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22 Jul

Afro-Phile

Understanding that human beings are fundamentally the same, is powerful because love and tolerance follow. Maybe not a bad statement for brands and buyers alike to think about.

 

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Gwyneth’ Paltrow’s online brain child ‘Goop’ although fabulous, has put the fear of snobbery even more firmly into me! A recent trip however to a major retailers ‘homeware division’, that has made its way to our shores left me turning my nose up at things. Personal style and budget aside, I’m not sure that large retailers from mystical overseas lands can afford to assume that their left over and long lost stock would be gratefully accepted by us? I am assuming that this is what went wrong, in which case a holiday to our vibrant, sunny land full of hard working dignified people is in order.

 

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We will not fall gratefully at your door, relieved that your superbrand is finally here to grace our homes and lives with:

) bed linen that seems to be made from recycled plastic, fibreglass and toxic waste, you know the stuff that grates your skin like a plane grater on soft cheese.

) Duvet covers once again filled with ‘landfill waste’ instead of fluffy cotton balls and baby goose feathers, night sweats? More like duvet terrors! Waking up at 3:00am drenched and tangled somehow inside the duvet cover like a seagull caught in a plastic shopping bag flapping for its life.

) Photo frames that come apart quicker than a preschool art project, four magnum sticks stuck together with Bostick glue, the first time you open that baby up to insert a loved one’s face, it disintegrates, no destined for your mantel.

) Scratchy towels, that are more of a loafer fit for a Turkish bath house! Your happy morning routine is now a 30-second challenge with the porcupine that is your bath sheet rather than a privileged sequence of rituals to set you up for a good day!

) Scatter cushions with absolutely no heft, victims of a mysterious midnight stuffing raid. These sad limp excuses for accessories that drop beads and sequence and glitter all over the floor as soon as you pick them up to admire them.

) Blankets that leak fluff, balding blankets! Really! Winter is hard enough, we need that fluff to be on the blanket so that it can keep us warm, all over us, reminding us we haven’t shaved our legs in six weeks is not welcomed!

) The stumpy curtain, as if not offensive enough already that it’s 100% plastic, and should a tipsy house guest brush past with a sneaky cig, it’ll go up like a Viking death barge. It is also so short that you would have to put the curtain rail half way down the window to create any illusion of sumptuousness.

 

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We are in our 22 year of freedom and there is an irrepressible hum of identity, diversity, energy and style that permeates our society. A subculture of gentlemen’s fashion made it from the streets of Soweto to the big screens of New York Fashion Week. Social media platforms bring the world to our smartphones and in turn beam our cultural melting pot to others. We are exposed to cultures we may never have had the money to travel too and we are confident in our own hard-won culture.

An enormous strain on resources globally and the suffering of millions due to economic circumstance, war, and often human greed make us want to tread a little lighter on this fragile planet of ours. Does this also change they way we spend and what we buy?

 

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In conclusion, it might sound cliché, but I’ll admit, the clothing department of said retailer and its international origins lured me in. I left, however, feeling shocked at the identity-less, un-curated uninspired space and feeling a little smug that I was insulted. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side, yes we face challenges in this country, but I am hopelessly completely in love regardless.

As an avid nester and obsessive curator of my nest and anyone else willing to let me in their front door. I will proudly be harnessing my inner ‘Afro-phile’ and looking a lot closer to home for my next season’s inspiration.

 

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I rely on retail finds to mix in with once off pieces and art, and it’s a hobby I am proud of. I love scouring the big retailers for great finds and SA, in general, is not disappointing. You’ll find me back in the isles of woollies, @home and good old Mr P. Amatuli and Weylandts have rich African textures and art and La Grange’s timeless elegance for tonal basics never disappoints, look out for future posts on amazing local artists and interiors!!!!

Go to David Ballam’s Website to check his beautiful photography.

Thank you for allowing me this patriotic rant, one smugly happy SA girl!!

Jessica Bennetto
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