38 of 2023

Newsletter No 38/29 September 2023                              


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Uniq opens 10th store, introducing first Spring/Summer range

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Offering clothing for the whole family, Uniq focusses on simplicity, comfort, superior textiles and value and has opened its 10th Uniq store in Rosebank Mall, just in time to launch the clothing brand’s first Spring/Summer collection.

The new collection is a fresh take on resort-style wear with a focus on luxurious fabrics such as 100% pure linen and cotton providing effortless style and ultimate comfort for sunny days. Every item of clothing is thoughtfully designed and made to last, pairing durable fabrics with classic and timeless designs, that include:

Cool, breezy pieces for men and women that can be easily mixed and matched for stylish everyday outfits – from crisp linen shirts and shorts to chic dresses and versatile tees in a range of colours.

An extensive collection of T-shirts in a variety of silhouettes including regular, fitted, boxy, oversized and relaxed.

Girls’ stylish summer dresses in fun prints and colours, perfect for play and everyday adventures.

Comfy kiddies’ basics (ages 3 – 13) made from 100% cotton available in a range of colours, providing endless options for preschool and weekend wear.

Uniq also stocks underwear that includes boxers, trunk shorts, panties and bras.

Fabrics have been specifically selected for comfort and convenience and is reportedly the first local clothing retailer to introduce Supima cotton to the mass market. With longer fibres than regular cotton, this cotton is softer and twice as strong as regular cotton for extra longevity, keeping clothing lustrous even after many washes.

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The nine other standalone Uniq stores across the country are:

Canal Walk (Cape Town, Western Cape)

Ballito Junction Mall (Ballito, KwaZulu-Natal)

Secunda Mall (Secunda, Mpumalanga)

Table Bay Mall (Cape Town, Western Cape)

Mall@Reds Shopping Centre (Pretoria, Gauteng)

The Grove Mall (Pretoria, Gauteng)

Galleria Mall (Amanzimtoti, KwaZulu-Natal)

Dainfern Square (Dainfern, Gauteng)

Menlyn Park (Pretoria, Gauteng)

Eight more stores are expected to open before the end of this year.  Bizcommunity

Denim diaries

By Sahil Harilal

Maarten Baas. Image: Supplied

We travel to Milan to chat to world-renowned artist Maarten Baas about his “More or Less” exhibition in collaboration with G-Star RAW

Sahil Harilal: Your art has a wonderful sense of rebellion, witty and humorous in nature — how important is humour in conveying a message about sustainability?

Maarten Baas: To answer a question seriously about humour is rather humorous in itself, don’t you think?

In general, I have a tendency toward humour; even if I look at the art in my own home, there’s always a certain light-heartedness to it. I think it can give relevance to heavier subjects, and can act as a mirror for us to ask the question, “Can we see ourselves here?” The duality of flying to Milan to talk about sustainability! Apart from that, it can make people smile, exhale, and relieve stress from certain subjects.

SH: What does it mean to work with a company whose philosophy is encapsulated by “The Art of Denim”? What common sensibilities do your art and G-Star RAW share?

MB: “The Art of Denim” already tells me that they approach denim from an artistic perspective. G-Star RAW has a history of collaborations with very good artists, and I wanted to be part of this lineage of other artists I admire. Their product, denim jeans — everybody wears it, everyone loves it, young and old, men and women, everybody can wear jeans, [they’re] very accessible and democratic — that’s something G-Star RAW and I have in common. I don’t want to make abstract art, I also strive to make my work accessible.

SH: In the “More or Less” exhibition, the dichotomy of the “desire for more and the need for less” is examined, which echoes the foundations of the “slow fashion” movement (abandoning trends in favour of garments created to last decades). How can slow-fashion principles be applied to art or how we consume art?

MB: For me as an artist, that’s not a subject. I see it as my job as an artist to make an artistic statement about things, in this case about working with denim. I know G-Star RAW places a lot of emphasis on denim conservation and repair, but I don’t see that as my task to think about.

SH: In your graduation project “Where There’s Smoke”, beauty is found in transformation, from an item’s original, perfect state to a new (still recognisable) burnt state. How did you adapt the themes of transformation and metamorphosis in the “More or Less” exhibition?

MB: It is also a take on “less is more”. Everyone knows this slogan and I like to play with that by saying “More or Less”. It is, of course, the transformation of jeans — it started out as jeans and ended up as granulated board material, out of which I made [a] jean shape, in which you can store your jeans (again). We’ve come full circle, we started with jeans and ended with a jean shape — that echoes “Where There’s Smoke”, in which a recognisable shape is reappropriated.

SH: The “Carapace” series is a wonderful allegory for clothing; “a patchwork of hard skin protecting a soft body” and “protection in harmony with the beautiful”. How did working on this series help you to conceptualise pieces for “More or Less”?

MB: [In reference to the denim-covered plane] Indeed, it became sort of a second skin, this patchwork of differently coloured jeans. Technically, the “Carapace” series was made with patchwork and little studs. In this case, the nails refer to jeans and to an airplane, as airplanes are also made with those little nails, so it can apply to both worlds, really. 

The Growth of Sustainable Fashion in Africa

The sustainability movement has taken off worldwide, and the African continent is struggling to keep pace.

There are over a billion people living on the continent of Africa, and not nearly enough accessible, sustainable fashion options to meet demand. This post will explore the reasons for the stunted growth of the sustainability movement in Africa, and why eco-friendly brands should shift their focus to the growing African population.

