David & Radcliffe

Ripple effect

StyleZainab Slemang
David & Radcliffe – Ripple Effect
David & Radcliffe – Ripple Effect
David & Radcliffe – Ripple Effect
David & Radcliffe – Ripple Effect
David & Radcliffe – Ripple Effect
David & Radcliffe – Ripple Effect

Even by practicing good shopping habits and being knowledgable about where your clothing comes from, you can affect fashion industry practices

I've had The True Cost, the 2015 documentary about human exploitation and suffering at the hands of the fast fashion industry, on my watch list for months now and finally got around to watching it when it popped up on my Netflix earlier this month.

As consumers and individuals, we are on a constant quest to keep up with the latest trends and, in so doing, communicate our identities to the world. But we often forget — or don't know — where the products we consume come from. 

I've written about fair trade practices and ethical fashion before but watching this documentary really pushed it home for me; after all, even I've become a 'victim to fashion' and many of the items I feature in my photo shoots are purchased or borrowed from high street stores. With the continuous rise in the cost of living, the drop in salaries, and the prominence of consumerism and glabalisation, fast fashion has become the one place where individuals can purchase multiple products at a reduced cost and satiate their appetites for owning more and being trendy.

That being said, South Africa is one country that's known for its fair trade and equal rights in the manufacturing industry with many local designers and stores focusing on developing local skills and sustainable production, sourcing ethical and sustainable products from other countries, recycling, and using eco-friendly materials and production processes. And while the journey hasn't been easy —the 1990s saw an influx of imported products while in the early 2000s, the country's garment industry jobs dropped from 220 000 in 2002 to 100 000 in 2011, according to Statistics South Africa — and factories have a long way to go to be 100% problem-free, we can proudly say that the garment factories in South Africa are good and safe workspaces. Additionally, when you buy products that sport the 'Made in South Africa' label, you're also putting your money back into the industry, supporting the ethical practices of brands and designers, and helping keep factories safe environments for the people that work there.

The clothing featured in this shoot were specifically chosen from stores and designers that reflect this change in the South African fashion landscape: From Poetry to Pichulik, these garments speak directly against the capitalist and glabalist notions that fast fashion prescribes to.

Which is not to say that you should boycott every single retailer or toss out your entire wardrobe and start from scratch. But it is possible to buy affordable, socially responsible clothing by practicing good shopping habits and being knowledgable about where your clothing comes from.

Images 1and 2: Tiger Lily dress and ERRE leather neckpiece

Image 3: The Bridal Edit sweater, Paige Smith bodysuit, Poetry shorts, Pichulik neckpieces and bracelets, and Mami Wata Skom surfboard 

Images 4 and 5: Poetry jumpsuit and neckpiece, Pichulik bracelets and Mami Wata Ponta surfboard

Image 6: The Bridal Edit slip and dress

Photography: Mohammed Hoosain

An extended version of this post first appeared in The Good Weekend, a Weekend Argus: Sunday Edition supplement on 19 November 2017.

Photo Diary | Kenya Part II

TravelZainab Slemang
David & Radcliffe – Photo Diary | Part II
David & Radcliffe – Photo Diary | Part II
David & Radcliffe – Photo Diary | Kenya Part II
David & Radcliffe – Photo Diary | Kenya Part II
David & Radcliffe – Photo Diary | Part II
David & Radcliffe – Photo Diary | Kenya Part II
David & Radcliffe – Photo Diary | Kenya Part II
David & Radcliffe – Photo Diary | Kenya Part II
David & Radcliffe – Photo Diary | Kenya Part II

'Lalla salama, Zainab!'

Kenya is a beautiful, magical place — but not without a lot of driving and flights. I love a good nap while commuting so after dozing off multiple times during our week in this extraordinary country, my group affectionately started saying 'Lalla salama, Zainab!' ('goodnight' in Kiswahili) every time they saw me. And so I was anointed with my Kenyan nickname.

Naps weren't all I got up to while in Kenya, though. I also enjoyed a magical breakfast in the bush, ate the freshest seafood (yes, crab directly from the shell) and fruit, took my first-ever hot-air balloon ride, snorkelled for the first time, and basically stayed in a tropical resort in Diani Beach.

Check out the video above to see everything I got up to while in Kenya and hit Like or Subscribe on my YouTube channel if you'd like to see more vlogs like this.

Photography: Zainab SvR and Nuraan Motlekar

Videography: Zainab SvR

Photo diary | Kenya Part I

TravelZainab Slemang
David & Radcliffe – Photo Diary | Kenya Part I
David & Radcliffe – Photo Diary | Kenya Part I
David & Radcliffe – Photo Diary | Kenya Part I
David & Radcliffe – Photo Diary | Kenya Part I
David & Radcliffe – Photo Diary | Kenya Part I
David & Radcliffe – Photo Diary | Kenya Part I
David & Radcliffe – Photo Diary | Kenya Part I
David & Radcliffe – Photo Diary | Kenya Part I
David & Radcliffe – Photo Diary | Kenya Part I
David & Radcliffe – Photo Diary | Kenya Part I

And so began my adventure in Kenya...

'Don't let go of the raft.' I kept repeating this to myself as the murky waters of the Tana River crashed over me. Behind us, the tide from the mini waterfall kept pulling the raft back in, almost capsizing us. In the background, I could hear the rest of my group shouting. Each time the water rose up to meet me, I squeezed my eyes shut and gripped my paddle and the raft tighter. Not that I needed the paddle. In fact, I'm pretty sure the guide said to jump out if the situation called for it. And the situation definitely called for it. 

And so began my adventure in Kenya...

