as inspiring for a black ambitious kween.

What do you think your sense of style says about you?

I think it definitely says I am tuned into a very different frequency. You know, people are always staring, so I don’t know to be honest.

Lezanne Viviers

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What do you do?

I create objects. I also collect objects – mainly art. Empathetic objects. For fun, I work at @mariannefasslerofficial as the creative director.

What have you been up to today?

I have spent the morning dismantling my tapestry collection, which I’m repurposing, for fun. Then I had the best leg of lamb roast with my extended family, where I got to rediscover silkworms. In the afternoon, I took a peaceful stroll through the FNB Joburg ArtFair, after the madness of opening night. I helped my amazing mentor and friend, Marianne Fassler, to recruit more friends for the Johannesburg Art Gallery, and then I met you.

What are you wearing?

I’m wearing the runway dress from the Marianne Fassler SS16/17 collection, an Anmari Honiball skirt, customised vintage Marc Jacobs’ shoes, a Perígot shopper, a plastic flower necklace (a gift from Q), vintage felt flowers worn on a safety pin (which I got at the Alexander mcQueen Savage Beauty exhibition). Finally, two falcon claw brooches: one from Inge Raubenheimer and one I inherited from my granny.

What do I love about Johannesburg?

What don’t I love about Jo’burg? This colorful city represents to me something that is not tangible. People are colorful. The streets are colorful. Jo’burg is a collective. Perhaps an abstract noun? I’m not sure what the words are to describe this city. Connected, perhaps? Mark Heywood from the Daily Maverick recently wrote a beautiful piece on Jo’burg. In this piece he describes its inhabitants as ‘immigrants with attitude’. Passionate and driven. People in Jo’burg are here to have fun. We are a collective, we-immigrants, in this urban jungle, searching for an ounce of gold.

Sam Turpin

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What do you?

I rap and produce hip-hop music.

What are you wearing from head to toe?

This top is actually from an MRP range from at least four years ago, I have no idea what kind of trousers these are but I’ve always had them, and my sneakers are some OG Vans.

What do you love most about living in Johannesburg?

I think a person here would have to be really depressed to not want to wake up in the morning, there is so much happening that it’s hard not to leave wherever you stay. It’s constant inspiration for me.

What is your favourite song at the moment?

The reprise of ‘Solo’ on Frank Ocean’s album… It’s actually by André 3000 though.

What do you think your sense of style says about you?

“This dude doesn’t do what you do.” Haha!

Negiste Johnson

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What do you do?

Fine Art practitioner aspiring to live my best life.

What did you think about while getting ready today? 

Was listening to Babyfather, so was getting into my badman zone in order to slay prolific demons.

What are you wearing from head to toe?

Hair: NativeChild 100% plant based hair & body care. Choker: self-made. Body suit: Zara. Trousers: thrifted (unbranded). Belt: denim dungaree strap repurposed. Shoes: Country Road.

What do you love most about living in Johannesburg?

I’ve ping-ponged between a few cities but Jo’burg stimulates my exploration of the inter-connectivity and the unspoken link between organic and inorganic matter as integral parts of the whole. The ability to identify and make visible those who need attention, healing and love. Be it spaces, places or faces.

What do you think your sense of style says about you? 

No idea to be honest, I’m not really phased.

Jenny Dison

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What do you do?

I am a musician. I was part of Bye Beneco and now I am making music under the name LUMA with my good friend Alex (Leeu), it’s a collaborative project with many other artists. I also own a clothing business with my best friend Lexi Ochayon.

What is your favourite song at the moment?

My favourite song at the moment is called ‘Over The Shoulder’, which is a new release from the South African band, SOL GEMS.

What are you wearing from head to toe?

I am wearing a crop top and orange Asos dress from mine and Lexi’s collection called My Secret Cupboard. My necklace and earrings are treasures I found during my December travels to India. 

What do you love most about living in Johannesburg?

I love the people, most of the people that I have met in Jo’burg are warm, friendly and outrageously interesting. I love the food! I love how the scenery is forever changing, some parts of the city are incredibly green and forest-like and other parts are industrial with the most beautiful architecture. This city is so alive; it is raw and vibrant and I thrive off of its energy. The music, the night life, the nature, everything in this city is spectacular to me. I love living here.

What do you think your sense of style says about you?

My style is quite “bohemian” or “gypsy like”, if you will, which is indicative of my laid back attitude and energy. I love wearing flowing, colourful clothing. My way of dressing is heavily influenced by my mother’s fashion sense. My favourite artist is Frida Kahlo and not only do I love her work but I am also inspired by what she would wear; I try to always wear an item, even something small, like a pair of earrings, that embraces her essence.

Dear Ribane

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What do you do?

Kay Kay: We are conceptual artists and we run a production company. Long term, we would like to have our own creative hub. 

What did you do today? 

Tebogo: Today we shot with you, and now we are headed to a rehearsal for the preview of Avian and Black Coffee’s AW17 collection on 20 September which is very exciting in terms of building up our brand. 

What are you wearing from head to toe?

Manthe: A Zara shirt, vintage denims and Miista London shoes.

Tebogo: A Nike athletic top, old school Air Max sneakers and a vintage Victorian dress.

KK: A Rich Mnisi denim jacket, Wrangler jeans and a Nike sneakers.  

What do you think your sense of style says about you?

Manthe: Our sense of style represents different elements of us. Every day you are a different person and so our style is unpredictable. Fashion gives you the ability to create a new and better you every day. We have been grateful that we have Nike South Africa sponsoring us and designers like Black Coffee working with us. We have a modern vintage look, a back to the future type of style. Our style shows people that we are experimental.

What do you love most about living in Johannesburg?

Manthe: The diversity and that there are always opportunities unfolding. People are so driven here and that gives us inspiration to keep going and never give up.

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