Fun Fashion Fact Friday: Dressing Dolls

Dsqaured2, Spring/Summer 2013, menswear.

Dsqaured2, Spring/Summer 2013, menswear.

Fashion designers did not used to cast models to show their designs. Before the 19th Century all designers dressed dolls in miniature versions of their designs to show to customers. It is absurd, because now the fashion industry thrives on models to portray their designs, in ways of representing the type of woman or man their clothing characterises. Now modelling is one of the biggest businesses in the fashion world and models are more than just moving mannequins. Lauren Milligan, for Vogue UK, writes about the DSquared male models here. I liked this article.



Colour Code Tuesday: Under Where?

Under Where?, Essie Resort 2013 Spring collection.

Under Where?, Essie Resort 2013 Spring collection.

The nail polish brand, Essie, has recently launched its new resort collection for Spring 2013. All four colours are so young and vivacious. Essie has long been my personal favourite nail polish to use; it coats nails very well, and always has a salon finish. The colours are spot-on and the collections are always on trend.

This is the hem of Orchid Purple.

The purple colour of the new collection is called “Under Where?” and is Orchid Purple – originating from the colour of a purple orchid flower.


Fun Fashion Fact Friday: Vintage versus retro

Any item of clothing from 1920 to 1960 is considered vintage.
Any item of clothing thereafter 1960 is considered retro.

Prada SS 2012 ad campaign. Photographed by: Steven Meisel.

Prada SS 2012 ad campaign. Photographed by: Steven Meisel.

Many designers and household brands have taken to draw back on the styles of both the retro and vintage eras. More recently, Prada’s Spring Summer Campaign for women’s wear in 2012 was inspired by retro wear from the 70s. The photographs are amazing and so is the video campaign – pure brilliance.


Assignment: feature article

Durban University of Technology fashion graduate now successful local designer, Ludwig Bezuidenhout, showcasing his collection at The 031 Collection in Durban, 22 May 2011. Photographed by: Fei

Durban University of Technology fashion graduate now successful local designer, Ludwig Bezuidenhout, showcasing his collection at The 031 Collection in Durban, 22 May 2011.
Photographed by: Fei

Over-looked and Overlocked

Excitement is in the air while waiting for the Skype ringtone to play. A feeling of joy and anticipation to hear my friend’s voice comes over me. Minutes pass and still no ringtone. I am wondering if she is coming back from class or eating dinner. Then, her face pops up on my laptop’s screen with the accompanying Skype ringtone. Like the speed of sound, my finger moves to click “answer” and her warm “hi Fei” greets me.

Blaire (21-year-old), like many young South Africans today, has realistic dreams and ambitions. These dreams are often influenced by the exposure we get to the rest of the world in addition to our own country. We are privileged enough to live in a country that is not a 1st world one, but also has the resources and facilities of one. Lifestyles here are often better, speaking for the middle to upper class households, where families are fortunate enough to get access to simple things like DSTV and the internet, to go places that are heard and spoken about, and to shop happily with the current season’s trends. This is the case for Blaire.

Blaire has always been the on-trend young lady. Always conscious about appearance and presenting herself well. This is just another quality that is admirable of her. There was never a doubt that she would not want to study or be a part of the fashion industry in any way. “I want to become a fashion designer or a buyer”, Blaire said.

Today she is still studying fashion design at the Durban University of Technology, and is enjoying it very much. While we were speaking she always had a grin on her face, and genuinely enjoyed telling me about her degree thus far. I found it awesome and found myself glad for her that she loves what she has chosen to study. “We have sewing and we have patterns and we have drawing and illustrations” Blaire told me. This is just the beginning. She went further on to explain that they learn how bigger production lines work by scanning in designs and altering the patterns’ sizes. “Mood boards and story boards are fun and arty” she said. The joy she finds in merely the production of fashion excites me, knowing that whether she becomes a designer or a buyer, South Africa will have produced a driven and inspired young lady.

“One of our projects that we have to do is for SA [South Africa] Fashion Week”, Blaire said, “we have to enter the competition [held by the South African Fashion Week Council] and if you come in the top 10, then you get to be shown at SA Fashion Week.” The fashion colleges in South Africa are all highly successful in providing opportunities.

