21st Aug2017

Fight the Power

by admin

Defend Equality Love Unites

Hi everyone,

I hope that you have had a great week. Our talented team has put together an amazing edition filled with plenty of reads for you to enjoy. Monde Nqeza has written an album review of Sudanese-American rapper Oddisee’s latest feat, The Iceberg. I’ve given the album a listen and I happily echo Monde’s praises for this album. Veli Mnisi implores all of us to give The Hamilton Mixtape a listen. With all of the star power that is featured on it, it sure looks like it is an album worth many listens. Sekhumbuzo Obvious Nomaele discusses the causes of internalised homophobia and the negative consequences it has for members of the LGBTIAQ++ community. In a short piece, Jabulile Mbatha implores men to reflect on how toxic masculinities result in men committing acts of gender-based violence against feminised bodies who do not adhere to patriarchal behavioural norms. Finally, Tsholanang Rapoo discusses the inherent contradictions of patriarchy; she challenges men to consider what, then makes them men?

Hope you enjoy these insightful reads.

Have a wonderful week,

Sandiswa and the exPress imPress team of 2017

07th Aug2017

Connections

by admin

Hi everyone,

This week, our talented writers have written great pieces for you to enjoy. Leah has written a piece about how our subjective experiences affect our ability to connect with others. Stephanie Schaffrath ponders whether social media is worth the loss of privacy that comes with it. Finally, Veli Mnisi writes about all of the great shows on offer that have come with the current Golden Age of Television.

Have a fantastic week and a Happy Womxn’s Day to all of the strong womxn in your lives.

Enjoy!

Sandiswa and the exPress imPress team of 2017

Technologies and Connections

31st Jul2017

We’re Back

by admin

We're Back

Hi everyone,

Welcome back to second semester of the academic year. In our first edition back, our talented team has put together a light-hearted and poignant edition for you to enjoy. First, Sandiswa Sondzaba profiles the Pulitzer Prize-winning fashion journalist, Robin Givhan, who has successfully used fashion as the lens through which she may provide social commentary. Sekhumbuzo Obvious Nomaele welcomes us back to the second semester by directing our trends that have dominated on social media in the past few weeks. Finally, we end off on a poignant note with Sandiswa Tshabalala’s poem which was inspired the recent incidences of gender based violence that have dominated the Johannesburg public imagination.

Hope you enjoy this edition.

Until next time,

Sandiswa and the exPress imPress team of 2017

31st Jul2017

Fashion’s Great Robin

by admin

Whenever you think of superstar journalists, we often think of the ones who cover current affair and international politics. Anderson Cooper, Christiane Amanpour, and others of their ilk are often who we think of whenever we think of great journalists who continuously break ground with their controversial insights into all that is happening in our information-heavy age. But what about fashion journalists? Why would I ask such an insidious question? These are the (mostly) womxn who write about shoes, clothes, fashion shows, and everything else about fashion. In an age where there is increasing geopolitical insecurity and further evidence that we are on the brink of experiencing (man-made) environmental calamities that we are not ready for, it seems incredibly vacuous to write an article praising the craft of fashion journalism.

One womxn has changed that perception for me. Robin Givhan. Born in 11 September 1964 in Detroit, Michigan, Ms. Givhan is a celebrated fashion journalism who is currently the fashion editor for The Washington Post. She is the first fashion journalist to win the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism in 2006. A self-admitted non-fashion insider, she uses fashion as the lens through which she critiques the political game, race, gender, and societal power relations. As an outsider, Robin Givhan has been able to direct some pointed and poignant criticism at the lack of diversity within the fashion industry. Having 10 models of colour out of 200 models may not seem like a big deal but Ms. Givhan does point out that because the fashion industry does determine ideal versions of masculinity and femininity, a lack of representation leaves out a large portion of the world’s population.

Writing for The Washington Post means that her fashion critiques have a pronounced political bent in them. During Barack Obama’s two-term stint as the President of the United States, Givhan did spend a considerable amount of time analyzing former First Lady, Michelle Obama’s fashion choices. In 2009, she criticized Michelle Obama for wearing shorts during a family vacation. Her critical stance has not been permanent as she has spoken about how Michelle Obama, as FLOTUS, was good for fashion as she was “adventurous in her choices and willing to embrace Hollywood glamour” and used fashion in order to tell a complex story about her role in history as the first African-American FLOTUS. In addition to her articles, Robin Givhan has written the book The Battle of Versailles: The Night American Fashion Stumbled into the Spotlight and Made History, a volume that chronicles how the famous Battle of Versailles fashion show made America a global fashion superpower and yet, did nothing for the industry’s dismal record in fostering greater diversity.

