Rails upon rails of vintage clothing as well as accessories and shoes stared back at me when I visited the Pre-Loved Market at Goodwood civic centre recently. I felt like a kid in a candy store.
And that is where I bumped into Farzaanah Richards, creative director of Vent Apparel and Xana Styling.
Her passion for fashion, spirit of entrepreneurship and zest for life leaped out at me and I knew, immediately, that I had to pick her brain.
Farzaanah said her love for fashion was ignited as a 5-year-old girl.
“Like every other girl I had Barbie dolls but I hated the clothes they wore so I would cut them up. When I was old enough to use a needle and thread, I transformed the material using the old outfits into something I liked. That continued as I got older and when I was a teenager I would buy a T-shirt for R20 and redesign it into my kind of style,” she said.
On what’s happening in 2018, she said: “Fashion is being recycled. I wouldn’t say that designers are running out of new ideas but rather that they are taking trends from various eras and creating new ones.”
Farzaanah sees fashion as “art”. “It is essentially a tool for self-expression and it creates a certain mood,” she adds.
The new designer says she has no formal training and studied public relations (PR) at the Cape University of Technology (CPUT) after matric.
She says she reached a precipice in her life several years ago and needed a creative outlet.
To jump-start her venture into fashion and beauty, she completed a make-up course and started doing freelance make-up work in the city.
On the make-up front, for winter, she says women should always start off with a bold eyebrow.
For the lips, opt for darker shades like burgundy and deep red, which are ideal for this season, and choose classic eye shadows.
“Stick to neutral palettes. I would suggest keeping the eye nude and for an extra lift apply a highlighter to the inner corners of the eye and cheek.”
Before launching her label, Farzaanah would experiment with fashion.
“I started making mood boards which brought together the trends I saw out on the streets and stores as well as meshing it with my own personal vision and style.”
She says vintage items appeal to consumers because they don’t always have the budget to pay high prices for clothing at mainstream stores.
High clothing manufacturing costs in the city also make it difficult for consumers to support local designers so “going vintage” is the next best thing, she says.
Farzaanah does admit that vintage attire is not everyone’s cup of tea, however, she says it appeals to those who love experimenting and incorporating something new and trendy into their wardrobe with an item of clothing that screams old world.
The history books reveal that vintage clothing sprang up during the 1920s, after WW1, as a way of reusing clothing because of the textile shortage.
The 32-year-old mom of three, of Vasco Estate, says she launched her label Vent Apparel a year and a half ago.
“The feedback following the launch was amazing and I started off with a stretchy one-size-fits-all crop top and matching high-waisted pants which is available in both linen and lycra,” she said.
Her latest collection includes of pieces from all seasons.
“My line comprises crop tops which can be styled over fitted polo necks, high-waisted 1980s inspired baggy trousers and three-quarter deep floral textured upholstery coats along with body con dresses,” she said.
The trend-setter is also currently collaborating on a project with artist and illustrator, Naeema Petersen, to create “wearable artwork” on oversized T-shirts.
The fashion forecaster offers a few styling tips for winter:
Style your polo-neck under a strappy summer dress for winter with stockings and pair it up with socks and ankle boots.
Dress up your outfit with a pair of geometric earrings. Pair a coat with a long sleeve T-shirt and high-waisted trousers. Accessorise it with a square nose, block heel or court shoe.
Style a red beret with a polka dot dress, a pair of stockings and a kitten-heeled shoe.
For a “dress me downer” more casual look, combine rock drop crotch, black joggers or track pants with sneakers and a puffer jacket along with an artsy printed T-shirt underneath. Accessorise with hoop earrings.
Brightly coloured patent or bold-printed coats are hot this season along with the puffer jacket in both midi-length and short above the waist. The trench coat is also a classic.
The 1980s is back in full swing so invest in a good pair of trousers.
Incorporate frilly skirts in a heavier fabric into your winter wardrobe.
Body con dresses are trending and frills create volume and a sense of femininity.
Over the knee boots are great for winter; you can also pair socks with ankle boots. Any boot with a block heel is on trend and a square-toed court shoe with block or kitten heel is a must this season. Mules with a block heel will also make any outfit come to life.
Polka dots are huge this season as well as deep floral prints with a textured upholstery fabric.
My advice is to go on and raid your grandmother’s closet to unleash your inner retro goddess.
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