As a fashion narcissist, I am obssessed with street style and the way the stylistas interpret the trends for a more wearable ensemble. On of the most popular trends in the northern hemisphere is white-on-white. Take note ladies, this look will be très du jour come Spring/Summer 2014. Although this is a Spring trend, I could not wait until September (spring in the southern hemisphere) to try it out. Honestly I was dreaming about this look for days and I finally decided to put it together for my #ootd.
So here’s #WhatZannaWoreToday
With it being autumn, the temperature has droped a little and that was the perfect excuse for me to dig out my fur gilet from my winter wardrobe.
As you can tell I was feeling myself in this ensemble (even though I could not feel my right baby toe in these shoes). The look of white is clean, crisp and chic. One of my favourite looks du jour.
Blouse & Handbag: Thrifted
Fur Gillet: Mr Price
Over the nine years since he launched his brand, South Africa native David Tlale has showcased his inimitable designs at all the premium fashion week platforms and etched his mark as a favorite on the South African and African fashion landscapes.
Renowned for his undeniable knack for showmanship and elaborate designs, Tlale’s work is both daring and dramatic—a brand that defies convention and a brand that impenitently employs unpredictable use and understanding of fabric, color and texture.
David Tlale has taken his work around the world, and partnered with a number of influential brands in South Africa. Last night, Tlale showed his Fall (Autumn) Collection at the Pavillion for Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York.
The crispness of the structure and nudes and blacks especially caught my eye because of their chicness, which to me, is what Autumn/Winter fashions are all about.
And this week, I will be bringing you all my favourite looks from Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week.
From David Tlale to Victoria Beckham et al.
I hate black folks.
Now before you send out the lynch mob, allow me to articulate my thought process in black and white so you (and I) can understand why I would make a statement that reeks of self-loathing.
Firstly, I must clarify that I abhor the term “black.” It is simpler to use such a generalized category and so I must admit that the term has slipped into my everyday vocabulary. But what is black? Who defines black? With human beings being such complex and unique beings, to lump millions of people into one monolithic category based on vague and often ridiculous stereotypes is absurd.
One such stereotype is; because you are black (in South Africa), you must speak a Bantu language. I will not enter into the “you live in our country, you must speak our language” debate because there are good points on both sides of the arguments and in its heatedness someone is sure to invoke Godwin’s law. It is unlikely that engaging in this debate again will sway my views; I have heard and seriously considered all the arguments. And you can dismiss this rant as that of a foreigner who should go home anyways. Either way, it is frustrating that as a native francophone, I am not afforded to opportunity to communicate in the (official) language that I am most comfortable with. You try addressing a taxi driver in Johannesburg in anything other than Zulu; it will feel like hitting a brick wall over and over. It does not matter how many times you politely reply ‘I beg your pardon?’ they will continue to respond in Zulu or it will take several tries until they concede ‘oh! You don’t speak Zulu? Ok, I was saying …” For your information, I do speak a Bantu language. I speak Lingala. There are more than six hundred Bantu languages and only a handful of those are spoken in South Africa.
Another stereotype about black folks that I would suppose began with early explorers, was perpetuated by colonialists and continues today as a legacy of Apartheid/Racial Segregation is; black folks are simple-minded and therefore they are useless at anything other than hard-labour, blue collar jobs.
I could give you a history lesson but I’ll refrain. But I take exception to being thought of as simple-minded and useless because I am black. I am Muluba (of the Luba people) and my ancestors, my people thrived in a civilization they founded in the “jungle.” These “savages” built a great kingdom that prospered for three centuries pre-colonialism, in the depth of the “jungle.” The Luba are a proud people and as my father will tell, we are an intelligent people too.
So when a person looks at the colour of my skin and brands me as simple-minded and idiotic, I picture myself slapping them. Hard. Because I am an intelligent, articulate and impressive young woman, I am not just black folks. How are you going to reduce the greatness of the Kikuyus, the Zulus, and the Lubas to black folks?
And what is worse is you will find a large majority of black folks actually exist.
This is where I become pissed off.
My girlfriends and I are addicted to Groupon. I mean who doesn’t like getting goods and services at reduced rates. My girlfriends and I have been on numerous excursion; lunch dates, coffee dates, spa days; thanks to Groupon. But recently, I we’ve had more complaints than praise for the establishments that advertise on Groupon. And my observations have dismayed and frustrated me.
Of the last three Groupons we purchased, the establishments were run by black folks. Now, I am sure that when these people decided to become business owners and provide a service they were not out to become black folks. Too many black business owners get slapped with the ugly moniker because they do not uphold the customer service/cleanliness/integrity standards that other (yes, sometimes white) would.
It is frustrating that I am more likely to get an infection from a manicure by a salon run by black folks. It is frustrating that after I book and pay for driving lessons with a company run by black folks they will disappear and no longer answer my phones. It is frustrating that I will most likely find a roach in my pizza at a pizzeria run by … you guessed it … black folks? It is frustrating that when we do succeed and steer away from the stereotype of black folk our fellow people will sneer at us saying: ‘Does she think she’s white?’