“It’s quite cool because it kind of gives us a platform to get noticed”, she said. It is great to see that even a government university, versus a private fashion school, reaches out and allows students to gain world-class experiences.

Challenging young, innovative minds is always in the criteria in the fashion industry nowadays. Competition is heightened and it is more difficult to standout. “The topic is transforming. While they [the models] wear it [the students’ designs] on the runway it has to be a dress that turns into a skirt and while they walk down the runway they have to change”, she giggled, “it’s quite hectic”.

South African fashion scholars do not even need to go far and spend excessive money on education, where one can simply get a somewhat more heightened experience and education from a technikon, like the Durban University of Technology. “The third year DUT [students], as one of your projects you have to do it [the annual Durban July Fashion Show]”, she explained, “and mostly the people from DUT win every year”.

From under the delight of talking about success in DUT, a slight hesitation occurred in her voice when I asked her about the frequency of opportunities within South Africa and whether it impairs her own ways of gaining experience. However she told me, “I went to an event in Joburg [Johannesburg] for Mr.Price”, she said, “It was so random I won a competition and I got to go to one of their events”. Elated again, she went on to tell me about a meet and greet with a designer from London who showcased at London and New York Fashion Week.

It is evident that passion is real here. Blaire has a yearning for a successful career in fashion, like many other young South African fashion scholars. Taste is essential, so is vision, but what the South African fashion industry seems to be lacking is a reliable foundation and support system for the youth to build on. Why must we flee the country to become a success when we have the resources here? Is it that our fellow fashion lovers do not give enough respect? Or is it that we do not have confidence in our own? It is all of the above. What we must strive for is to split the seams and break through the doubtful.

Colour Code Tuesday: It’s a fiesta!

Ready-to-wear Fall/Winter 2013, DVF, New York Fashion Week 2013.

Ready-to-wear Fall/Winter 2013, DVF, New York Fashion Week 2013.

This colour is a vibrant, energetic and effervescent colour. It is called “Mexican Pink”, deriving from the colour used by artisans in Mexico, for clothing, fine arts and crafts. The common English name for this colour is “Mexican Rose”.

Mexican Pink became famous through journalist, multi-dimensional artist, and fashion designer, Ramon Valdiosera, during the mid 1940s.



Fun Fashion Fact Friday: Work Wear Turn Staple Item

Levi Strauss was a German businessman. During the California Gold Rush, Levi Strauss produced denim working pants for the people. Still to this day, Levi’s jeans remain to be the largest jeans producer in the world.

Levi's jeans and clothing for women, men and kids.

Levi’s jeans and clothing for women, men and kids.



Colour Code Tuesday: Portland Orange

Emma Stone, front row, in Calvin Klein Portland Orange shift dress, at the Calvin Klein Spring/Summer 2013 fashion show.

Emma Stone, front row, in Calvin Klein Portland Orange shift dress, at the Calvin Klein Spring/Summer 2013 fashion show.

This orange is a vibrant, dramatic and dense colour. Though some may find orange a difficult colour to wear, this orange is solid and deep, which most looks can be complimented with. It just takes some time to accept the outstanding colour.

This is the hem of “Portland Orange”.

“Portland Orange” is the unique orange colour which illuminates on the “DON’T WALK” traffic signs in the United States. This specific colour is consistent throughout all the signs and is federally controlled.


Assignment: News Analysis

IOL , News24 and the Huffington Post (U.S. edition) all published news articles concerning our iconic, former President, Nelson Mandela’s readmission into hospital for pneumonia this past week, with the United States President Barack Obama sending his best wishes, thoughts and prayers. With the aid of key terms in journalism, the three news articles will be analysed and comprehended.

Bull (2010, p. 10) states that news is “factual information that is new to its audience. It must be relevant to, and affect, that audience. It is about people. It often involves conflict, is dramatic and out of the ordinary. It can be something someone doesn’t want reported. It gets stale very quickly”.

