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Designer at work

FUNDUDZI BY CRAIG JACOBS – WEAR THE CHANGE YOU WISH TO SEE

Fast fashion makes shopping for clothes more affordable, but it comes at an environmental cost. What does it mean to consumers when it comes to deciding what to spend their money on and where to look for eco-friendly and ethically made clothing. Below we round up one of the best Sustainable fashion brands in South Africa. 

Fundudzi’s entire approach to fashion is centered around sustainability, the label is about clean, essential fashion that makes you feel comfortable, trendy, and environmentally friendly wearing. 

Founded in 2004 by fashion entrepreneur and communicator Craig Jacobs, the idea that you should be the change you wish to see is what influenced the brand to come into existence. “The name Fundudzi is inspired by a body of water, Lake Fundudzi in Limpopo, which is one of Africa’s most precious ecological treasures as well as a sacred site for the vhaVenda people”. 

The label is an independently, ethically, and sustainably made brand, dedicated to upholding a positive environmental and social impact. Fundudzi’s sustainably crafted designs are made from fabrics including organic and locally sourced material from Lesotho. The brand works closely with communities in South Africa, Mozambique, and Kenya, and all the pieces are made in Africa.

 Highlights 

Fundudzi by Craig Jacobs has showcased at SA Fashion week, Joburg Fashion Week, Paris, Stockholm, Maputo, and Luanda amongst others. 

In 2009, Fundudzi formed part of an international exhibition on sustainable design in Copenhagen, as part of the World Climate Summit. 

Istyleblaq talks to Craig Jacobs about fashion and sustainability. 

Fundudzi advocates sustainable fashion – How important is sustainable fashion?

The fashion industry is a significant contributor to the environment and human damage therefore, sustainable fashion is important in addressing these issues. It is just easy to look at a beautiful, finished piece of clothing in a store and forget there is a story and life cycle behind it. Being aware of all the downsides of the fashion industry will hopefully lead to more conscious consumerism. 

Where do you find inspiration about sustainable fashion?

We are conscious of our surroundings and inspired by all sorts of nature. The inspiration behind the brand’s name is from the body of water, Lake Fundudzi in Limpopo, which is one of Africa’s most precious ecological treasures as well as a sacred site for the vhaVenda people”. 

There are many definitions of sustainable fashion – What’s your definition of sustainable fashion?

In simple terms, sustainable fashion creates fashion in a way that is most considerate of humanity and the environment, reducing environmental damage.

Let’s talk about new designers who, in your opinion, are setting perfect standards for Ethical fashion? 

To be frank, for me, these are the designers who stand out for me as emerging sustainable designers.

Lukhanyo Mdingi, who was recently selected to join the Ethical Fashion Initiative Accelerator program.

I also love Kwanga Qusheka’s approach to exploring hemp – he is a student at the Design Academy of Fashion in Cape Town.

In general, my favourite local sustainable brands including Galago, who make the most incredible handmade sandals, and the thoughtful textiles by Sindiso Khumalo. And it would be important for me to highlight on the international stage, I look up to Katharine Hamnett and Stella McCartney who are both trailblazers the way for many of us, and retailers like Country Road who are taking a more thoughtful approach to the manner in which they produce.

What’s next for the Brand “Fundudzi”, and is there a future for sustainable fashion? 

Sustainable fashion has a long way to go, but the industry is opening up to the idea as more brands and customers are now embracing environmentally friendly products and shopping habit. 

Fundudzi will continue to reinvent itself and advocate for sustainable fashion.

Fundudzi by Craig Jacobs:

Africa Rise in Sandton City and SpaceMan in Rosebank@TheZone.

www.fundudzi.com/

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blaqnificant

Monde Twala Talks Leadership and Black Excellence

I have always been fascinated with leadership. Over the years I have found that people are naturally more inclined to follow one leader over another. It is a decision often premised on preferences made due to differences in leadership styles. This begs the question, what makes a leader effective? Below, Monde Twala, Senior Executive of Global media and entertainment company, ViacomCBS unpacks effective leadership.

