vintage zionist x afropunk at sa fashion week

October 31, 2017
By Christa Dee / Bubblegum Club*, AFROPUNK Contributor

Seated next to the catwalk, watching the girls in black dresses remove the black sheets covering the runway, we waited for the rituals signaling the fashion-show is about to start: lights dimming, music starting to play through the speakers. To our surprise, three men in white t-shirts with rolled sleeves walked across the runway to take their positions with drums, a mic and an electric guitar set up on the side. From the get-go, everyone gathered recognized that an electric energy would flow through the room. The drummer tapped his drumsticks together and we were ready to rock and roll.

As the vibrations from the live music met our feet, the first model walked out with badass, dark-cherry lips and messy hair, wearing black jeans and a long, tan coat, and Vintage Zionist began hitting us with their AW18 collection. Leopard print, leather jackets, skinny jeans and torn white t-shirts have never looked this good. Their fitted jackets with extra-long sleeves swirled the guitar riffs in the air, each model marching a determined, Dr. Martens stride. Our eyes were continuously teased by garments hanging off shoulders, with pops of color unusual for the Vintage Zionist brand.

We were only given a moment to catch our breath before the screen behind the runway came to life again. Mimicking the fuzzy texture that appears on a signal-less television, grey and black glitches jumped across the screen in between AFROPUNK and Vintage Zionist logo treatments. The lights dimmed once again and we were transported into an AFROPUNK-inspired fashion dream. Hardcore punk guided the models, as we were introduced to the magic that can be made with denim and recycled leather. Garments were accessorized with earrings and tongue rings, making an immediate connection to the imagined wearer of the clothing.

Oscar Ncube, one half of the Vintage Zionist design team, explained that the AFROPUNK collection could be viewed as a history lesson. The original punks – tribesmen and women from Africa – were referenced in images of people with large lip rings and patterned scarification placed on t-shirts. The words ‘stay punk’ emphasized how that aesthetic was derived from men and women from the continent. Continuing the history lesson, the collection paid homage to the likes of Chuck Berry, Jimi Hendrix and Little Richard, black icons who created the rock and roll sound. This awareness of black cultural influence carried through the entire show.

Embracing DIY culture in fashion, Hendrix lyrics were written all over items of clothing, a reflection on the importance of self-expression. The word AFROPUNK, among others, was tagged across garments, bringing to mind the influence of graffiti and notions of making art accessible. Ripped black denim was seen alongside fish-net dungaree dresses, accented with silver studs while Leather tassels danced around the models’ backs.

Music. Fashion. Art. The potency of this combination results in the ultimate rock and roll uniform compounded by the aesthetic similarities between AFROPUNK and Vintage Zionist.


Photos by Jamal Nxedlana


* This post is in partnership with Bubblegum Club