The IOL news article features a photograph of Mandela in one of his more frail states. This instantly draws attention to and renders the audiences’ emotions sombre. In addition to the title of the news article, “Obama Wishes Mandela Well”, readers will respond positively to Obama’s action. The readers of South Africa, who are the main viewers of the IOL news site, will become grateful and touched that Obama is being thoughtful and kind. Moreover, the international readers and mostly those from the United States will be patriotic and have pride in their president’s thoughtful wishes for a Nobel man. Jamieson and Campbell (2001, p. 233) said that “hard news is personalised and individualised because such stories create wide audience identification.”

As one begins to read this particular article, the reader becomes even more indebted to the United States President, Barack Obama, since the article is written in his light. Priming is thus evident. Scheufele and Tewksbury (2007, p. 11) state that priming “occurs when news content suggests to news audiences that they ought to use specific issues as benchmarks for evaluating the performance of leaders and governments.” In fact, it is almost as if the hardship of Nelson Mandela is an opportunity for Barack Obama to, yet again, be seen or heard of doing something admirable. This is seen to be true, since later in the article factual evidence is used to liken the current United States President and the former South African President, as both became their country’s’ “first black president”.

On the other hand, throughout this article facts also show off the greatness of Nelson Mandela, through the subliminally written greatness of Barack Obama. These optimistic quotes referring to Mandela are sourced from reporters within the White House, quoting what Obama had stated during a meeting with other African leaders.

The structure of the article is simple and straightforward. The introduction highlights Mandela’s present illness, Obama’s best wishes for him and even Mandela’s most famed role. Thereafter, the content of the news article is substance full of exactly what the title insinuates, plus the value which Obama’s wishes for Mandela holds; their similarities and the relationship between their continents.

The overall layout of this news article’s webpage is not too distracting, and is rather simple to read. On the top left corner, just under the news headline, further related news articles are suggested subtly which also wish Nelson Mandela a smooth recovery.

Scheufele and Tewksbury (2007, p. 11) state that “agenda setting refers to the idea that there is a strong correlation between the emphasis that mass media place on certain issues.” Initially, when a reader scans across the news24 webpage of this news article, a serious sentiment is evoked from the reader. The majority of readers of this news article will be South African or residing in South Africa, since News24 is South Africa’s rapid, leading news source.

The headline reads “Obama ‘deeply concerned’ for Mandela”, and as the eye moves naturally toward the right hand side of the page, it meets up with a portrait photograph of a sculpture of Mandela, with a pondering look on his face. This is all cleverly chosen and laid out on the page. News24 is intelligent in this regard, as often their news articles are produced rapidly as they are the leading source for fast, reliable news, thus sharp layouts are vital to producing an overall, good journalistic article.

Once again, this news article’s structure is similar to the IOL news article mentioned above, as they both follow a simple and straightforward approach to laying out facts and introducing the main people in discussion. Their ways of writing tell of fast news. It is factual and concise, while at the same time giving to the readers all that they have got.

Once again priming is used. Priming is often referred to as the extension of agenda setting. This News24 news article reinforces that it is South African by relating the United States President based story to the South African President – President Jacob Zuma is mentioned at the end expressing to the nation and the world his reflection of Mandela’s state.

Underneath the photograph for this article, there are further links to more news articles and updates from News24 concerning the same story. This allows for easy navigation and news access for readers. Readers can have simplified accessibility to the latest news updates on this story and the primary information too. Also, further below the photograph of Mandela’s sculpture and parallel to the side advertisements, there is a related advertisement from selling Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, “A Long Walk to Freedom”.

Different from the previously mentioned two news articles, the Huffington Post’s news article for this story showcases many other African American related articles on the side. It is almost overwhelming and does not allow the reader to have an immediate focus visually and cognitively on the news article at hand. Nelson Mandela’s hospitalisation can be seen as on par with the more frivolous dramas of African American celebrities.

This news article is from the Huffington Post U.S. edition. However, once the webpage for this particular article is opened, the reader can see that the main page became “Huff Post Black Voices”. This is a certain way of drawing attention to a particular demographics’ news. Framing is apparent in the two previously mentioned news articles, but even more so here. Scheufele and Tewksbury (2007, p. 11) refer to framing as “how an issue is characterised in news reports can have an influence on how it is understood by audiences”. There are psychological and social aspects to this.

