Style Radar: Javan Sokoni Mutale

This week our style radar picked up on Javan Sokoni Mutale, a Zambian street style aficionado, whose look denotes both flexibility and simplicity. We delved deeper into how this blogger’s style defines him as well as the fashion rules he lives by.

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Javan is the epitome of the modern-day, urban gentleman, with looks that leave a lasting impression. And this is one of the things he enjoys most about fashion – the statement that clothing can make about a person.

“What I like about fashion? All I can say is I love to dress up, I love to look the best. An outfit says a lot about someone you meet for the first time,” he says.

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His ideal look is one which couples versatility with simplicity, leaning primarily towards urban or street style.

“I love street style outfits. My style speaks versatility in everything I wear. But in as much as I like to be versatile, I’m a minimalistic dresser. Looking great doesn’t really need lots of accessories and layers of clothing, looking great just requires you to have the wardrobe essentials like a basic white tee and a basic black tee.”

These are the principles governing Javan’s outfit choices which result in clean, comfortable ensembles that turn heads. This fashion blogger also finds that the price tag doesn’t necessarily make or break an outfit. Rather,  it’s all in the styling.

He remarks, “most people think looking great requires you to have expensive clothing when in actual fact, the affordable clothing can be styled as good as the expensive ones.”

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Sticking with his fancy for simplicity, Javan’s current fashion obsession  is a basic white t-shit, paired with slim-fitting jeans, and a pair of sneakers – preferably ones donning the iconic three stripes – to top it all off. Of late, Javan has found that accessories play a key role in tying together the minimalistic look:

“I recently just realized accessories are important for minimalistic outfits. A simple wrist watch with leather straps and a necklace can make an outfit standout, not forgetting a pair of shades for confidence,” he explains.

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When we asked Javan which designer or design house he’d like to be his personal tailor he couldn’t settle on a single name.

“I love a lot of brands when it comes to clothing and given a chance to choose a brand as my personal tailor, I would pick Tom Ford for my formal wear even though I haven’t really gotten into wearing suits [that] often.” 

When he does wear a suit, he opts for darker-colours and slimmer fits but expressed that he’s open to the idea of wearing bolder colours too: “I would wear a burgundy suit because I love to stand out.”

For everyday casual wear, Javan says, “I would definitely pick Relay Jeans, the South African brand. Relay Jeans has a variety of great quality clothing to pick from. Its (sic) fabric is usually soft and comfortable for their tees and [they have] really durable jeans.’

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Javan’s ability to put together a great look can’t go unnoticed. His tactful and fashion-forward approach to dressing is something that any man who is struggling fashion-wise could easily emulate. His look is the embodiment of sleek and stylish simplicity. It’s unfussy without being boring and on-trend without being pretentious. And that’s why we’re loving his style!

 


You can follow Javan’s fashion journey on Instagram: @javan_blog.zm.

 

Style radar: Norealda Cronje

On my style radar this week is Norealda Cronje who stays serving up looks in a range of beautiful bohemian-esque ensembles. I asked this lovely lady a few short questions about what/who inspires her style and love for fashion.

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Norealda expressed that what she enjoys most about fashion is that it enables her to showcase who she is through what she’s wearing and the incredible feeling she gets from putting a good look together. “[Fashion] allows me to express who I am through my personal style,” she said. And this fashionista certainly knows how to make a statement in her fetching 70s-style fashion which features whimsical silhouettes, knee-high boots, fun floppy hats, statement dangle earrings and playful prints. Norealda also switches it up quite regularly between different hairstyles with great ease and always has her hair neatly coiffed, whether she’s styled it in a sleek bob, shoulder-length box braids, soft wavy curls or a little bun.

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When asked about her current fashion obsession Norealda emphatically responded, “prints!!! [I] love any print especially floral and African-inspired prints.” She does indeed have quite the collection of fabulous flowery prints and joyful geometric patterns. And with her incredible accessorizing skills, she seems to have perfected the art of styling as is evident from the range of charming little handbags, shoes and earrings that complement her clothing so well.

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Given a chance, Norealda would love to raid the closet of the very talented and gorgeous Zoë Kravitz because “her effortless chic is incomparable. It never looks like she put any effort into anything that she wears yet she always looks absolutely amazing.” In many ways, Norealda’s style choices ooze the same kind of cool confidence as the quirky, pint-sized fashion dynamo that is Miss Kravitz. And like this Hollywood starlet, Norealda’s look has a lovely ease and elegance to it.

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Norealda epitomizes modern-day, 70s-inspired, country chic in her cute and carefree ensembles. Whether she’s rocking an LBD and boots or a billowy, boho-chic jumpsuit and wedges her look stays polished. On what inspires this look, she remarked, “comfortability (sic) inspires my style, I have to be comfortable with what I wear to feel confident.” It’s no surprise then that her number one rule for keeping it cute with her fashion is: “you always have to be comfortable in the the skin that you are in, regardless. If you’re wearing an expensive/extravagant garment or slacks, you will only exude confidence once you are comfortable.”

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Hello 2019!!

Happy New Year everyone! 2018 was a thrilling year for Urban Afro Concept (UAC), full of much growth, interesting opportunities and important lessons. It’s been a year of ups and downs, but mostly ups, with a number of changes which we hope will make for an exciting 2019.

New year, new look

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Early last year, this style blog (and now online store) took on a new look and name. I’d wanted to give the blog a face-lift for some time but I wasn’t quite sure how to achieve that without changing the feel of the blog so drastically. I ultimately decided to swap out ‘Urban Afro Gypsy’ for ‘Urban Afro Concept.’ The sleek new logo, designed by my brother, Chileshe, and new name are a reflection of my own personal style as well as everything the UAC blog and jewellery collection symbolizes for me – Afro-urban chic, sophisticated simplicity and African elegance. The change signified a new chapter in the life of this blog and gave rise to a some of the other changes that took place over 2018.