Monde Twala has earned his stripes as a respected leader and an executive at a global company. He is currently the Vice President of ViacomCBS Networks Africa’s BET, Youth & Music brands and is responsible for driving the development and growth of iconic music, youth, and entertainment brands BET, MTV, MTV Base, and MTV Music24, across Africa.

Istyleblaq had an opportunity to talk to Monde Twala about his leadership journey.

MUZI: Your track record is impressive, having occupied senior leadership roles in several large-scale companies. You are currently leading one of the biggest organizations In Africa. Have you always wanted to be in leadership?

MONDE: My background and upbringing molded me into who I am today. Ngingu’mntwana ka gogo – I was raised by my grandmother. As the eldest at home, there was a lot of expectation and responsibility put on me from a young age. This is where my creativity, understanding of people, and inclusivity grew.

 MUZI: What do you like most about leadership?

MONDE: In all my years of leadership experience, I have occupied different roles with the sole aim of leading with purpose and leading from the front. I pride myself on my ability to listen attentively and understand people from different walks of life. I think leaders in today’s world need to not only listen to hear but to listen to understand, particularly, when dealing with young people.

Over the years I have worked with various brands including MTV, BET, MTV Base, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, and this experience taught me the importance of having a diverse understanding of markets and trends that shape this industry. There is an old adage that says that Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu which can be loosely translated toI am because you are”. This is an adage that continues to inspire my leadership style. When you look at it, modern-day leadership requires a level of flexibility, adaptability, and agility. It also requires a broader understanding of your team and their skillset. I do not believe in being the jack of all trades and a master at none.

Our recruitment systems enable us to bring skilled people that are experts in their fields and have truly mastered the industry, and I often lean on them to produce meaningful work. Modern-day leaders should not only lead but also allow themselves to be led. Through coming to the party with an open mind and a collaborative spirit, leaders can achieve great strides and meet growth targets in any organization.

MUZI: Different leaders have different leadership styles – What do you think is Effective Leadership, and how would you describe your leadership style?

MONDE:  A good leader is one who is able to carefully assess their challenges, consult broadly and collaborate with his team to produce exceptional work and bring solutions to the table. It is also about appreciating my team, their skills, talent, and their ability to pull it all together and deliver meaningful work. Passion is also central to everything we do because if you do not have the passion, you will struggle to lead people.

MUZI: The ability to effectively lead, motivate and direct a group of people – whether it is in business, community, or politics – requires a very complex set of skills. Is leadership born or built?

MONDE: I believe everyone is a leader in their own right. In whatever situation you find yourself in, whether personal or in your professional career, leadership is something you grow into. We are all called to lead at some point in our lives. Whether you are a sportsman, musician, or across any space, people can grow into becoming leaders.

As a soccer fanatic, my leadership style is inspired by sport. I played soccer in my youth and through this experience, I learned some principles of leadership that I still apply today as a leader. For example, in soccer, as the captain of a team, you are required to lead by example. Similarly, in my experience as a leader, I have found that when I lead by example, my team is more inclined to follow. It also helps that I have a strong foundation of values of respect, objectivity, and authenticity.

MUZI: You pride yourself in the projects you have successfully led such as the BET Awards, Africa Music Awards and you currently lead the BET international team. How is that going?

MONDE: Leading BET international is an opportunity that allows us to learn from our international colleagues while also providing an African perspective.

I think this role is important because it allows me to shine the light on African perspectives which is re-imagining Africa and ourselves, and elevating culture and business, and making sure that we can grow the South African and African economy. I am particularly excited for this new role because it provides opportunities for many other young Africans and young leaders who aspire for international success. It’s a proud moment for not only me but also for Africans globally.

MUZI: What are your thoughts on empowering black people and ensuring that there is a balance in leadership roles in the workplace?

MONDE: It’s a responsibility we have as leaders to bring others along. If you look at the population, you find that the African population is a young one. If you look at the projects that we choose to do, for instance: Boity, Own Your Throne on BET, showcasing a young, strong, independent, and talented African female – and how we used Boity’s profile and journey to highlight the importance of empowering young girls. That is an important factor because it inspires not only me but the business as well to consistently look at how we can elevate and groom new and fresh talent into the industry. It is something I have been passionate about throughout my career; I have always collaborated with amazing talent across the continent. Leaders who share knowledge are the most powerful.

