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30 Oct

Lumin

Roald Dahl’s beloved fictional character Willy Wonka said: “We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.”

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Spending time with James and Amy I know this to be true, they are creative and strong, steadfast in the vision for their future. Lumin is a coalescence of two very different personalities, backgrounds and cultures, that somehow come together in a chaotic unity. It is altogether magnificent and well-considered design, I would wear every piece.

If you could both have dinner with any fashion designer dead or alive who would it be?

Not necessarily a designer – but a fashion influencer and icon, we’d love to have dinner with Iris Apfel. She’s the complete opposite of what LUMIN is about, but her approach to fashion and style is unique and special that we can’t help but be fascinated by her.

If you could raid any designer’s closet, who would it be? 

This is a tough one, but if we had to choose it would probably be Phoebe Philo’s closet! Her chic boyish style is always impeccable, looks effortless and is so easily carried through from day to night… what’s not to love?

If you could invite any designer to your next show who would it be?

We think having a designer like Rei Kawakubo of Commes des Garcons at our show and getting feedback from her would be invaluable. We are big fans of her design aesthetic and often get inspiration from it. She has also created a successful global business and has mentored other young designers into creating their own growing business… so she really knows what’s she’s talking about.

If you could be a fly on the wall in any designer’s studio who would it be?

It would be a real eye opener for us to be inside Karl Lagerfeld’s studios. He is the creative head of two international luxury fashion houses, as well as his namesake brand. To get a small glimpse into his daily work like, and how he manages it all would be so interesting!What advice would you give your 21-year-old self? As cliched as it sounds, we’d tell our younger selves to just go for it and not be scared to try! If it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t matter because the process will have led you to an entirely new place with a fresh point of view!

Do you guys have any major fashion regrets or are they all just fun expressions for you?

Is there ever a right or wrong? We definitely have fashion regrets! There are times when our younger selves should not have stepped out in public… what were we thinking wearing that?! But we’ve found that as you learn more about yourself, you come into your own and start to appreciate your sense of style more… so technically we don’t believe there are rights and wrongs (although…denim tracksuits are never a good idea). It’s best to just follow your gut and wear what makes you feel amazing!

What is your take on the thought that many of the most innovative designers, wear a uniform? Be it because of decision fatigue or wanting to save all creative energy for work and do you find yourself wearing some form of uniform?

We totally think that creative people often have a uniform or staple wardrobe pieces they wear regularly. We both have started doing that too… it makes the “getting ready” routine easier in the mornings by having a few fewer decisions to make. It works for some, and probably not for others. Some people express themselves with clothing, others express themselves in the things they create – we’re those kinds of people!

What is your dream fashion destination/ holiday?

Most probably, our dream vacay would be somewhere like Seoul, South Korea – the fashion is insane, it would be so inspiring to be in such a completely differently environment!

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What is your idea of a perfect capsule wardrobe for the modern South African woman?

For a long time, it seems as though the trends has been towards bombarding South African women with bright colours and bold prints. But as our fashion sense starts to develop as a country, South Africa woman should look to more classic pieces that focus on quality, good design and attention to detail. Understand what colours work for you and build a wardrobe that can be easily mixed and matched to create a variety of looks.

Who do you design for?

We’ve come to realise that we design everyday clothing, but not necessarily for the everyday person. Our woman is someone who enjoys fashion but doesn’t necessarily feel the need to be eccentric in the way she dresses. She enjoys comfort, but in something that can express her a unique approach to fashion.

What designers currently excite & terrify you?

Locally, we really like what AKEDO is doing. We feel the designs are really representative of a new wave of luxury South African fashion that has global relevance. And designers that terrify us… well… it would have to be (mentioning no names) those that believe South African women are still about the frills and fuss, the diamantes and tacky glitz and glam. That whole aesthetic feels quite outdated and it’s terrifying that people are still peddling it.

Dinner & Netflix OR Dinner & the club?

If it’s dinner in bed and Netflix then we’re in.

Popcorn & Bubbly OR Nachos & Craft beer?

Popcorn and bubbly for sure! Fewer calories, much better for our diets.

Snap chat or Insta Stories?

Insta stories… we’re old school like that. What is Snap chat anyway?

What are your current pet peeves in fashion or life in general?

In general, we’re peeved that too many South Africans view H&M and Forever 21 as fashion meccas… when in actual fact it’s just pretty average clothing.

Who/ what/ where do you think influenced who you are today and therefore what you create?

We’ve been influenced by so many people and things in our lives, it’s hard to pinpoint. But it would most likely be our parents, who said to not be scared of creating our own journeys and turning our creativity into something special!

Do you have any rituals you do every single day?

A cold shower in the morning and a cup of  black coffee to get the day going!

What’s the least glamorous aspect of being a fashion designer?

Driving around Joburg city centre to source fabric when it’s particularly hot and you’re sweating like a beast.

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What do you personally find the most rewarding aspect of being a creative and influencer in the fashion industry?

It’s probably the best feeling when people “get” our work and really understand what we’re trying to create. It’s also really cool when customers young and old love your work and can imagine themselves wearing it… it definitely says we’re on the right track!

What would you like your legacy to be?

We really want to build up our local fashion industry so other markets like New York, London and Paris take note of what is going on here… we want to be part of making that a reality, for future fashion designers to come!

What issues are close to your heart? What makes you mad? What would you like to use your platform for?

Slowing down fashion is something we’re passionate about. Big corporations have created a frenzy of fast fashion, and all sense of design and quality has been thrown out the window. We’re definitely aiming to work towards creating garments that can last a lifetime, and that are beautifully designed and created.

Who are you the proudest of in your life?

When we stop and take a moment to reflect, we’re really proud of ourselves and each other. What we’ve accomplished in a short space of time, as well as where we still want to go – it makes us proud.

What makes you excited about being a South African designer?

Having travelled a bit to other countries, coming home is always exciting. It’s made us realise South Africans definitely have personality, which we love! When we believe in something, we’re totally passionate about it!

Who are James and Amy away from the Brand?

When Amy’s not managing business operations for LUMIN, she actually loves doing some gardening (her vegetable patch is her joy and pride)… when James has free time, he’s probably binge-watching a series like Project Runway or America’s Next Top Model.

What does a typical Jozi weekend look like for you?

We’re both pretty, much homebodies, we enjoy vegging out and just lazing around the house. Being outdoors is great too and sometimes we’ll venture out into the great outdoors (i.e. the botanical gardens for a picnic).

Go check out Lumin 

Daniella du Plessis
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