Unison Store is a South African design collective featuring the ranges of SA designers across the genres of fashion, homeware, gifting, accessories, etc.
The store was launched by Shauna Neill about three years ago and it is located in Flanders Boutique Mall in Mount Edgecombe, Durban. This location is a hangout place for locals to enjoy a meal, have their hair and nails done, and carry out the obligatory grocery shopping.
The store also retails online and they courier all over South Africa and offer a free online gift wrapping service as well as a pickup service for Durbanites.
“I opened the store in Oct 2017, to fulfill my lifelong dream of having my own store. Through my work as a jewellery designer, travelling, and my general obsession with all things design, I have made some amazing friends in the design world and have a wealth of incredible designers in my contacts list who I admire and respect. So, putting this collective together was easy and so rewarding. I love being in the store and chatting to our customers about the stories behind the designers. I also love finding new talent and doing my bit to promote and build up South African small businesses. I hope you enjoy shopping for the ranges of some of SA’s most exciting new and established designers. We certainly enjoy bringing them to you!” says Shauna.
B-FASHION STYLE & DESIGNS is a newly launched online women’s clothing store by Bafunani Tsholo. The clothing range embraces daily wear that speaks to unique style, class, and elegance yet simple. The store offers a great online shopping experience for customers and an opportunity to select any desired style that suits their personalities.
With B-FASHION STYLE & DESIGNS, it is all about the look that speaks volumes. Their aim is to boost the customers’ confidence by ensuring that they look and feel good anytime, anywhere.
Their mission is to provide exceptional quality service through professionalism because they value their customers.
So, if you are in the mood to rock your day with style, look no further than B-FASHION STYLE & DESIGNS for a selection of different styles and designs.
The Leather Lot is a recently launched luxury leather brand, offering statement pieces in bold designs and colours. Suitable for any fashionista with a need for eye-catching arm candy, each piece is meticulously hand-crafted and elegantly assembled. For the Daring Diva, limitless colour options are available in various materials such as crocodile, ostrich and cow leather.
The collection includes staple items which no serious trendsetter should be without, and offers the flexibility of customisation for mavericks with an eye for unique, expressive pieces.
Driven by deep passion to uplift and promote South African craftmanship, leather lot is a small business hoping to achieve a wide reach. The brand’s ethos centres on making luxury leather items accessible, without compromise on quality, thereby making the experience of luxury a lifestyle.
Love Modern Vintage is a woman-owned business, with a passion for fashion and style. The love of everything vintage as well as vibrant colours resulted in the creation of Love Modern Vintage.
Every bag is woven by hand. The natural material is strong and durable and ‘smoked’ over coconut husks as part of the drying process, which adds beautiful patina and leaves the bag with a slight natural scent that disappears over time.
Love Modern Vintage is inspired by beautifully crafted products around the world which are discovered through travels by the owner. Their bags have a vintage feel to them and are beautifully crafted. They are both modern and retro.
Stand out with one of these unique pieces to add unique style to any outfit. Beautiful laptop bags, rattan bags, messenger bags and soon fashion available to purchase.
Love Modern Vintage strives to provide excellent service along with unique and affordable fashion pieces. They sell wholesale and retail.
As we celebrate the month of August, it is important to reflect on the achievements of women, and the imperative role that women of all races and religions have played and continue to play in South African society.
It is said that through thoughtful intention and design, God made women to be tender and nurturing. And that great women of faith have courageously pursued lives to glorify God, even through tragedy and trial.
In this feature, we shine a spotlight on Seopedi Ruth Motau, a veteran photographer and visual storyteller whose career spans over three decades. This piece is a recognition and appreciation of her work which illuminates the everyday battles women are fighting for mere survival. It pays particular attention to the narrative she immaculately illustrates through images, of women in their different places of worship.
Seemingly, Ruth has found that her work resonates with women as they commit more time to the kinds of activities portrayed in her photos. She also addresses the complicated relationships that women face in their domestic spaces. She has ventured into the remotest corners of South Africa and her photographs are nothing less than powerful expressions and depiction of women as prayer warriors. Her pictures also display the extremes of a woman’s life, the struggle to live their life on their own terms, starting from within their families, and permeating to every aspect of their existence in our society. While women play such an important role in the whole structure of our society, many still do not have equal opportunities.
