Progressive punk – an innovative urban elegance at play – is how I would classify the signature style of the Dutch. What on earth has brought on this candid statement about fashion you might ask. Well, the edgy style of the Dutch has literally become an outlet of creativity for me to express the politics of my mind. I kid you not – their approach to fashion is beginning to influence my whole outlook on life.
It’s like when Nicolas Ghesquière injected new life into Balenciaga. He plucked the label out of its dated phase and propelled it into the new age. Et voilà, it was cutting-edge and avant-garde. Which presents the perfect analogy for my own experience, in which the Netherlands is like a Ghesquière designing a new identity for me, that’s more authentic to who I am.
The signature style of the Dutch is bold, always striving for that touch of punk. And the pièce de résistance of the look is that element of risk or sex appeal, if you will. They’ve done what I like to call a ‘fashion fast-forward’. It kinda resembles that of the British, the Swedes and the Polish. Their style expression is unpretentious, empowered by intellectual freedom and adventurous and that’s why I’ve allowed myself to be swept away by it somewhat.
South Africa has its charms too but there’s no core style code, it’s more a mix-up of extremes. You have the bohemian or surfer look, the prepsters and the hoodies. But the element of dynamism’s missing. There seems to be some or other obstacle to unreserved ingenuity. Uhm, I wonder what that might be…
Take that alter-ego out for a walk
So you can imagine that the Netherlands has had an enormous impact on my sense of style. Even more confrontational than that, the fashion has given me the perfect outlet for years of pent-up political dissatisfaction. I am more than happy to wear clothing that screams ‘take that’, ‘who cares’ and my all-time favourite ‘kiss my a**’.
Yes, fashion can do all of that to you and more. It can transform your whole character. So I’m just letting it happen because celebrating the inventiveness of fashion is very therapeutic. It’s the ultimate freedom when you’ve had too many boundaries enforced on you. When I slap on my orange, wolf-ear beanie, I’m totally taking the animal-in-me out for a walk.
Drawing inspiration from the words of Balmain’s creative director Olivier Rousteing in Elle: “I’m designing for today’s modern global woman. She doesn’t belong to just one place. She’s glamorous, confident, sexy, strong… She is not afraid.” That’s like permission to live life to the full. And since they’ve teamed up with H&M this season we can all get in on the action.
On your marks, get set…
Shopping is an absolute sport around these parts. Probably just the norm for those who grew up around here but a learning curve for a South African like me. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always been an avid shopper. It’s just that the monster’s out of the bag now (picture the cookie monster for this one).
Web-shopping is the real beast. Having come from a place where it’s a minor activity to being here where it hit me like a fever about two years in. It’s unleashed the fashionista in me and it’s a load of fun actually. Hope the shrewd investors can take a hint – the market’s wide open in SA. Anyway, I digress.
Long story short, the shops are calling and I’m no longer the one being trampled by the crowds because I never leave home without my game face anymore.