Fashion gurus and stylists always take it upon themselves to do what they do best! Tell everyone gullible enough about what’s in and out of the runways and clothing stores! It is what they do after all and you know what, there’s nothing wrong with it!
Also, we all want to know the latest fashion trends; it drives us crazy…in a good way! But one thing that we’re pretty sure of that never drove any Shangy crazy was the colourblock trend that once hit the fashion streets in South Africa. WTF? Wa Tolovela Fashion-Guru! Tsonga/Shangaan peeps been having it!
Colour blocking is defined as a fashion style where you put together multiple or more than two bold/bright/neon colours in an outfit. Sounds way too familiar right? It “is commonly associated in fashion as a trend that originated from the artwork of a Dutch painter, Piet Mondrian.” He was known for his harsh geometric and colourful shapes that he later termed Neo-Plasticism.
As Xitsonga people, we just want to say that we don’t get our inspiration from Mondrian, that’s our fact. We’re one people who’ve always had a passion for colour, this can be seen expressed and represented through our cultural embroidery, decorations of our architectures and of course…fashion! However; through our colours, we’ve been spoken ill of, we’ve been called names, laughed and mocked at – and those gutsy enough would be condescending towards us. Our colourful nature degraded us to just being “amaShangane”, a derogatory term most people living eAfrika-Dzonga use to humiliate us.
What Happened Then?
One day, a fashion guru woke up to proclaim the lifestyle we proudly swear by, the “in-thing.” The multi-coloured traditional clothes – “xibelani (skirt), nceka (body wrap), duku (head wrap), yele (shirt), deha (bracelet) and vuhlalu (beads)” that we’ve been wearing on a daily basis and still do, are proof enough that colourblocking has always been in our existence. We take into account that everyone is becoming more modern and urban, but we still manage to use our fabrics to create or design elegant outfits without losing our own sense of culture.