But it wasn't all fear and loathing. Between the water-soaked adventures and epic game drives — with lions less than two metres away! — we also enjoyed dinners in the bush, a special Equator Ceremony, meeting the Masai people and feeding giraffes. 

Look out for another photo set and a mini vlog from the trip coming soon.

Photography: Zainab SvR, Nuraan Motlekar and Savage Wilderness Safaris

Oh my lash!

Beauty, Concept, PortfolioZainab Slemang
David & Radcliffe – Oh my lash!
David & Radcliffe – Oh my lash!
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Sometimes my work leads me to an 'Oh my gosh' moment — and I wouldn't have it any other way

Throughout my career in media, and even now that I'm no longer in publishing, the one constant question that leaps off people's tongues like a perennial nightmare I can't wake from is: 'So what do you do?'.

'Journalist' is always an acceptable answer but since expanding my portfolio, it's become decidedly difficult to place myself in any one box. My social media biographies brazenly proclaim 'Creator & curator' but even those terms are in themselves vague and are often met with ostracised glares and grunts of 'Bloggers these days...'. Not that blogging doesn't form a large part of what I do. In fact, 40% of my previous role as an editor of two magazines included constant blogging and social media updates.

These days, however, depending on the project I'm working on or the skills I need to complete a task, on any given day I am a combination of writer, social media manager, strategist, creative, photographer, manager, communications coordinator, stylist, consultant, curator and producer. 

And in these roles, I've had the good fortune to work with some amazing brands and some truly inspirational people that often lead me — and them — to have moments where all you can say is 'Oh my gosh – this is incredible!' Case in point: ONQ Lashes, a derivative of ONQ Makeup, whose recent social media campaign I was fortunate enough to be a part of. Not only are Qaanita's lashes top quality but the work she's put into her overall brand — while working a day job and running a household that includes kids — is applaudable.

And it's for this reason that I keep doing what I do: to create beautiful 'Oh my gosh' moments for people and brands that I can be proud of.  

Concept & photography: HYVE Collective

Styling: Zainab Slemang van Rijmenant

Beauty: ONQ Makeup

The new contemporary

Style, ConceptZainab Slemang
David & Radcliffe – The new contemporary
David & Radcliffe – The new contemporary
David & Radcliffe – The new contemporary
David & Radcliffe – The new contemporary
David & Radcliffe – The new contemporary
David & Radcliffe – The new contemporary
David & Radcliffe – The new contemporary

At the helm of a promise of greatness lies the distinct character of creativity that can be found in all of us, if only given the chance

When I first sat down to give the images in this post context with the written word, I was going to pen some carefully constructed prose on the democratisation of fashion, the rise of prêt-à-porter (or ready-to-wear) and the state of haute couture in an age of excess and status buy-in. Unfortunately, my brain's capacity to process fully formed thoughts seems to be lacking and my usual eloquent (or so I'd like to think) literary prowess eludes me as I've been surviving on a diet of early morning pancakes, late-night meals thrown together in a state of fatigue and approximately six or less hours of sleep.

The reason for my lacklustre appearance and unhealthy habits (by most human standards, anyway; the rest of my journalism and communication colleagues would laugh at my audacity for proclaiming six hours is too little and that coffee and a bad toasted sarmie is more than enough fuel to get you through a deadline – or two) of late is that I've been doing communications coordination at what, arguably, could be one of the most significant institution openings the African continent has seen, or will see, for many years. In just two weeks, the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) will be opening its doors to the public for the very first time and, although I joined the fray at quite a late stage, I can't be more proud or humbled to be a part of such an historic project.

That being said, with two very busy weeks ahead, I've had no time to eat, sleep, breath or think of anything other than press previews, museum memberships, curators, architecture and, of course, art. Oh, the art! Every day, I get to work and walk within a space that houses some of the most gorgeous and compelling contemporary artworks, flown in from across the globe. And each day, there's something new to discover: A giant screen projecting a film that speaks to both human migration and the medium as a carrier of memory and information that takes up an entire gallery room, a series of photographs portraying the concept of being forgotten, a suspended ... wait, I've already said too much (so best you get your hands on free tickets for the grand opening weekend from 22–25 September). 

Getting back to my point of relating these particular images to some sort of context, the Zeitz MOCAA's entire philosophy hinges on that of being inclusive – through its various exhibitions, by granting access for all to these exhibitions, and by its implementation of an education centre and curatorial training programme that significantly includes a Curator of Digital Platforms. With the democratisation of information by technology, the internet itself plays host to numerous artists across various mediums– from music to digitally crafted drawings and photographs. So while this work may not be seen as significant within the context in which it is shown (i.e. the internet), they are in themselves artistic expressions. 

Art – as it is seen through the eyes of art lovers, curators, gallery owners and artists – is a reflection of society, the world around us – whether it's adolescent rebellion, political pressures or outright dissatisfaction with the status quo. And current society's collective consciousness is telling us that anyone armed with a computer, tablet or smart phone can be a creative, an activitist, a writer...

Who knows? Perhaps someday, these ill-informed musings and their obscure connections to imagery may find themselves on the walls of a museum gallery too. And that in itself would play into the ethos of inclusivity.

Image 1: Jeffrey Campbell Lita boots

Image 2: Puma Basket sneaker

Image 3: Black Betty ring

Image 4: The Joinery satchel, Black Betty bracelets and rings

Image 5: Adidas Stan Smith sneaker

Image 6: Black Betty earring

Image 7: The Joinery laptop sleeve, Black Betty bracelets and rings

Photography: Mohammed Hoosain

Beauty: ONQ Makeup

Henna tattoo: Nazeefah Allie