So what you are saying is that my successes make me think I’m white? Why do white folk hold the monopoly on success? Why is it when I do things differently to black folks, and it works, it is immediately attributed to me trying to fit in with the white folks?
I ain’t tryna be white, no sir!
I am frustrated (feeling distressed and annoyed) that black folks continue to frustrate (prevent a plan or attempted action from progressing, succeeding, or being fulfilled) their own attempts to shake off the vestiges of Apartheid/Segregation and prosper.
There is no self-loathing here. I don’t believe that for my people, the Bantu peoples, to excel in life, they need to imitate white people or be anything other than what we are. The civilizations and dynasties we built before the white man even stepped on the “Motherland” will show you that we have done and can do it again, on our own. Do not misunderstand my tirade; I DO NOT believe that the opposite of black folks is white folks. White is not right. I have yet to coin a term for the opposite of black folks BUT IT IS NOT white folks.
But why must we prove the slave master/colonialists right? Why? Why do we perpetuate the stereotype of black folks? Why? Is it because we still believe hundreds of years of indoctrination? Do we truly believe that we are simple-minded and therefore useless at anything other than hard-labour, blue collar jobs?
I would just like to know why?
Save the Last Dance is one of my favourite films. I can recite it verbatim. I can sing along to the soundtrack. And I can mimic all the dance breaks. But only in my house because I am not a ballerina and I wouldn’t want to embarrass myself in public. The basic synopsis of the film is rather straightforward; Sarah is a white midwestern girl who moves to Chicago and falls in Love with Derek, a black boy from the South Side. The synopsis is straightforward but the events of the film are not. ALthough the issues are glossied by Hollywood, in real life this topic is emotionally & racially charged.
In the film, after a catfight with her nemesis Nikki, Sarah asks why Nikki has so much “beef” with her and Derek’s relationship.
Nikki: It started because of you, WHITE girls like you, creepin’ up, takin our men, the whole world ain’t enough, you gotta conquer ours too.
Sarah: Whatever, Nikki, Derek and I like each other, and if you have a problem with that, screw you.
Although Sarah’s response was rather PC (politically correct) here is a woman whose answer was not. In this letter written to Sister 2 Sister Magazine, a white woman gives her opinion on why black men date white women. My sisters, brace yourselves;
I’m sorry but I would like to challenge some of your Black male readers. I am a White female who is engaged to a Black male-good-looking, educated and loving. I just don’t understand a lot of Black female’s attitudes about our relationship. My man decided he wanted me because the pickings amongst Black women were slim to none.
As he said they were either too fat, too loud, too mean, too argumentative, too needy, too materialistic or carrying too much excess baggage. Before I became engaged, whenever I went out I was constantly approached by Black men, willing to wine and dine me and give me the world. If Black women are so up in arms about us being with their men, why don’t they look at themselves and make some changes. I am tired of the dirty looks I get and snide remarks when we’re out in public.
I would like to hear from some Black men about why we are so appealing and coveted by them. Bryant Gumbel just left his wife of 26 years for one of us Charles Barkley, Scottie Pippen, the model Tyson Beckford, Montell Williams, Quincy Jones, James Earl Jones, Harry Belafonte, Sydney Poitier, Kofi Anan, Cuba Gooding Jr., Don Cornelius, Berry Gordy, Billy Blanks, Larry Fishburne, Wesley Snipes… I could go on and on.
But, right now, I’m a little angry and that is why I wrote this so hurriedly. Don’t be mad with us White women because so many of your men want us. Get your acts together and learn from us and we may lead you to treat your men better. If I’m wrong, Black Men let me know.
Disgusted White Girl, Somewhere in Virginia
*counts to 10*
Thankfully a Black Man did respond and here is his response. Ladies, please hold your applause until the end;
I would like to respond to the letter written by A Disgusted White Girl.
Let me start by saying that I am a 28-year old black man. I graduated from one of the most prestigious universities in Atlanta, Georgia with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Management. I have a good job at a major corporation and have recently purchased a house. So, I consider myself to be among the ranks of successful black men. I will not use my precious time to slander white people. I just want to set the record straight of why black men date white women.
Back in the day, one of the biggest reasons why black men dated white women was because they were considered easy. The black girls in my neighborhood were raised in the church. They were very strict about when they lost their virginity and who they lost it to. Because of our impatience to wait, brothers would look for someone who would give it up easy without too much hassle. So, they turned to the white girls.
Nowadays, in my opinion, a lot of brothers date white women because they are docile and easy to control. A lot of black men, because of insecurities, fears, and overall weaknesses, have become intimidated by the strength of our black women. We are afraid that our woman will be more successful than us, make more money than us, drive nicer cars and own bigger houses. Because of this fear, many black men look for a more docile woman. Someone we can control. I have talked to numerous black men and they continuously comment on how easy it is to control and walk over their white women. I just want to set the record straight.
I want A Disgusted White Girl to know that not all successful black men date white women. Brothers like Ahmad Rashad, Denzel Washington, Michael Jordan, Morris Chestnut, Will Smith, Blair Underwood, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, Samuel L. Jackson, and Chris Rock all married strong black women. And, to flip the script, there are numerous white men, in and out of the spotlight, who openly or secretly desire black women over white women. Ted Danson, Robert DeNiro, and David Bowie to name a few. I just don’t want a Disgusted White Girl to be misinformed.
