I love fashion and filling my wardrobe with pretty clothes (as does anyone I suppose) but it does not mean one can easily become or call oneself a ‘fashion blogger’, understand the details of the manufacturing process, or even what it entails to establish a fashion industry.
The fashion segment of my blog was at first difficult to map out what direction I wanted to go in. I am not keen to stand in front of the camera frame, to pose for anyone else but myself, to be objectified or harshly edited. My solution to this problem was to be the photographer, photograph model friends and collaborate with South African fashion enterprises. I like to work with what I have, natural beauty and natural lighting.
“Way back in 2012” when Mishka was twenty-three and studying law at Wits University, Me and You clothing boutique first opened its doors in Braamfontein and now has relocated, bringing urban inner city style to Johannesburg’s suburbs – 4th Avenue, Parkhurst. Growing up in Kenya and spending after school afternoons at her Mother’s clothing boutiques, Mishka “watched as women from all over would come, shop and enjoy the company of beautiful things”. “I love the way clothing makes you feel – the confidence and character that different garments bring out of people. It’s a magical bridge between reality and fantasy – between who we are and who we want to be”.
The long-term goal for Me and You is to make an African footprint, to be accessible to all parts of the African continent with an extensive online following and feature a diverse range of African identities. As Mishka pointed out, women today are expected to fulfil many roles which is why Me and You clothing boutique is adaptable for every “mood and phase”. “It is a lifestyle clothing boutique, where the style is classic with a twist on the ordinary. It is effortless. It is for the modern fearless woman who loves standing out from the crowd. A classic bohemian flair. I tend to steer away from what is trendy for the moment and rather focus on what makes the wearer feel confident and comfortable in their own skin”.
With the backdrop of Johannesburg’s lifestyle scene, the outfits are styled to adapt according to occasion, event or space. For instance, the Hooded-side Ruche dress featured at Keyes Art Mile could have appropriately been styled with “trainers for a family filled Saturday”, but in this case, it is “glammed-up with knee-high boots”. The most important aspect of Me and You is to “feel sexy and confident without trying too hard” – which is exactly what I believe we have captured in the selection of the scenes and with the appropriate styling of clothes. I particularly love the Hooded-side Ruche dress and its chosen scene. Most of all I love that I am photographing South African labels on the streets of Johannesburg.
Through working, with business owner, Mishka I have learnt about the importance of brand identity, what it represents and shared values. It is more than just a fashion label, it considers women in modern day society as well as a strong desire to make an African footprint in the fashion industry, not just in ‘town’ but in the suburbs of Johannesburg too.
Thank you to Mishka, I have enjoyed our collaboration and grateful for the introduction to fashion photography – I look forward to working with you again in the future! To Kaymin, thank you for being the best model and friend. Thank you for make-up, posing and styling for each look – whilst guiding me through my first fashion photography shoot.