Have a shweet shweshwe spring

Sweet September has arrived, and it’s time to say goodbye to sombre tones and embrace a more colourful palette.

As well as being the start of spring, September is also the month in which we celebrate our heritage. For me it’s a time for reflection.

My Attire World (MAW) has been running for 19 months, and during that time I have received a flurry of emails from Capetonians expressing their interest in the column and also wanting to be featured.

Flore de Vries, of Devils Peak, is an avid reader of MAW and emailed me in April about her brightly coloured shweshwe wire headbands.

Flore’s headbands are run under the label, “Shweet”, which she chose because it stems from South African slang, and her tagline is “Love Africa. Be Shweet”.

Fashion-watchers have dubbed shweshwe the “denim or tartan” of Africa.

Flore started designing children’s products in 2011, and in 2018, after recovering from breast cancer following a spell of chemotherapy, she started a “shweshwe range of hats”. The headbands followed in March this year.

“I employ women in Lavender Hill to help me make my headbands. One metre of fabric makes five headbands, which are 80cm long. It also has a wire encased in plastic threaded through its length. Usually, the women can make between five to six headbands in an hour.”

According to Da Gama Textiles’ website, shweshwe was originally dyed with indigo, which has been found throughout the African continent for centuries, but it was European textile makers (via their traders) who introduced the printing method that makes the delicate prints.

Flore says her mother has made an indelible mark on her style: “My mother was always the most differently dressed mother I knew while growing up. She would walk around with this large brimmed green felt hat with leather de-
tailing, and I became embarrassed when she rocked up somewhere with a purple rain jacket. She was not a woman who was afraid to make a statement.”

Flore is a “no frills, minimum to no make-up” type of woman and described herself as “more timeless than fashionable”.

“Whenever I go to the V&A Waterfront I see clothing that is two seasons behind the global trends. I seldom buy clothes from retailers in this country. I want to encourage people to visit the smaller, thrift stores where they can find bespoke pieces, and if they are not satis-
fied with that they should go and purchase their own material and have someone make clothing for them.”

Flore says there are so many talented people in the city who can make the most amazing garments.

“When I was growing up, my bedroom was painted bright red. I have always loved bright colours like orange, and my style has a sporty edge to it.”

She prefers garments made from what she calls “honest fabrics”.

“I am not a fan of pleather and lycra. I would rather buy one quality item, as I am not sensitive to trends.”

A fashionista’s eye: I am loving slouchy trousers with a floral design, and if you pair them with layered tassel earrings it adds an instant pop of glamour to any outfit.

Denim on denim is also a huge trend right now, and I look forward to experimenting with the look this season.

I was fortunate enough to obtain pre-loved Manolo Blahniks, and I plan on pairing them with a pair of split-leg trousers (a trend that I am loving) and a statement tee.

On the make-up front: I am loving Avon’s 5 in 1 Lash Genius Mascara and their Mark eyeshadow inks in Gold Glam.

Women’s rights are topping the agenda at the moment and rightly so. Flore offered up some words of encouragement: “You are worthy, and don’t let anyone tell you differently. If you cannot master your circumstances; master your thoughts.”

Additional information sourced from https://www.dagama.co.za

Visit shweetproducts.com if you would like to purchase a headband which retails for R149.

Send your fashion tips and advice to mika.williams@inl.co.za or upload your spring looks to MAWs Instagrame handle: @my_attire_world_maw