19 Jun Young South Africa: Punk & Ivy
Today’s Young South Africa showcase shines the spotlight on a Johannesburg style duo who are keeping it local and making that lekker. Punk & Ivy is the fashion, wardrobe, styling and bespoke consultancy boutique of Khaya Bhubesii and Bianca Miles.
Punk & Ivy refers to a style of dress that came about in the 80s in Soweto to describe a style of dress for Men. If you where not a Pantsula, you where either called a “IPunk” referring to a street style influenced by London Punks or an IVY, which was the up market, dapper style of dress. We aim to create a new path of tailored garments that connects the street to the urban distinguished He and She for 2013 and beyond.
Give us the back-story: how did Punk & Ivy come into being?
In July last year we were sitting on a sidewalk in Bangkok, amazed by the effortless mobility the city had adopted. It runs beyond the 9-5 routine and we thought that this also made perfect sense for Mzansi. We combined our Fashion/ Marketing and Design heads, and applied it to a business plan, which resulted in one that includes personal consulting and creating bespoke solutions for all our clients. The rest was planning and lots of fundraising, and thankfully it’s working out.
Please tell us about the concept behind your new range, ‘Paradiso’…
Khaya Bhubesii is a native Diepkloof cat, and given that our brand name is a term adopted from the streets of Soweto circa 1980, it was only natural to capture the essence of where we drew inspiration from, in our first collection and lookbook. Punk & Ivy is tailored, bold, effortless and speaks to the new aged Gentleman living in the urban jungle.
Is Paradiso a picture of a new South African identity?
It’s more of an African identity, as we have approached it. The continent now more than ever before, is finding great new ways to assimilate tastes and cultures into the country. Insular living is a thing of the past, and that shows in all spheres of creativity, from music, to art and fashion.
How do your different backgrounds contribute to Punk & Ivy’s unique service offering?
Khaya Bhubesii is a renowned fashion stylist, artist and GQ Mag’s 2nd Best Dressed Man for 2012, and has a great understanding of how to fuse township, suburbia and international trends into something uniquely African. Punk & Ivy became the perfect platform to fuse experiences and change the landscape of personal tailoring and designing for the consumer.
Bianca Miles is a marketer by trade, and so understands that everything needs to be planned, packaged and most importantly be able to have a cultural root that can travel globally. Working in SA Film Distribution and MTV Africa, opened her eyes to Africa, which we want to capture in all that we do.
Your label uses local fabric and is made by local tailors. Please tell us a little about what ‘keeping it local’ means to you…
Being proudly African is a consciousness that we believe every Creative on the continent should embrace. Being aware of what we use, how we produce and the impact it has on our positioning to the World is essential. Africa is by and large the final frontier for the rest of the world to tap into, especially in the Creative space. We need to harness this and own it, as much as possible. We only have today!
Your Winter 2013 collection is a focus on “Leather, furs and all things that are distinctly ours”. Can you give us a clue of what we can expect this to look like…
After many trips to tanneries and Taxidermy spots across Gauteng, we decided to really look into creating long lasting leather garments fused with local fabrics for our SS collection. The trends of the “faux leather” are incredibly shocking because mass retailers are selling internationally produced plastic leather to Mzansi consumers, when we live on amazing land where animals and their hides are seasonally culled, so we have built our looks based around this. Amazing local furs and hides such as Daiker, Gemsbok, Blesbok, Bovine and Nappa leather are amazing materials that are 100% South African and these can be tailored with local cottons into great lifetime pieces for the customer. Our looks will play on the Androgynous theme – threads for guys and girls that can be worn with pride.
What are your thoughts on the local creative scene?
We only have one shot to make and set an impression for ourselves and the world. We need to continually find inspiration from within Africa and sell that to the world, and not the other way around. Mzansi is doing great, but like everything there is always room for improvement. I long for the day when a local hip hop video does NOT have a bikini clad chick, popping bottle in a club with gold chains, etc.
Fast forward ten years: where are you and what are you each doing?
10 years from now, hopefully Mzansi will have a massive mobile food, fashion, cinema, gallery, theatre, and other creative retail solutions for the country and we will be at the forefront of that with our Motiques (of which we will hopefully have 4 in Mzansi, plus 1 in Nairobi and Lagos).
We would probably be parents by then too, have extensively travelled through Asia, set up our textiles printing solution and have started a vintage car garage for custom repairs, which will sit alongside our sheep farm up north…