Style is one of those things in life that cannot be bought. It cannot be forced. It is one of those things that simply shows itself.
Yves Saint Laurent famously said that, "Fashion fades, style is eternal." Style is not about following fleeting fads and trends, and possessing all the latest designer clothes. Style is timeless. It is unique to the individual. It is about self-expression, history, culture, innovation, self-esteem...
Fashionistas will not bend to fashion rules set out by fashion editors tucked away in their ivory towers.
They know what they want.
They are no longer buying into the "emperors' new clothes" doctrine; "just trust the experts and wear it whether you like it or not" philosophy. They want real clothes, and they want their attire to reflect their beliefs without having to utter a word. They want their garments to live in synchronicity with their core values.
I bring you the Philosophy of Style series of posts, detailing selected fashionistas' ideas on style.
Student, model, actor, TV presenter, commentator and entrepeneur. These are just some of the words that you can use to descibe Masego 'Maps' Maponyane.
Not only is Maps a rising star in the South African media scene, but there's also the small matter that he just happens to be the youngest nominee ever in GQ South Africa's Best Dressed Man 2011.
|Maps walking in the House of Ole Autumn/Winter 2011 show|
Zee Fashionista: How would you describe yourself in a paragraph?
Masego Maponyane: I would describe myself as outgoing, friendly, and ambitious. I am a natural multi-tasker that loves sports, fashion, and food; and time management is key to coping with my passions. I’m an absolute people’s person wth an open mind; I appreciate and speak several languages as well as have great interest in travelling and learning about the world’s different cultures.
ZF: Where did you grow up and how would describe how you were as a youth?
MM: I grew up in Protea South in the South of Johannesburg, South Africa until the age of 4, then my family moved to Naturena, which is also in the South, and then to Pretoria at the age of 16. I was highly mischevious, always causing trouble; I had my fair share of problems and my hyper active ways did not help my cause. I was never really confident but I eventually broke out of my shell. I’m still young now and still learning more and more about myself.
ZF: Is there something about yourself that people might not readily know?
MM: I had a stutter from the time I uttered my first words until the age of 12, and my greatest achievement was overcoming it. Other than that, I have an older brother who is six years older than me.
ZF: What do you think style is?
MM: Style to me is being able to find garments which you like, and accessories, or whatever is at your disposal and making them speak volumes about your personality. It’s the ability to find your own trend and wear it with confidence. Style is a skill and money alone cannot simply buy you style.
ZF: Who/What influences your style?
MM: Various cultures, people in the fashion industry, historical figures, and architecture influence my style. I like to look at all aspects of the world and our surroundings to put together what works best for me.
ZF: How does your style reflect your dreams/goals/lifestyle?
MM: No matter what I wear, I always like to make sure that it is neat, structured and looks presentable. At times I like to step out of my comfort zone and try something new by messing with how I would wear certain items, so that my style stays fresh and unpredictable. This definitely reflects my goals and lifestyle because I can wear a number of different styles in fashion, as I can hats in business. I’m very organized and I like to pay attention to detail. However, I always make time to have fun, be adventurous and take risks.
ZF: What do you think is the importance of defining your own style vs. just following trends?
MM: The most important thing is to use trends simply as a guideline and to draw your own conclusion from them. There are some great items and looks that come through in trends, but the key is selecting pieces that are timeless, which you can use for years to come and still keep them stylish and functional. Style requires you to arrange a look from a wide range of options and then to produce something different. No one likes to look like everyone else. We all have unique personalities and clothes are the best way to make them come to life.
ZF: What are the top 5 items in your wardrobe?
MM: My brown vintage leather jacket; brown Urban belt; Paul Smith formal shoes; Zara trousers (beige and blue); and v-neck t-shirts.
ZF: What is your winter style advice for men and women alike? MM: Layering, layering, layering, is extremely important. It’s the key thing that one needs to keep in mind about style. This is especially the case in the South African winter, which can be bitterly cold one moment (when in the shade), and uncomfortably hot the next, when under the rays of the sun. You need to be able to detach layers and still keep your look together - vests and coats make this a very simple task to get right. Try not be afraid of bringing some summer into your winter by not sticking solely to the conventional winter colours. A personal favourite colour I like to pop in the winter season is tan, but it’s also dependent on your skin tone.
ZF: What is your summer style advice for men and women alike?
MM: Men shouldn’t be afraid to wear shorter shorts than they would normally. By this I mean shorts above the knee and fitted. It’s a great look that can be worn up or down and looks great in bright colours and shades of blue. Blues and yellows, in particular, go very well together. Don’t forget the secret socks. Women always look great with bright nail varnishes, a pair of comfortable wedges or gladiator sandals, and those ever deceiving big sunglasses. If you can pull off deep/bright red lipsticks then take full advantage - it’s not easy.