MUZI. According to the African Report, Africa has deep leadership issues- Leaders stay in power way past their time, endless corruption, shortage of skills, and the youth floundering in many ways. What is your take on this?

MONDE: Leadership is a challenging position to fill. With that said, if you are the type of leader who empowers your team, takes the time to understand different perspectives, and use your ability to pull everything together into a strategy or solution, then you will progress and achieve your goals. I believe that we need to become more attentive to African problems and use international exposure to build case studies that can give us solutions.

MUZI: What advice can you give to aspiring leaders, any programs available to help develop future leaders?

MONDE: There are many programmes that are driving a positive impact while grooming future leaders by equipping them to identify their roles and responsibilities and think beyond self-interest. I think that more of us can lead while firmly rooted in making a difference and an impact.

As a continent, we have great leaders, and we have to pay attention to how we groom young people and foster their energy towards the right things. Wanting to be a leader that has a positive impact on the world is a noble dream that has to be nurtured in young people. This should be at the heart of every leader’s agenda.

MUZI: Istyleblaq celebrates and promotes black excellence – What does black excellence mean to you?

MONDE: Black excellence speaks to showing up every day in excellence and consistently reinventing ourselves when needed. It is a concept that speaks to being focused on your dreams, your purpose, and being engaged in projects that are beyond self-interest. Black excellence is a culture that can create, commit, and execute with great focus. It is about innovating and bettering your standards and those around you.

Black excellence is rooted in African culture. We strive to achieve black excellence in entertainment, storytelling, elevating and discovering new talent, and ensuring that this talent is successful beyond our borders. I mean, look at Trevor Noah who started on Comedy Central, and how he is shining the African flag on The Daily Show. It is about constantly challenging ourselves to be better than yesterday.

Categories
style crush

BOBO NDIMA – Ultimate Style Crush!!

Our latest style crush edition features Bobo Ndima, a freelance stylist, co-founder of Boys Of Soweto and brains behind Suits by BobtheStylist tailor-made brand.

It’s hard not to fall in love with Bobo Ndima’s style, his entire Instagram account is a mood in itself with all of his amazing fashion choices. He clearly has an eye for quality and style, and a knack for vintage “70s” look and mixes patterns and colors quite effortlessly. Style is essentially second nature to him.

There is something that attracts me to people with their own fashion’. We love it when a person experiments with their style and doesn’t always do things by the book. Through your fashion, your personality shines. And Bobo definitely puts himself into his clothes. I am in love with his style (I feel like I’ve said that way too many times) Lol.

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Style

FELIPE MAZIBUKO – INSIDE THE WORLD OF FASHION STYLING

Before our favorite celebrities hit the red carpet with their amazing looks or models appear in magazine editorials just remember, there is a fashion stylist behind them. What is a Fashion stylist? A fashion stylist, as the name suggests, works with fashion trends to create a distinct style for a particular individual. The individual can be anyone from a model or celebrity or anyone who wishes to create a distinctive image of himself or herself.

To appreciate these hard-working people, Istyleblaq takes a look at one of the most gifted and creative stylists.    

Meet Felipe Mazibuko, a fashion creative, stylist extraordinaire, and fashion influencer whom you’ll likely hear about for a long time. His creative ability and visualization skills have set him apart in the business.

If you haven’t seen Felipe Mazibuko’s work, you’ve been living under a rock. The Soweto born stylist is one of the most refreshing talents in fashion. His work is far-ranging, from editorial campaigns to working with Top local fashion designers and A-list celebrities. Now, Felipe bounces between styling for clients, editorial shoots, researching and collecting fashion journals, and advocating for fashion designers learning the business of fashion.

Highlights

Being part of the creative design team of Oprah’s Leadership Academy for Girls school’s uniform.

Judging panel on David Thlale’s reality TV show “The intern”.

Style council on SABC 1’s reality TV show “The Cut”.

An activist for fashion designers learning about the fashion business.