It is also apparent that this is a United States edition as compared to the South African news articles from South African news reports discussed above; Barack Obama’s photograph is the news articles main cover picture. This is a bias and patriarchal action. Nevertheless, similarly to the layout of the other two South African news articles, this one also has the friendly navigation of information links below, regarding the same story.

The headline for this article does not allude to the fact that Barack Obama is sending his best wishes for Nelson Mandela’s recovery, rather it seems like it is more of a comparison and tribute. This article is written in a very concise and succinct manner. There is not much news, and not even a mention of the source from which Obama’s wishes were extracted from.

The news article is written in such a way that each of the four paragraphs’ first sentences begin with “Obama” being mentioned. Similar to the gloating feeling which comes from the IOL article, speaking of President Barack Obama, this news article from the Huffington Post suggests the same since Obama is seen to take on the role which Mandela represents. The repetition of “Obama” serves to outweigh all the iconic and Nobel doings of Mandela.

There is a weakness in all of these news articles however, because none of them specifically answer the six essential questions of reporting. Bull (2010, p. 11) says they are: who?, what?, when?, where?, why?, and how?

Through these in depth analysis readers can see that both visual and verbal storytelling tactics are incorporated to produce successful and often crisp news articles. Less is more in these cases, and proves to be the way that news articles must be made to be intriguing, fulfilling and insightful, leaving the reader a more intellectual consumer.

Iol News, "Obama wishes Mandela well", 28 March 2013.

Iol News, “Obama wishes Mandela well”, 28 March 2013.

News24, "Obama 'deeply concerned' for Mandela", 28 March 2013.

News24, “Obama ‘deeply concerned’ for Mandela”, 28 March 2013.

Huffington Post, "Barack Obama On Nelson Mandela's Health: Icon Is As Strong Physically As Personally", 28 March 2013.

Huffington Post, “Barack Obama On Nelson Mandela’s Health: Icon Is As Strong Physically As Personally”, 28 March 2013.



Bull, A.
Multimedia Journalism
Bull, A. (2010) Multimedia Journalism. Oxon: Routledge, p.10 – 11.

Huff Post Black Voices
Barack Obama On Nelson Mandela’s Health: Icon Is As Strong Physically As Personally.
Huff Post Black Voices (2013) Barack Obama On Nelson Mandela’s Health: Icon Is As Strong Physically As Personally.. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 28 Mar 2013].

Iol news
Obama Wishes Mandela Well
Iol news (2013) Obama Wishes Mandela Well. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 28 Mar 2013].

Obama ‘deeply concerned’ for Mandela.
News24 (2013) Obama ‘deeply concerned’ for Mandela.. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 29 Mar 2013].

Scheufele, D. and Tewksbury, D.
Framing, Agenda Setting, and Priming: The Evolution of Three Media Effects Model
Scheufele, D. and Tewksbury, D. (2007) Framing, Agenda Setting, and Priming: The Evolution of Three Media Effects Model. Journal of Communication, 57 p.11.

Fun Fashion Fact Friday: Playing dress up

It is only within the last 200 years where children’s clothing became its own category. Before that, children simply wore the smaller sizes of adult clothing items. It was dress up every day.

Burberry, Spring/Summer 2013 Campaign.Photographer: Mario Testino.

Burberry, Spring/Summer 2013 Campaign.
Photographer: Mario Testino.

Earlier this year, Romeo Beckham, the most style conscious of the Beckham boys, was chosen by the Burberry chief creative officer, Christopher Bailey, to be the face of the Spring/Summer 2013 Burberry Campaign.

Burberry, Spring/Summer 2013 Campaign.Photographer: Mario Testino.

Burberry, Spring/Summer 2013 Campaign.
Photographer: Mario Testino.

Burberry, Spring/Summer 2013 Campaign.Photographer: Mario Testino.

Burberry, Spring/Summer 2013 Campaign.
Photographer: Mario Testino.