Robin Givhan’s great journalism lies in her not being afraid of using fashion as the means through which she may speak truth to power. Earlier this year, Givhan wrote an article explaining why she was in favour of certain fashion designers’ decision to refuse to dress the current FLOTUS, Melania Trump. Robin Givhan is the best ambassador for her particular brand of journalism as she explains that her duty is to make her readers less skeptical about fashion. Thus, what she hopes to achieve is to get her readers to understand how fashion is about more than clothing; fashion is a great reflection of how people regard themselves vis-à-vis others in our increasingly globalized world.

Robin Givhan Interview Magazine

15th May2017

Goodbye for Now

by admin

Hi everyone,

This week is our last edition for the semester and our talented team have written amazing articles for you to enjoy. Stephanie Schaffrath, inspired by the five lion fugitives in Nelspruit, has written a lighthearted piece discussing misguided stereotypes of Africa. Thabisile Miya has a list of South African YouTube vloggers that we all need to check out- because as they say, local truly is lekker. We have also included Sandiswa Tshabalala’s Response to “The Millenial Question” which won the Wits Mail & Guardian writing competition. The recent murder in Coligny,North West has inspired Jabulile Mbatha to write a piece decrying the presence of anti-black racism in post-apartheid South Africa. Finally, Veli Mnisi reflects on how #MenAreTrash demonstrates the violence of heteronormative, hegemonic masculine norms.

We hope that you enjoy this edition and good luck to everyone writing exams during this exam period.

Until next semester.

Sandiswa and the exPress imPress team of 2017

Tech Savvy

08th May2017

It’s All About Communication

by admin

Hi everyone,

This week our talented team have put together a small edition for all of you to enjoy. Obvious Nomaele gives us an introduction to the LGBTIAQ+ community because, as we all know, information is power. Naledi Khumalo gives a brief lesson on the various models of communication covered in the Media Studies syllabus. Finally, Sandiswa Sondzaba reviews this year’s Met Gala.

We hope that you enjoy this penultimate edition for the semester.

Have a great week,

Sandiswa and the 2017 exPress imPress team

All About Communication

08th May2017

Report Card: 2017 Met Gala

by admin

Rei Kawakubo

This year’s Met Gala had one of the toughest dress codes for the attendees. Paying tribute to the avant-garde fashion designer, Rei Kawakubo, the Met Gala attendees had to bring their avant-garde/glamour A-game to the Oscars of fashion. Rihanna stole the show by wearing a Rei Kawakubo/Comme Des Garçons creation that defied definition. Considering that Kawakubo uses design to challenge conventional notions of beauty, Rihanna was arguably the best-dressed guest with a deconstructed Swan Lake number that was paired with a pair of red sandals that were laced all the way up her legs.

Rihanna

Co-host Pharrell William’s wife, Helen Lasichanh, wore a bright-red off-the-runway piece from the design house’s most recent show. The piece had no sleeves or armholes which demonstrated the designer’s avant-garde sensibility. Jaden Smith embraced the spirit of the dress codes whilst remaining loyal to Louis Vuitton by carrying a clutch of his recently shorn dreadlocks. Katy Perry, not to be outdone by Rihanna and company, wore a scarlet red costume by John Galliano for Maison Margiela that was elaborate. Priyanka Chopra wore a Ralph Lauren trenchcoat-dress that brought to mind Rihanna’s bright yellow train dress from the 2015 Met Gala. Met Gala favourite, Solange Knowles, did not disappoint with her Thom Browne shiny puffer jacket- that was complete with a train. Cara Delevingne, dressed by Chanel, painted her bald head with a feathered silver paint that was studded with crystals.

Katy PerryPriyanka Chopra

On the other hand, Kim Kardashian-West was resplendent in a white Vivienne Westwood gown. Her gown had remnants of the white gown that opened Comme Des Garçons show in March. The dress could be seen as part of a performance art project relating to fame, wealth, and femininity in the 21st century. Kardashian-West, in an Ellen DeGeneres interview, recently renounced materialism. The peasant stylings of the dress and lack of over-the-top jewellery was a fantastic accompaniment to her recent denunciation.

Kim Kardashian-West

When I first heard about this year’s theme for the Met Gala, I was really excited as it marks the beginning of Rei Kawakubo receiving the recognition she deserves. Kawakubo is a publicity-shy figure who never takes a bow at the finale of her Paris-set fashion shows. At the beginning of her career, Kawakubo’s work was dismissed as being post-atomic. Kawakubo has succeeded in radically challenging everyday ideas in a manner that has been commercially and creatively successful. Kawakubo’s work has evolved over the years. The brand has 230 storefronts and franchise outlets outside of Japan, 17 brands under the Comme Des Garçons brand, three flagship locations in New York, Paris and Tokyo, and an annual turnover of $250m. She has a loyal fanbase among customers and designers such as Karl Lagerfeld, Nicolas Ghesquière, Phoebe Philo, and Marc Jacobs . She has demonstrated her genius through starting the pop-up shop trend, and collaborating with famed architects (Future Systems) to collaborate on the New York flagship store in 1998. All of her creative and commercial decisions prove that Kawakubo is a visionary who deserves credit for greatly influencing the modern fashion industry.

