Coping with Covid-19: Locking down DIY Fashion

I’m told that attempting to Do-It-Yourself when it comes to fashion, is not a good idea with no tangible experience.

My childhood Barbie might have something to say about that, but even I had my trepidation about trying to put something together DIY-style, with costly material – but alas, boredom!

As a recent fan of Dutch design house Iris Van Herpen (and a longtime admirer of soft, flowing long fashion designs that frame my silhouette to be even more statuesque) going through a reputable fabric store near my place a while ago, and discovering meters of silk satiny pleated material to finally bring a certain vision I’ve had to life, seemed serendipitous.

When I buy something, I do actually think about what else it would work with, within my existing wardrobe.

Dont be led astray by my mom saying I’m a willy-nilly shopper LOL!

When I bought this material, I did go through my mental catalogue, to discover that the material is well-matched to these long-ago purchased faux diamond earrings with an emerald.

I wear these earrings so rarely, but they seem to have gotten damaged, with the loss of 2 stones on both earrings.

…but I still wear them on occasion, because they remain impactful.

My wardrobe has always lacked for Maxi dresses. Unfortunately, being 5’11 means that what passes as the measure of maxi in retail, is a regular length dress for me.

When I visited my number one city, New York, for New York Fashion Week, I carefully curated my looks, to be striking, sophisticated, and proudly South African. I heeded my mission of making South African designers the focal point of my NYFW looks, including everything from refreshing daywear in jacquard print, to monochrome designs teamed with pops of warm colours.

One of the outfits that remains Top 3 among the looks I’ve styled myself in for an international fashion week, is the pleated black jumpsuit by Ruff Tung.

Besides being celebrated as one of the finest exciting South African brands producing exquisite and fun designs dedicated to bountiful forms, Ruff Tung has a masterful hand at draping to accentuate only the best parts of the wearer, as well as being adept at maximising materials length for the tall folk.

As a result of Ruff Tung‘s now signature flair, these pleated numbers are always foremost in my mind when I engage pleats.

Regarding the DIY project…

While on this mandated extended lockdown, I have been doing a few DIY projects trying not to lose my mind within my tight confines. From building storage (more about that to come) to trying to recreate restaurant brunch delights, it’s been interesting keeping this adult occupied.

The juniper-coloured meters long pleated fabric has been hanging on my clothing rails, taunting me for ages. So a few days ago, I got out my new fabric scissors, a needle and thread, and the hanger straps from an older green dress of mine…and got to work for 4 hours.

Obviously the result is still a little rough, but I kind of love that its not too refined. Had I had the skill & means, I would very much be drawing inspiration on form, fit and design, from Iris Van Herpen‘s effervescent wearable art.

My iteration is entirely wearable outside; And I’d love to make 5 more in different colours, so that I also have a transitional beach option. However, I think Cape Town folks might have a hard-on for pleats these past 2 seasons, because I cannot find the prettiest ones (more specifically in black) anywhere and in good time.

Anyway, what do you think of my efforts?

Random but: Attending the worlds most exclusive Fashion Weeks isn’t where my fashion life starts & stops. I still occasionally fall to the simple siren call of the now lacklustre ‘Fashion Bible’, one Vogue Magazine.

Pulling up random articles sometimes yields returns, as I noted pleats made their way back onto the runway, in a season they’re not even synonymous with. AW/20 collections saw pleats folded into trench bodices, and elegantly swaying upon wispy pants (i.e: Sandro’s outerwear remains remarkably fresh as a result of their pleat infusion).

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