Friday, August 28, 2009

Take Four - Nine Takes, The Fashion Fusion Project

“As a student I researched craft methods theoretically, and reworked fabrics and print techniques peculiar to various African cultures. The DAC Fashion Fusion Project put me in touch with a wealth of real skills to tap into and work with. It is incredibly inspiring. Everyone normally does what he or she loves to do, and so we feed off each other’s creative energy. It’s all about utilising craft to change the face of a fabric and make something lasting. I would break down a design and give each crafter a component to work on. Then, to everyone’s amazement, we would put the elements together to produce the embellishment on the garment. So the craft wasn’t complicated and I could control the process and create a new interpretation. You start with one thing and a crafter sewing the first structure, which may appear more beautiful than the finished product, sparks an idea of how to use it another way. So the ideas flow. Crafting is a realm you can get lost in and you have to be subtle as to how you apply craft. It is difficult to explain what quality you need, and then communicate it to people who do not see the end product as a luxury article for a European market.” – designer Terrence Bray

“I learnt beading from my older sister and people on the farm near Durban where I grew up. I learnt by copying and looking at things I liked. I make all sorts of things thatI sell at the market. For Terrence, I do what he asks and follow his instructions.He then applies it to his dresses. At Sanlam South African Fashion Week I saw the dresses and I liked them so much. Once, I showed him my bags and other products. He took an element and changed it into his style. It was so different. I couldn’t imagine it like that. It was something new I hadn’t seen before.” – crafter Nellie Mkwali

Extract taken from nineTAKES – The Fashion Fusion Project, published by Channel F Publishing, R200. Available: or on 011 442 7812

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