Journalist and fashion blogger Nontando Mposo and town planner Yolanda Matyolo have long shared a love of all things fashionable. They have also found it difficult to find tailored African print clothing at an affordable price at mainstream retailers.
It was these two elements that birthed NOYO Closet, a range of fitted African print clothing.
Both women agree that the fit of a garment is of utmost importance. Matyolo's problem is one shared by thousands of women: a tiny waist with a bigger bottom. She wanted clothing that would complement her curves.
"We are not all built the same. I don't believe in one size fits all. Clothes should sit on you like they belong to you. Your body should own your clothing, not the other way around," says Matyolo.
Tired of ill-fitting clothing, both Matyolo and Mposo started making their own garments. People noticed, asked where their clothes were from, and soon the demand for their creations started growing.
Taking advantage of this gap in the market, the pair started designing the range of dresses, shorts, pants and tops in March, and put the word out last month. The official launch takes place tomorrow but they have already had an overwhelmingly positive response to the line, says Matyolo.
While African print is the base material, the designers have given it a trendy look. "Bright colours, bold prints, and headwraps are on trend.
Their range is the kind of clothing that can be dressed up or down.
"It can be worn to work or to the shisa nyama (braai)… It can be dressed up with sky high heels, or down with All Stars. Don't be afraid of it. It works for every one," says Mposo, who writes for the
While there have been other African style ranges, these are often too formal and suited only to glamourous events.
The idea behind the NOYO range was to create a line that is a practical, innovative day-to-day look, the kind of clothing found in both designers' closets. "We target upcoming professionals who aren't afraid of colour and bold prints. You'd be surprised at how adventurous young people are with clothing choices these days," says Mposo.
The beauty of Afropolitan is that it's difficult to get it wrong. The trend is layered, clashing prints. This means pants, tops and headwraps can all be different. But for the less daring, the look can be toned down by pairing the print with a neutral item.
Accessories can be kept simple for day wear, or taken up a notch in dressing up for an event. Bold make-up including dramatic eye-shadows and red or pink lips works well with the look, say the designers.
Speaking to people afraid of the bold prints and bright colours, Matyolo says: "People want to be invisible when they walk up the street. But we see you. So you may as well make a statement and look good."
The launch takes place tomorrow at Amadoda's in
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