NOT x Chris Saunders | Dr Pachanga

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Months of exciting, experimental and highly inspirational work for the NOT x Chris Saunders cross-continent/cross-cultural fashion collaboration will pay off next month when the entire project is showcased at Wallplay gallery in New York City. The project, initiated by fashion designer Jenny Lai, aims to expose South African creativity globally. The project has seen Jenny working with a number of South African fashion creatives, who each re-imagined one of her signature pieces which were then modelled by Manthe Ribane and photographed by Chris Saunders.

 

We’ve been updating you on the NOT x Chris Saunders project in the lead up to the exhibition. In this edition Dr Pachanga aka Jean Rene Onyagunga; a local second hand clothing merchant, took walks with Jenny to thrift stalls in Johannesburg, including “The Piles” in Joubert Street on a hunt for second hand garments. Jenny and Dr Pachanga’s upcycling process of the collected clothing was to completely reinvent the items into a new once-off piece using Jenny’s patterns, with the help of a local tailor.

 

Johannesburg CBD

Jenny Lai and Dr Pachanga

Jenny Lai and Dr Pachanga

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Jenny Lai and Dr Pachanga

Jenny Lai and Dr Pachanga

Jenny Lai and Dr Pachanga

Jenny Lai and Dr Pachanga

 

This ‘recycling’ inspired the team to look to the mostly informal recycling that happens in Johannesburg for inspiration when deciding on an angle for the photograph of this particular collab. Since the discovery of gold in Johannesburg, the city has seen many migrants leaving their homesteads to mine for a living. The modern day migrant miners, you could say, are the men travelling with giant bags on trolleys collecting and informally recycling whatever they can find.

 

Opposite Chris Saunders’ studio is an informal recycling depot in an old abandoned building where the migrants, mostly from Lesotho, stay. Observing the Sotho men work, one notices that they’ve kept their traditions from back home; they still wear their prized thick blankets and balaclavas to keep warm and in this case, to keep the stench away as they collect.

 

About the final image, the team said, “In this shot we used gold objects to represent mining gold and to respect the history of Johannesburg where many came as migrant workers to mine this mineral, today however the men of the recycling depot are also migrant workers who now mine something different, like plastic, tin and glass. They are the modern miners in Johannesburg. Manthe in the outfit represents the “new gold” wearing a outfit which has essentially been recycled into something of more value.”

 

Follow the project here on 10and5 or over at notxcs.tumblr.com.

 

City migrants

NOT x Chris Saunders x Dr Pachanga



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