Working with numerous magazines, local fashion designers, and styled A-list celebrities such as Thandiswa Mazwai, Noni Gasa, and Simphiwe Dana amongst others.

instagram.com/felipemaz_/

Categories
Model of the moment

MALE MODEL OF THE MOMENT – DAVID J KABAMBA

Photos by Boss Models

Introducing David J Kabamba, a male model hailing from Johannesburg. With his striking presence, David has graced the catwalks of renowned fashion brands like House of Ole, David Tlale, and Ephymol. His captivating image has also been featured in esteemed publications such as GQ magazine, Style Joburg, and Voila. Additionally, he has posed for prestigious editorial campaigns for Truworths, Spree, and H&M.

Originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, David was discovered at the tender age of 16 while waiting for a bus at Gandhi Square. Since then, he has skyrocketed to become one of the most sought-after models in the industry, earning him a substantial following on social media.

Muzi: Take us back to the beginning…How did you become a model and what was your big break?

David: I was discovered by Kgomotso Sibeko, the founder of Curious Model Management, and his business partner, Paledi Sekgabo, during SA Fashion Week 2012 (spring and summer). They offered me the opportunity to walk at the event, which marked the beginning of our collaboration. This chance to walk was the catalyst for my journey in the modeling industry.

My big break was the following year around May or June I shot for a well-known retail brand here and this was just a small one-page advert on the other side of a weekly magazine…but a very popular weekly magazine. I felt like after that ad the ball started to roll.

Muzi: You have worked with some of the most influential photographers and brands, what do you consider your biggest professional success so far?

David: The most memorable experience for me would have to be shooting Sprite Africa 2018. This project held significance both professionally and personally. As a child, I was fascinated by the Sprite advertisement featuring basketball players colliding and transforming into Sprite, like a refreshing splash. I was enthralled by the technical aspects of production that made this possible. Additionally, I admired the players on the court and desired to be part of that same experience. Thus, being able to participate in the Sprite Africa 2018 shoot was truly a double blessing.

Muzi: As an established fashion model, what do you think makes a great model, and what is the secret to longevity in the industry?

David: To be completely transparent, I am still in the process of understanding greatness myself. I don’t want my words to be considered absolute, but I believe you can grasp the essence of what I mean. In my view, greatness is the result of consistently practicing certain habits over an extended period. Consistency, encompassing professionalism, ethics, and skill, is the cornerstone of greatness. It is the key to longevity and serves as the foundation for all other positive outcomes. Ultimately, persistence in various aspects of your work and how you approach it is crucial. Therefore, consistency is both the catalyst for greatness and the secret behind it.

Muzi: Sometimes the modeling industry gets a bad reputation with the jealousy and egos encountered between other models and Agencies. Was this true for you? Have you managed to tough it out and make good friends?

David: Absolutely. Was it tough? Yes, it was and is tough but I strongly believe that one should never slander and would impress upon anyone reading this not to do so either. Even if you had a bad break up or any sort of conflict with a workplace colleague, you should resolve and keep the matter between the parties concerned, you know? So, if anything has gone down with me, I’ve kept it to myself.

Have I made good friends? Well, yeah. So basically, don’t speak ill of former workmates because making enemies is not necessary. There’s nothing wrong and in fact, it’s probably in your best interest to walk away during disagreements. If you put it out there, you basically show your own weaknesses and that you cannot be trusted but keeping it between the concerned parties shows maturity instead of a whining baby, you know? You can’t build trust amongst people. It’s okay for people to assume that you would do the same with them based on how you handle situations if you walk away. So yes, don’t badmouth. It makes it easier to build and maintain professional relationships.

Muzi: Is there anything you would like to change about the modeling industry?

David: Yes, I think I would like to change the stereotypes that exist around modeling and also bring about a new image of what the profession or craft means and can or should represent in comparison to the many other things that it does not represent. I think that it should represent the thoughts, ideas, ways of being, and lifestyle of the people who inhabit the space that whatever product is being sold to.

Modeling can help bring about the true reflection of the time we should exist in and that the models that are modeling should themselves be more cautious of the role that they can play in society, art and in the purpose of art- which is to bring about new ideas, new change, new perspectives, to make us ask questions. That would also be a part of this new image or new meaning of the profession itself for us as an African people.

Muzi: What’s next for you?

David: My thoughts and my words. That is what is next and that is what is future my plans.

bossmodels.co.za/joburg

www.instagram.com/davidjkabamba/