Nonetheless, the biggest motivator behind the name change was a blog post I read on the Wrapsody LLC website  in which the owner –  who identifies as a Hungarian Gypsy – explains why she formally scrapped the original business name, ‘Gypsy Mama’. The word ‘gypsy’ is a pejorative term loaded with a myriad of negative connotations and has been used as a racial slur by many people in Europe over the years. Of course, I meant no disrespect whatsoever in incorporating the term into the name of my blog but naively likened some aspects of the Roma culture to my upbringing as an African third culture kid or ‘cultural nomad’. After conducting more extensive research, which I  admittedly should have done beforehand, I made the decision to drop the ‘gypsy’. I sincerely apologise to anyone who was offended by the old name. I made a grave mistake and have certainly learnt a great deal from the experience.

Launching the online store

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Another major change in 2018 was the launch of the UAC website plus online store in August. When I first began making jewellery in 2011, I never envisioned that things would get to this level. The site and store provide a convenient location for customers to get some of the hand-crafted gems that comprise the UAC collection and place orders for custom jewellery and accessories. The launch also saw the introduction of some new styles and different kinds of accessories in the collection including large wax print necklaces, beaded necklaces and bracelets for both men and women as well as rings and new styles of mixed-media earrings.

Custom jewellery

My jewellery-making skills grew and continued to grow throughout 2018. I’d taken on some exciting custom orders which challenged me creatively and gave me a chance to expand my repertoire. This is one of my absolute favourite aspects of the business because not only is it so much fun, it’s also such a wonderful feeling to see a customer wear and love something I created with by my own hand.

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What’s to come in 2019…

Since its inception the Urban Afro Concept blog and accessories line has been constantly expanding. 2018 has been its strongest year so far and saw it reach levels that exceeded my humble expectations. With all the changes UAC has undergone over the past year I’m still, admittedly, finding my feet. But I look forward to what 2019 will bring. One thing I’m looking forward to in particular is continuing to collaborate with my mother, Chimba, who is the designer and founder of Ethnique-Afrika. She’s been a great inspiration to me creatively as well as my biggest supporter and throughout last year, we embarked on a few small business projects together. I’m hoping to continue working with her to create more African-inspired custom fashion and accessories on a larger scale. I have high hopes for this year.

In closing, also want to say how very thankful I am to UAC fans for their loyalty and support. I would have never been able to achieve any of this without it. I’m super stoked for the year ahead and wish you all the best for it!

Here’s to a productive, positive and prosperous 2019!

Black Friday deals!!!

Shop Urban Afro Concept online for awesome Black Friday specials on the adorable African-inspired accessories on offer! Sale ends 27 November 2018. Get adjustable rings,  stud earrings, beaded necklaces for men and women as well as gorgeous dangle earrings.

We’re also offering our customers a voucher to get 30% off*  their purchase. Simply enter the code on the voucher to claim your discount.

Also, subscribe to this blog to get R50 off** your first purchase. WordPress subscribers can drop us an email (urbanafroconcept@gmail.com) to claim their voucher. T’s and C’s apply.

Get FREE SHIPPING for local orders over R250 (within South Africa) and free shipping for international orders over R450.

So please do check out the store and get in touch with us if you have any queries, comments, suggestions or just feel like saying hi!

Happy shopping! Have an incredible weekend!


* 30% off purchases of R50 or more. Voucher is valid until 31 January 2019 and can only be used once. It cannot be redeemed against items already on special or sale. Terms and conditions apply. 

**R50 off purchases of R150 or more. By clicking “Follow” you are accepting our Terms & Conditions. This voucher is issued for the first time you subscribe only. Voucher is valid for 30 days and cannot be redeemed against items already on special or sale.

Style radar: Wandi Ngema

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On my style radar this week is the adorable Wandi Ngema who regularly keeps it cute and classy in a series of sweet and chic ensembles. I asked her a few questions to know more about what inspires her style and what she enjoys most about fashion.

Summing up her style as “fun, classic and elegant,” Wandi’s biggest fashion inspiration comes from the minimalist yet stylish looks of the incomparable Victoria Beckham, which she describes as “neat, elegant and timeless pieces, perfect for the modern woman.” Like Posh Spice, Wandi has a flair for making simple silhouettes and patterns exciting through the interesting details in the clothing – a pop of colour here, a fun print there, fraying or fringe. She also knows how to combine these pieces in a way that is sophisticated yet cool, chilled yet polished.

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When asked which designer, local or international, she’d hired as her personal tailor, Wandi tells me that what she calls her “obsession” with African print would have her keep it local with South African design house, Khosi Nkosi. This award-winning brand has numerous pieces made with African wax print fabric in its collection. “What I love most about her designs is that they’re timeless,” she says of designer and founder Nobukhosi Nkosi. Wandi’s support for locally-made fashion doesn’t just end there. She says a black wrap dress she purchased from Cape Town-based Koibito Kibun is one of her favourite items of clothing in her wardrobe due to its versatility. “On weekends I wear it with sandals and during the week I can wear it to the office with matching heels.” In the photo below she’s sporting a pretty monochrome tunic dress by the same brand.

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What I adore most about Wandi’s style is its beautiful ease and simplicity. This lovely lady effortlessly switches it up between playful elegance and work-smart chic. She always looks neat and well put together. Although Mrs. Beckham is her style muse, Wandi has her own unique fashion point of view and I’m a huge fan!