Captured in black and white, for stronger textures and contrast, Ruth’s photographs bring out emotions more strongly, removing distractions from the images. Ruth creates and photographs imaginary worlds that debunk, critique, and despise claustrophobic expectations of domestic perfection. Her work is a critical look at how women continue to strive for perfection in their homes and selves, an unending, frustrating, and fruitless endeavour, in spite of modern-day life.
“I prefer black and white photographs because they bring out the richness and special tones. Even though the world is in colour, I love to interpret what I see in black and white. It is intimate! In my early years of photography, I was influenced by many photographers who worked in black and white and who captured images that will stay in my subconscious mind forever,” she says.
What is prevalent in these narratives, is the role of women in all societies. Ruth’s work speaks volumes about the reality of how home life can be overwhelming and complicated. Not only about the struggle to survive, but also of the celebration of life and culture. “I consider myself a social documentary photographer who records or documents social issues without prejudice or judgement around my surroundings,” she says.
Ruth was the first black female photographer who was employed by a South African newspaper as a photo editor and played a pivotal role as a photographer during the 90s. She worked as a photojournalist for newspapers and that shaped and gave her an opportunity to discover what she really wanted to do as a photographer.
“The stories I covered for the newspaper pictorially did not do justice, so I will go back and do some of the stories in a picture form. I cannot remember the first time I picked up the camera, but the first time when I put the photographic paper in the developer in the darkroom and saw an image coming from the paper, something in my spirit was ignited, and I knew then that photography was what I wanted to do,” she says.
“I am a creative person. I paint with light and that simply means that without light, I cannot create or make images. In photography, light is my biggest deal. I started photography at Alex art Centre and spent most of my three years at the Market Photo Workshop. With David Goldblatt as my mentor and teacher, his teaching was taking photographs without a flash. We used available light. I was influenced by the likes of Sebastiao Salgado, Yousuf Karsh, John Loengard, Brian Lanker, Don McCullin, Roy DeCarava, Santu Mofokeng, Guy Tillim, and Ernest Cole to mention a few. Sometimes I would point a camera to myself and the results would always amaze me,” she says.
Her impressive body of work includes the ‘Hostel and Shebeen Series’ which portray the general everyday hostel and shebeen life. “As a social documentary photographer from Meadowlands in Soweto, I grew up around hostels. When my father came to Johannesburg, he lived in Jeppe hostel. So, I was curious about the everyday activities and lives of the hostel dwellers. Shebeens were popular in the hostels and the images show most activities that transpire almost every day. Shebeens are a part of life to those who make a living from the income generated from selling alcohol to feed their families and they are mostly run by women,” she says.
Over the years, Ruth has captured many images that tell different stories and some of her work has been recognised and displayed at the National Museum of African Art. She proudly mentions this as a huge milestone and highlight of her career. “The National Museum of African Art bought my work as a collection and they are the only museum dedicated to the collection, exhibition, conservation, and study of the arts of Africa in the United States.
Even good photographers take bad pictures sometimes and Ruth is quick to admit this. “I have taken a lot of horrible pictures, but my worst experience was when I went on a student assignment to photograph the late Mr Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela for the first time and realised afterwards that I did not have a film in my camera. I never told anyone until later years,” she says.
Crowned Flair is a newly launched clothing brand by Thandi KaNkosi. Their clothing range includes various day-to-day looks that ooze elegance, authenticity, and flair. Crowned Flair aims to produce unique designs by adding a touch of royalty in their everyday wear. This is apparent in the brand’s quality fabrics which is a reflection of who they are. They make comfortable quality wear that is suitable for work, lunch dates, and meetings.
Royal philosophy runs through their collections like a golden thread. With Crowned Flair, you can be assured of high-quality women’s fashion in feminine cuts, perfect for fashionistas and businesswomen who go through life in a trend-conscious manner.
Crowned Flair’s collections are characterised by high quality and promise a contemporary and trend-conscious style, which is expressive and authentic at the same time. They pay attention to high-quality materials and workmanship to ensure that their fashion items offer superior comfort and the perfect fit.
The brand offers a wide range of products that cater to the needs of clients that are looking to experience luxury and comfort, in every area of their lives. The customer is the heart of their unique business model, which includes design, manufacturing, distribution, and sales.
Crowned Flair’s mission is to make luxury a lifestyle, rather than a once-off experience through garments. They envision being a proudly South African brand that offers locally manufactured products that are of good quality and are affordable.
Whether it’s expressive and playful or elegant and serious, you can refresh your look with Crowned Flair. Browse their Instagram to get inspiration from their styles and outfits. https://www.instagram.com/cf_fashion__/