The Current State of Sustainable Fashion

At the moment, Africa’s most abundant source for clothing is China, and those garments tend to be cheaply produced and lower in quality. Though there are many large, thriving cities on the continent, there are also a lot of impoverished areas. The population with fewer resources has created a demand for low-cost clothing, and China has delivered with less-expensive… less durable items.

That isn’t to say that sustainable fashion brands are non existent in Africa. There are definitely some brands that have infiltrated Africa’s fashion market in various urban areas of the continent. But the problem with these items begins with their scarcity and ends with the higher cost. The perceived lower-demand for sustainable items has lead to both lower market penetration, and unfortunately high prices. But this isn’t going to be the end of the story.

Sustainability Found in Second-Hand Clothing

The statistics surrounding Africa’s second-hand clothing market, however, are staggering. An estimated 80% of all people in Africa wear second-hand clothes according to an article from the African Exponent. This is especially true in Ghana, Benin, and Kenya. These three countries receive a bounty of used clothing from all over the world. This is clothing that would have otherwise ended up in landfills in the United States (mostly), or other more economically affluent countries. Because these clothes are, instead, repurposed, it’s by definition an eco-friendly option.

But with all of the second-hand clothing entering the country, local clothing industries have suffered. Those looking for low-cost clothing can’t do any better than the second hand imports. But that means that local brands can’t compete with the fierce competition. The problem is so prevalent, in fact, that some countries are considering banning second-hand imports. A chairperson from the Worldwide African Congress reportedly told CNN that “after 50 years of independence, our country, Uganda, and other African countries, should have the ability to produce and manufacture certain things, like clothing, locally.” The idea is still controversial.

The debate stems from the fact that most areas of the continent cannot actually produce enough clothing for all of Africa’s residents without the affordable, second-hand supplements. Regardless of the presence of the (accidentally) sustainable used imports, many think it’s time for African markets to accept and capitalize on the sustainable fashion industry in a way they previously haven’t.

The Need for Amped-Up Sustainable Fashion Growth in Africa

There are a lot of challenges facing many countries in Africa. Because of this, the fashion industry has not historically taken center-stage when pitted against the need for food, healthcare, and housing. But there is something that many of these issues have in common: the link to climate change. Climate change has had an impact on every challenge that the African continent has dealt with. And what industry has contributed to climate change in a BIG way in the past decade?

The fashion industry

The fashion industry contributes an estimated 10% of all the greenhouse gas emissions on earth. That is a significant number. The industry also absorbs an incredible amount of resources, including both water and energy, though most people are not aware of this high cost. Furthermore, the fashion industry is one of the biggest sources of pollution on the planet. So whether or not policymakers in Africa make the connection, the need for sustainable fashion in Africa definitely exists.

Many sustainable fashion brands are smaller companies with less disposable resources, making marketing in the tougher African fashion scene difficult. The resources simply are not there. But a profitable market for ethical fashion definitely exists in Africa, and it will sit, ready to be taken over, until a handful of brave brands step in.

Though there will always be impoverished pockets in Africa, the growth of the middle and upper classes has been significant. Both South Africa and Kenya are ripe for the infiltration of luxury brands. But many players in the sustainable fashion scene are not aware of the rich group of Africans ready to invest in ethical fashion.

The issues of education exist both with African buyers and ethical brands. Brands need to be shown the exciting possibilities for growth in Africa. Consumers on the African continent need to see the importance of their investment in eco-friendly clothing options, and the connection this investment has to the food and health-related difficulties Africa faces.  F2F

Hurley – Where Craftsmanship meets Surf Culture

By Zay-yaan Martin

Hurley, the renowned fashion brand known for its dedication to quality and innovation, proudly announces the launch of the highly anticipated Bondi Collection.

This collection represents a fusion of artisanal craftsmanship and environmental responsibility coupled with unparalleled style. It draws inspiration from the rich heritage of traditional Hawaiian surfing on wooden boards – paying homage to an integral part of surf culture.

In the heart of Hurley’s atelier, artisans have encapsulated the essence of The Bondi Collection in every stitch – bringing to life the passion, authenticity, and quality of the collection.

The Bondi Collection offers a range of essential items for beach lovers. Through continuing their dedication to sustainability, the collection offers items from organic cotton t-shirts to boardshorts made from recycled plastic bottles and quick-dry 4-way stretch headwear, each piece blends style with environmental responsibility. Not forgetting the cosy, fleece jacket that’s lined with polar fabric designed to provide absolute warmth and comfort. The perfect go-to essential after a day at the beach.

If you’re an experienced surfer seeking practical attire or a fashion-conscious individual aiming to express themselves, delve into The Bondi Collection. Discover its natural khaki hues, envelop yourself in the comforting warmth of a snug fleece lined with cosy polar material, and slip into the essential beachwear that captures the essence of Hawaii’s timeless coastlines, where adventure and fashion effortlessly come together.

Shop your favorite essential beach items and be part of this remarkable celebration of craftsmanship, sustainability, and style. The Bondi Collection is now available for purchase both in-store and online at www.hurley.co.za.

Fashion, Lifestyle, Trends

The difference between two nominal clothing sizes is approximately ten to fifteen poundsThe difference between two nominal clothing sizes is approximately ten to fifteen pounds.


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