Minister Ebrahim Patel dictates to fashion police

A shopper looking for winter clothing at a shop. Only specific items are for sale under the new lockdown regulations.
A shopper looking for winter clothing at a shop. Only specific items are for sale under the new lockdown regulations.

The fashion police, chaired by minister Ebrahim Patel, have revealed their winter style tips that have polarised the local clothing industry.

Forget Anna Wintour and Vogue, the winter style Bible introduced by Patel is what you should peek at before making your winter sartorial purchases.

Judging by the department of trade, industry and competition gazetted rules offering guidance on clothing, footwear and bedding permissible for sale by retailers during level 4 lockdown, we should all look like characters from Game of Thrones.

The biggest faux pas for Patel is showing off your toes in winter - what a no-no. So, if you wanted to buy the latest pair of peep-toe boots á la Nadia Nakai, you better think twice. You can buy leggings, but you won't be able to purchase strappy sandals to rock them with.

According to Patel, the only trendy footwear you should be buying this winter is closed-toe heels and flats, sneakers, boots and slippers.

"While the lockdown has been crucial to flatten the curve and allow our health system to prepare for the pandemic, I wait with bated breath to understand how banning open-toe shoes will prevent the spread of the virus," fashion designer Craig Jacobs said.

"Sure, it might not be fit for winter in Alaska but I am not sure if sweaty toes in Durban would appreciate this.

"What's next? Will the department be prescribing whether or not we can wear brown with pink?"

Prepare for itchy skin as knitwear should be a wardrobe essential, according to Patel's guidelines.

So, what if you wanted to buy items with lightweight fabrics? Does that mean no to African print? "Obviously, certain subunits of retail have been left out, but it makes sense because at the end of the day they had to come up with an encapsulated interim solution," menswear fashion designer Paledi Segapo said.

"A big thing is to not attract a huge human feat at the malls, but to get a gradual increase. It's benefiting some and it's not benefiting some. I don't think there is a dictatorship of how people should wear the clothes."

All short-sleeved knit tops and T-shirts can we bought "where promoted and displayed as worn under cardigans and knitwear".

Similarly, shirts - short- or long-sleeved - can be for sale "where displayed and promoted to be worn under jackets coats and/or knitwear".

"I am floored that the department feels fit to explain to us how to style our wardrobes against the incoming winter cold and dictate how we should wear our T-shirts," Jacobs said.

In case you want to be a "savage" like Megan Thee Stallion you better be creative with buying new shorts in winter for those fashion girl Instagram posts. Only "crop bottoms worn with boots and leggings" can be up for sale.

Patel strongly recommends golf shirts and bodysuits as must-have items.

When it comes to accessories, only shawls, scarves, beanies, gloves, socks, belts and headwear can be sold. "At the end I think what Patel is doing is coming up with a generic solution for the retail industry to resume with its operation. There are both advantages and disadvantages on how things should unfold," Segapo said.

Baby and toddler clothing as well as footwear can be sold. Maternity wear as well as adult sleepwear, gowns and underwear can also be purchased.

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