Stop thinking that because you are white that you are some type of Goddess. Remember, when black Egyptian Queens like Hatsepshut and Nitorcris were ruling Dynasties and armies of men in Egypt, you were over in the caves of Europe eating raw meat and beating each other over the head with clubs.
Read your history!
It was the black woman that taught you how to cook and season your food. It was the black woman that taught you how to raise your children. It was black women who were breast feeding and raising your babies during slavery. It is the black woman that had to endure watching their fathers, husbands, and children beaten, killed, and thrown in jail. Black women were born with two strikes against them: being black and being a woman. And, through all this, Still They Rise!
It is because of the black women’s strength, elegance, power, love and beauty that I could never date anyone except my Black Queen. It is not just the outer beauty that captivates and draws me to them. It is not the fact that they come in all shapes, sizes, colors and shades that I love them. Their inner beauty is what I find most appealing about black women. Their strong spirit, loving and nurturing souls, their integrity, their ability to overcome great obstacles, their willingness to stand for what they believe in, and their determination to succeed and reach their highest potential while enduring great pain and suffering is why I have fallen in love with black women.
I honestly believe that your anger is geared more toward jealousy and envy more so than snotty looks. If this were not so, then why do you continuously go to tanning salons to darken your skin? If you are so proud to be white, then why don’t you just be happy with your pale skin? Why do you continue to inject your lips, hips, and breasts with unnatural and dangerous substances so you can look fuller and more voluptuous? I think that your anger is really a result of you wanting to have what the black woman has.
BOTTOM LINE: If I were looking for a docile woman, someone I can walk over and control, I would give you a call. But, unfortunately, I am looking for a Virtuous Woman. Someone that can be a good wife and mother to my children. Someone who can be my best friend and understands my struggles. I am looking for a soul mate. I am looking for a sister and; unfortunately, you do not and CANNOT fit the bill.
No offense taken, none given.
Signed, Black Royalty
*starts slow clap*
Dungarees are a major trend for Spring/Summer 13. Yes Dungarees.
No not these …
More like this
and perhaps even like this …
or you could take a page out Alexa Chung’s stylebook and go a little Grunge/Rock/Punk
For me, I’ll definitely take it sophisticated like so
Either way you choose to style this season’s country twist on the jumpsuit, mke sure you stay à la Mode
Italo Calvino said: The more enlightened our houses are, the more their walls ooze ghosts. Describe the ghosts that live in this house: Image credit: “love Don’t live here anymore…” – © 2009 Robb North – made available under Attribution 2.0 Generic
Although the words had left me, I have found solace in a thousand more. Ever since I’d lost my joie de vivre I’d been searched for that wonderment I used to feel at the Little Things in the World around me.
I used to be filled with the giggles if I saw a butterfly on a sunny day.I used to feel giddy at the smell of Sta-Soft fabric conditioner on my cool sheets as I tucked myself into bed every night. I used to close my eyes to acutely feel the wind in my hair as I rode my bicycle. Wonderment.
When I lost that feeling and the means to express it, I looked for new inspiration. Instead of finding the inspiration in words, I found it in a thousand more. Because a picture is worth a thousand words, n’est pas? As I rebuilt my Spirit and found my joie de vivre in pictures and picture-sharing communities. I have been on WordPress in months because I have been on Tumblr. Ce Que Moi J’adore is my Tumblr page with exactly that, ce que (things that) moi j’adore (I Love.)
I’ve literally spent days and days scrolling infinitely through tumblr posts; reblogging, hearting, queuing posts and being inspired. And in this inspiration I have found more reason to fight the darkness and j’ai trouvé mes raison d’être. I have found my reasons for being. I’m fighting the depression because I have so much I want to live for. All of this from a silly little microblogging site. This is the Power of Social Media.
I hope you’ll get the opportunity to peruse Ce Que Moi J’adore as well and possibly find your own inspiration for wonderment there.
I haven’t put pen to paper or tapped on a keyboard for Release in too long. Writing used to be my therapy, it used to be enough. Just seeing my words on a page helped me make sense of the quagmire that is the jumble of thoughts in my head. It was my Release.
It isn’t any more.
To be honest, it isn’t that I have no words to put out. I’m afraid to write. I’m afraid to see, in black and white Cambria font, the nightmare I am living in my head. As long as it stays is my head, formless, imaginary, I can choose to bury it. As soon as I put it into words, it becomes real, too real.
As soon as I say; I’ve lost my joie de vivre and I’m battling depression, the mask falls away and I’m vulnerable to your scrutiny, your questions, your judgement.
But now, I’m ready.
Every mouth you’ve ever kissed was just practice. All the bodies you’ve ever undressed and ploughed in to were preparing you for me. I don’t mind tasting them in the memory of your mouth.
Was it a long journey?
Did it take you long to find me?
You’re here now, welcome home.
– Warsan Shire