AfroPunk fashion turns up the volume with flower power and a retro twist

01 January 2020 - 13:06
By Londiwe Dlomo
Katleho Seutloali in a  headpiece by Nikiwe Dlova.
Image: Londiwe Dlomo Katleho Seutloali in a headpiece by Nikiwe Dlova.

Flowers were one of the strong themes at the third annual AfroPunkJoburg experience in 2019.  The festival is known for its edgy fashion and striking beauty looks. Three flower-power looks stood out at the two-day festival.

Zanele Hlongwana’s understated sunflower look and bee earrings caught the eye. She freckled herself with delicate hand-drawn sunflowers across her cheeks, a look she says took her one hour.

“I just went for cute, and I thought what’s cute? Little sunflowers on the nose, “she says of her look.

Zanele Hlongwana.
Image: Londiwe Dlomo Zanele Hlongwana.

Vhutali Tshufularo sported white dungarees bedecked with daisies. Her eyes were lined with a white eye pencil and white beads adorned her cheekbones.  Tshufularo says she’s obsessed with flowers and also decorated her teeny-weeny afro with the flower. 

“I’m obsessed with flowers, the colour and the joy they bring. So I thought I should bring out the joyful auras.”

Vhutali Tshufularo
Image: Londiwe Dlomo Vhutali Tshufularo

Sunflowers made another appearance with Katleho Seutloali’s striking sunflower bikini top and headpiece designed and made by Nikiwe Dlova, owner of Own UR Crown.

Katleho Seutloali.
Image: Londiwe Dlomo Katleho Seutloali.

Masked wonder

Designer Jermaine Jacobs was one of the attendees at the festival and his masks, worn by himself and Sphiwe Zikalala, had people stopping them to take pictures. One of the masks had fuchsia tassels and the other had strings of beads cascading down the side.

Jermaine Jacob (pink mask)  and Sphiwe Zikalala.
Image: Londiwe Dlomo Jermaine Jacob (pink mask) and Sphiwe Zikalala.

The reason I made these masks was to bring shock value and also to bring a smile to somebody’s face. To have somebody question 'what did I just see? And I want to take a picture'… I want to make you scream when you’re standing there, I want to make you gag.”

Jacobs has been designing clothing and masks for four years, and he says his official showcase happened in 2019.

“I first started kicking off my design story with the Joburg Pride fashion show, it’s called The Pride of Africa fashion show. That’s where my initial idea to bring a non-binary standpoint towards clothing was. You would never know how well a man would be in a piece of women’s clothing until he puts it on and he sees himself,” he says.

Grandma’s dress

Zoleka Monta poses  on a set designed by photographer Francis Buseko.
Image: Londiwe Dlomo Zoleka Monta poses on a set designed by photographer Francis Buseko.

At every festival there’s always someone with an interesting story about the outfit they are wearing and Afropunk had many of these cases. Zoleka Monta turned heads in her grandmother’s wedding dress and a Masai headdress. 

“I didn’t have an outfit for Afropunk and I was planning in the last few days, so I decided to wear my grandmother's wedding dress, because it’s different and stylish and it fits me.”

Her grandmother also helped her wash, prepare and iron the dress, and what were her thoughts on her granddaughter's fashion choice?

“She said I must send her pictures.”

Image: Londiwe Dlomo