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Zee Fashionista: The Philosophy of Style #7


The Philosophy of Style #7

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 them 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.


Ordinary would definitely not be one of the words I would use to define 22-year-old entrepreneur, Nqobile Mthembu. Everything about her, from her kick-ass eclectic style, to her mission to redefine the perception of vintage clothing with her one-of-a-kind Vince & Spinneli Vintage Authentic Wear, screams maverick. Here's the philosophy of her style:

Zee Fashionista: How would you describe yourself in a paragraph?

Nqobile Mthembu: The spring from which confidence bursts; lover of the arts. Coconut vanilla muffins are my hearts desire. I am a creative who always strives to be better than the day before. Never not working, always an innovator. A stylish individual who does not conform to the norm.

ZF: Where did you grow up and how would describe how you were as a youth?

NM: I grew up in Jabulani, Soweto and moved to Durban shortly after I turned 7. I lived there for about two years and then came back to Jozi, my Jozi. As a teen, I was the absolute introvert - I was very socially awkward and kept to myself. I enjoyed reading - academia was my thing. Clothing was always a means to express myself. It was something I could do better than holding a conversation over boys and stuff. I have loved female wellness from childhood; some may call me OCD but taking care of myself and presenting myself in the best form possible has always been a part of me and overall, who I am.

ZF: Is there something about yourself that people might not readily know?

NM: I love Africa. It's just my calling to take African fashion and lifestyle to another level. I am also  born of Malawian roots.
He's Vince; she's Spinneli.

 ZF: What do you think style is?

NM: It is what separates an individual from the ever-increasing fashions/trends. Style is how you are able to take what fashions there are and then merge them into who you are. Thus forming a congruent, yet sound relationship between clothes and yourself.

ZF: Who/What influences your style?

NM: The people who influence my sense of style are ordinary individuals, their ability to dress themselves, the different shades and colors of the city ,prints that I happen to be feeling, and music. It is a mindset. There are so many trends that end up sucking peoples personalities in then you no longer see the person but a "live by the norm" mannequin. So in essence, my style is a collective representation of everyday people - some of whom I do not know by name.

ZF: How does your style reflect your dreams/Goals/Lifestyle?

NM: I am all for the dreams of the streets - people who aren't given a voice by corporate holdings. The thing for me is finding a place for yourself in a world of so much mass production. It is about defining and bringing to reality that the streets are not dead. It is about articulating these voices into such a perfect pitch. It is with this in mind that conformity has no foothold in how I dress. The openness to a bigger world than that which we have been granted allows me to define myself anew. It is my goal to offer people a chance to define and perfect their own style, knowing well that this will come to define their lifestyle in its entirety. Having perfected my own allows for better fruition of this goal!

A Vince & Spinneli headscarf that I absolutely must have!

ZF: What do you think is the importance of prevailing style vs. just following trends?

NM: Prevailing style will guarantee you a life on your terms; the trend with style is that there is no trend. You forge your own path. Trends, for me, are a uniform practice. They are great for fueling people with fire and delight, but they do not last. Style is eternal. Know what it is for you and live by it!

ZF: What are the top 5 items in your wardrobe?

1) My vintage Kangol hat (absolutely love); 2) Levis jeans; 3) my first pair of Nike Air Max sneakers (not necessarily a clothing item) but its life giving; 4) high waist zara jeggings; and 5) a black and white native american print jersey.

ZF: What is your winter style advice for men and women alike?

NM: For women, leggings aren't pants, and do give leather a fighting chance. For males there are ways to keep warm by layering your clothes. You do not have to brave the cold - we know you get cold too.

See what I said about great styling? I love these Vince and Spinneli looks.

If the fact that Nqobile's vintage authentic wear brand is called Vince & Spinneli (you know, Vince and Spinneli of the Disney cartoon Recess? Yeah, she's Spinneli) doesn't already interest you, then maybe the fact that the brand comprises retro, unique, perfectly-conditioned vintage pieces for males and females will do the trick. These pictures here are just some examples of the amazing styling Nqobile has done for the Vince & Spinneli website, detailing the items they have available for purchase. Besides clothes, shoes and accessories are also of the Vince & Spinneli brand. I'm already a fan of there's - how can one not love that they also a personal shopping service at an affordable price?

(All photographs are the property of Nqobile Mthembu)

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