 

30th Apr2017

Speaking Truth to Power

by admin

Hi everyone,

In this edition, a few of our writers have written pieces for you to enjoy. In Happiness is a Four Letter Word, Naledi Khumalo writes a beautiful tribute to her best friend, fellow writer Obvious Nomaele. Zinhle Khumalo addresses colourism in South Africa’s black community. Finally, Sandiswa Tshabalala shares her poem #TriggerWarning which critically addresses South Africa’s normative violent rape culture. Although few in number, these articles are thought-provoking and truly speak truth to power.

Until the next edition,

Sandiswa and the exPress imPress team of 2017

Speak Truth to Power

24th Apr2017

Freedom in All of its Colours

by admin

Black Culture in the UK

Hi everyone,

This week our talented team have written articles that, coincidentally, address all of the complexities within contemporary black culture. Sandiswa Sondzaba shares her excitement over the fashion industry’s recent embracing of past and contemporary black subcultures. Kendrick Lamar has proven to be one of this generation’s most talented artists. Azola Jokweni discusses why he believes that Kendrick Lamar is the greatest rapper of his generation. Molebogeng Mokoka explains why our condemnation of Khanyi Mbau over her decision to lighten her skin complexion is highly problematic. Finally, Jabulile Mbatha critiques King Mswati III’s desire to ban divorce in Swaziland. Our talented writers have illustrated the complex issues that currently come with black culture- in all of its various forms. We sincerely hope that you will enjoy reading these thought-provoking articles.

Have a wonderful week of freedom,

Sandiswa and the exPress imPress team of 2017

24th Apr2017

Fashionable Diversity

by admin

All-Black

2017 has been a significant year for diversity in the fashion industry. In February, we had Marc Jacobs debut a collection that was explicitly inspired by hip-hop http://observer.com/2017/02/this-season-marc-jacobs-was-inspired-by-the-history-of-hip-hop/). Jacobs explained that his collection was inspired by the four-part documentary Hip-Hop Evolution which covers the hip-hop industry from the 70s to the 90s and features luminaries like Grandmaster Flash. In his show notes, Jacobs explains that, the “collection is my representation of the well-studied dressing up of casual sportswear. It is an acknowledgement and gesture of my respect for the polish and consideration applied to fashion from a generation that will forever be the foundation of youth culture street style”.

Gucci has seemingly followed in Jacobs’ lead through their pre-fall campaign that features an all-black model cast. The campaign is a tribute to Northern Soul which is different to the sci-fi vibe of the house’s Autumn/Winter 2017 show. The images were inspired by last year’s Made You Look exhibition at the Photographer’s Gallery. The exhibition was highly influential, exploring black masculinity and Dandyism (a counterculture that has also inspired the visuals in Solange Knowles’ Losing You music video). The campaign was further inspired by Malick Sidibe, the iconic 1960s photographer renowned for his black and white studio portraits, and Northern Soul. Northern Soul was a 1960s movement inspired by black American soul music that made clubs like the Wigan Casino famous. The campaign features both dancers and models, showing the splits and backdrops associated with the subculture’s dance style.

Titled ‘Soul Scene’, the Glen Luchford-shot campaign features only people of colour. This is significant considering that the industry has increasingly come under fire for the lack of diversity on runways and advertising campaigns. Runways, particularly, have been criticised for the lack of diverse castings. The most recent incident revolved around the agent James Scully, who took to Instagram to criticise the whitewashed Parisian catwalks and the mistreatment of models at a Balenciaga casting.

Although these are only two campaigns, they demonstrate that fashion is moving in the right direction. Coupled with the historic appointment of Edward Enninful as the new editor of British Vogue, the fashion industry is beginning to embrace diversity. Although some may say that these are just examples of how the fashion industry is embracing tokenism, I would like to argue that this is not the case. We are currently witnessing a black man take the helm at one of the industry’s most influential publications. As written in my previous article, Enninful is serious about increasing diversity within the industry. People like Enninful understand that the diversity-problem is serious as diverse representations are what will make the fashion industry’s influence more sustainable. I believe this we have not seen the last of these campaigns celebrating diversity.

Gucci Campaign

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