23 Oct Featured: $tyleTribe SA
Please tell us more about yourselves and what you do:
StyleTribe SA was founded by Bonolo Moeng and Keith Ngcongo. We are a style collective, within which we house creatives. This is done through our blog (www.styletribesa.tumblr.com), which we use as our main platform. The bigger picture involves the trade of knowledge and skills amongst like-minded individuals. Essentially, that platform translates into an online portfolio of the body of our collective works. We develop and sustain personal brands through image consultancy and produce fashion content for numerous purposes.
What did each of you do before you started working together as StyleTribe? How long have you been working together?
Bonolo: Keith and I met as I was pursuing a BA in Political Science in 2011. I was still a retail merchandiser for Platinum Group (Urban Degree), and dabbled in styling.
Keith: I founded a company called Phefumula Productions, which is a fashion production company. We have worked with Lee Jeans for their PR event Gateway store relaunch, and have produced The City is Mine event for Lee. We have shot lookbooks for boutiques, and produced and conducted fashion shows and events.
Why do you prefer working as a duo instead of individually?
Naturally, two heads are better than one. I like that we are able to focus on what we personally excel at, as opposed to dabbling in everything all at once.
In what ways are the two of you different, and in what ways are you alike?
Bonolo: We have a complimentary partnership, and what unites us is our dedication to fashion and our extensive knowledge thereof. Keith is more technical, and has phenomenal creative direction skills; whereas my focus is on quality and I have great attention to detail. We both contribute a unique aspect to StyleTribe, which I proudly hold accountable for our current success. Keith has a degree in Economics and Supply Chain Management, and is currently a fashion buyer for Edcon; and I’m still involved in Politics.
[youtube width=”640″ height=”400″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eX1bB69QdqY[/youtube]
Tell us about some of the things that influence and inspire your work…?
It’s about keeping the dream alive. Our hearts are well invested in the creative field; and each day that goes by represents a step closer to the end goal. We’re driven by South Africa’s authenticity, and are hungry to share its beauty with the world. The local fashion industry is still very young, with plenty room for improvement. That abundance of opportunity is motivating.
How would you describe your style as fashion stylists?
Bonolo: I’m a versatile and practical character. I remain conscious of current and future trends, and implement them in a manner that is innovative and cost efficient. I’m not safe at all in terms of style preference. I’m fortunate enough to be approached by clientele that is open to change; which has enabled me to push boundaries.
Keith: My style is simple and sophisticated. Sometime futuristic but still with an homage to the past and to vintage appeal. I work on colours as a main reference, colour palettes and how they complement each other is my specialty. My approach is always to push the boundary and explore silhouettes, fabrics and fits.
What did each of you want to be growing up? Was there ever any indication that you’d end up where you are now?
Bonolo: I grew up wanting to be a doctor, because I loved the concept of helping others. Unfortunately this dream got crushed by my average science and math marks through high school. Alternatively, I wanted to be the first female South African president. I always knew I loved fashion, and was good at it. Once I got my first job as a stylist, I knew I was in the right place.
Keith: I grew up dreaming about fashion, obsessed with Fashion TV, the quality the elegance and the beauty. So naturally I have always wanted to be a fashion designer, so I guess I’m saying that this is my destiny and I’m following out a path long ago chosen for me.
What’s the most rewarding aspect of StyleTribe?
The most rewarding aspect is definitely seeing a concept materialize, and having satisfied clients as a result. We have the opportunity to develop the face of the African fashion industry, which in itself is a blessing. We try perpetuate style and fashion, and when we see people giving recognition and we receive interviews like this, that’s rewarding.
If fashion wasn’t an option, what would you do?
Bonolo: I would dedicate my time to formulating practical government policies on sustainable development, and empower society. Especially the youth; through various educational programmes. Although, I must admit that I would find a way to incorporate style between it all.
Keith: I would be doing supply chain management, my studied skill. I would be working with systems and processes, ideally I would be in Germany working for VW, lol.
Up until this point, who are the most interesting individuals you have worked with?
Shooting for Rolling Stone SA was amongst our earliest and memorable experiences. We had the opportunity to produce online content for various events; shooting artists such as Die Andwoord, and HHP. We recently produced and directed the cover shoot for Zakes Bantwini’s latest single “ifunaya” featuring J Martins, including stills for his up and coming album “Fake Book Real Book – My Music Bible”. We absolutely love Nandi Mngoma. Working with her has been refreshing, and continues to progress into a fruitful relationship. We’ve stood beside each other since her first music video, “Good Times”, and have documented her at various fashion shows and magazine cover shoots over the year.
Where do you see yourselves 10, maybe 20, years from now?
It’s hard to tell, considering the advanced influence of technology towards fashion. Innovative designers, creators and makers. Community changes and fashion leaders in Africa. We just want to fuck shit up! In the greatest way.
What are you working on currently, and what do you have planned going forward?
We look forward to collaborating with more African artists, and establishing closer working relationships with global brands. Style Tribe would like to be more involved in grassroots initiatives, and contribute to the development of our country through fashion. We don’t want to give too much away, but we’re looking to venture into television. In terms of our visibility; you can look forward to innovative stunts. We’re about breaking boundaries; and that’s exactly what you should expect.
To view more of their work, visit their blog www.styletribesa.tumblr.com