CDFA/ Vogue fashion fund winner, creative director and founder of Brothersvellies.

Aurora James is a New York based model/ creative director who founded Brothervellies in 2013. The brand consists of traditional African footwear hand made in South Africa, Kenya & Morocco. The artisans are local African men and women who handcraft African inspired shoes and sandals made from pure leather, recycled denim and tyres.

 Aurora James & Brothervellies are inspired by the traditional handwoven techniques and natural materials from Africa. They strive to make a difference by employing local artisans who receive both wages and skill training with efforts to help create a sustainable jobs within Africa.

Brothervellies has been recognized by magazines from Elle to Vogue and has caught the attention of celebrities such as Beyoncé & Kanye West and taken NYFW by storm for Spring 2016.

I personally love Auroras vision of seeing traditional African wear as something of the future, creating a spotlight on the influences of  Africa, culturally and the skills wise. Showing that we do have the potential to feature in a much bigger industry.

On The Rise

Bare shoulders, clean cuts and pure effortless beauty, sums up this amazing collection. It was whilst working at the Spring/Summer ‘16/17 Mercedes Benz Fashion week that I first saw a collection by Siyethemba Duma, head designer of Matte Nolim and one of my recent favourite designers. The show was filled with bloggers and photographers ready to capture the anticipated show. With the collection entitled “Don’t Drown in an Empty Pool”, the runway was lit with a single spot light shining on a model wearing a black silk high-waisted pleated pants accompanied with a matching off the shoulder pleated crop top that lefsdr_2191_sdr-640x480t the audience delighted and left me completely obsessed. Talk about a throwback to the medieval or the 2000 trend of the hippie of flared sleeves but with a more refined feel, which is what caught my attention.

The show then followed with a combination of further sultry black and crisp white silk garments featuring an assortment of Nolim’s’ key looks, being the small ding dong bell sleeve and off the shoulder crop tops with pleated bell sleeves which was either created into an A-line dress or accompanied with silk high-waisted pants with pleated flairs or a bell bottom. The crisp and clean silhouettes of these looks creating a young yet sophisticated look.

Accessorised with wide black chockers, the models had fresh faced looks, with makeup placed along their cheek bones and eyes to enhance their features and slightly flushed cheeks walked the runway with a flirtatious attitude that brought across an atmosphere that represented a fierce feminine young woman strutting down the runway.

A change of colour and texture was brought in with a dirty pink rose-wood two-piece with velvety luxurious trousers paired with a sheer matte elongated sleeve which gave the collection a beautiful variation of tones and textiles. Ending off the show was the collections final garment being Nolim’s show stopper sweeper, a simply beautiful white dress with a clean round neck and the dresses main attraction being its angelic cut out sleeves that tailed along the runway.

This was only the second time that Matte Nolim has graced the runway with his modern and clean silhouettes that are aimed at women in the in-between stages of a college girl meets a working women, which explains the touch of sophistication and class in his designs that are perfectly matched with a slight feel of youthfulness. “Shoulders are the new thighs, in terms of sex appeal and everyone has a hot pair to show off this summer” is how Nolim describes his collection creating a shift in erogenous zones that every female can feel comfortable showing off.

All in all the collection was a minimalists dream, playing on the concept of “Less is more” with a slight dramatic touch. Matte Nolim is definitely one of the most spoken about upcoming South African designers booming on both social media and amongst the local fashion elite. He’s a designer that I personally feel understands both functionality and femininity perfectly.