What do you get when you cross a unique street-style South African brand with a massive trendy women's wear retail outlet in Southern Africa? A clothing range that is both expressive and accessible in the form of the Punk & Ivy for LEGiT Winter 2015 “Don't Conform” range. While shopping last week I happened to come across some of the pieces at a LEGiT in Swaziland.
This is after
reading and hearing about the range. You cannot miss these eye catching pieces with bold motifs and colours plus the pink hangers that set it apart in the store. It screams “I am me and I am here!” It is for the woman who is confident, knows what she loves and what she is about. A woman who makes her own rules in life and in fashion. I can totally relate! The monochrome jumpsuit with gold buttons is one of those pieces that can be dressed up or down.
The beauty of the range includes the underlying cultural reference coupled with an edge. It knows and is aware that it is a modern African range for the young woman embracing contradictions, defining who she is than letting the outer world define her. As the LEGiT website states:“Punk & Ivy’s range is perfect for any girl who wants to make a statement and leave their “I don’t conform” footprint everywhere they go.”
LEGiT has continued the tradition of using an ambassador and creating a range around them each year, and of late each season. These ambassadors have included personalities such as Bonang and Lalla Hiriyama, people in the music industry such as DJ Zinhle and Nandi Mngoma as well as people in the design world such as David Tlale and Dineo Ranaka. This tends to give the whole store a certain feel as the pieces tend to stand out and set the tone. It plays to their slogan “Don't Tell Me What To Wear”. As a brand they have stores in South Africa, Swaziland, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Zambia thus reaching much of Southern Africa.
LEGiT has become a staple for young women in Southern Africa but who is Punk & Ivy?
They are certainly not as mainstream as some of the previous LEGiT ambassadors. Punk & Ivy is the brain child of a creative couple who have come together, beyond the marriage and a family, by starting a fashion business. This duo is Bianca Miles-Sibiya (Digital Marketing Specialist, ex MTV Africa, Indigenous Film Distribution and Stylist) and Khaya Bhubesii Sibiya.(Fashion Stylist, Musician, Artist and winner of GQ SA Best Dressed Male 2012).
They established it in late 2012. This is what they had to say about where their name comes from:
“Punk & Ivy are two terms we resurrected from Soweto lingo, which was popular in the late 60s and 70s. They were terms used by males to describe a dress sense with Punk referring to fitted, dark shades and tailored styles while Ivy was used for more dapper styles such as the wide leg worker pants, bell bottoms and heavyset seams.”
They are documentarians of the life and culture they are living in from the African lens while looking back on the history of those who came before. Creativity meets anthropology. It is a brand that has a distinctive outlook and distribution space by providing an alternative. They are centered on the idea of a motique. A mobile fashion boutique that goes beyond normal trading hours and gets to the people. They are based in Johannesburg and their clothes are inspired by inner city Johannesburg. The Urban African.
I saw the Punk & Ivy Motique Winter 2015 launch in March this year covered by V-Entertainment on Vuzu. It made me sit up and notice. A fresh, edgy and authentic idea with support from the who's who in SA at this launch. Their Winter 2015 collection focuses on androgyny. Items you can steal from your partner and vice versa. This makes them versatile. Their focus on Africanism in design as well as material used is commendable. Our rich continent needs to be celebrated and showcased in its glory.
The initiative with LEGiT makes Punk & Ivy more accessible and visible to the average Southern African young woman who desires to express herself and opens it to a wider market. The launch for the Punk & Ivy for LEGiT “Don't Conform” campaign was in April and I saw it covered on V-Entertainment as well. I literally took notes while watching. Somizi directed the fashion show. Former LEGiT ambassadors including Refilwe Modiselle, DJ Zinhle, Zizo Beda and Tshegofatso Seakgoe were there. Others present were Roxy Burger, Ms Cosmo, Sinazo Yolwa, the Boyz n Bucks crew and some fashion bloggers. A mural was made with the “Don't Conform” message central to the range. The delectable Lunga Shabalala was the MC. An elegant setting in upmarket Johannesburg, outdoors in a beautiful garden on a perfect afternoon created a relaxed atmosphere to launch a wonderful line.
All in all, the collaboration is one that will give young women like me more fashion choices where we can reflect more of our essence through clothing. Whereby we will not be clones because of mass production and marketing. Fashion can be fun and should be an extension of YOU. We salute LEGiT for pushing boundaries and keeping reinvention going. We also salute Punk & Ivy for giving a new possibility and direction as they continue to grow. Go get your Punk & Ivy for LEGiT item today!!!
Find out more on:
Punk & Ivy Site
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Punk & Ivy Motique
Yours in fashion,
Khethiwe “Khetrazz” Gumede