Fashion is the new?pop

2014-04-29 10:00

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If fame was the main meal, then style was just a side dish. But that’s all changed, writes Malibongwe Tyilo.

There once was a time when the only way to be celebrated in pop culture was to start a band and sing your way to mass ­adulation.

Well, that or find your way into a ­movie or TV show, and pray that it wasn’t your last.

Then you could claim your seat at the table and feast on fame’s rewards.

While some at that table have always been ­admired for their style, style itself was not a necessity.

If fame were the main meal, then style was an optional side dish – nice to have, but the meal could be just as filling without it.

That is a phenomenon for this writer. Back when Zahara was on TV a lot, I had to look away every time she came on.

I don’t have a TV any more. Small mercies.

As for becoming a celebrity because you dressed well and had a job in fashion, that wasn’t a thing unless you were a model or a designer.

Even the now-famed fashion editors were little known outside their circles.

Today you’d have to be living under a ­seriously fashion-challenged rock not to know who Anna ­Wintour is.

Admittedly, the thinly veiled The Devil Wears Prada had a fair amount to do with the public’s fascination with Icy Wintour.

Japanese Vogue fashion director and editor at large Anna Dello Russo’s bold fashion choices have ensured she is photographed everywhere she goes.

Her Instagram account has a following of nearly half a million.

This is not merely based on her work at Vogue.

It is because her fashion choices have made her a star in the eyes of street-style ­photographers and their followers.

To a lesser degree locally, fashion has bred it’s own stars.

True Love ­fashion editor Palesa Mahlaba has amassed nearly 12 000 fans on Instagram.

Trevor Stuurman, who runs his own street-style blog, has become as well known for what he wears in front of the lens as behind it.

Elle’s editor, Jackie Burger, needs no introduction.

Her style, which combines a funky youthfulness with an edgy ­sophistication, is as important to the magazine’s readers as the stuff between its pages.

It’s not just people connected to fashion media ­either. Take 21-year-old Ian Connor, the self-proclaimed King of the Youth.

His Tumblr Ian Connor’s Revenge chronicles his style and has helped grow a massive international following and a fashion line.

Last year he even landed a cameo on the video for A$AP Ferg’s hit song, Shabba, a video which has thus far garnered more than 22 million views on YouTube.

Fashion has become so important that it has ­become unthinkable for a major international pop star or actress to attempt going at it by ­themselves without a stylist. Think Lupita Nyong’o.

Admittedly, her work in 12 Years a Slave was deserving of the attention it ­received.

Let’s also not forget her gorgeous looks and her poise.

But it was her red carpet fashion choices that kept ­everyone talking week after week.

I ­myself knew of her ­fashion ­triumphs long before I actually got an opportunity to see the ­movie.

Beyoncé’s younger sister Solange Knowles’ fashion sense is better known than her songs and she has been on the cover of many a fashion magazine, including our local Elle.

I won’t even mention Lady Gaga, who in my opinion has used her ­fashion image to enhance a career made up of mediocre tunes.

The point is, fashion can no longer be ignored as an optional side to the mains.

It’s not the silly lettuce and tomato salad that you may or may not eat.

If you’ll forgive me for calling fashion a carb, then I put it to you that it is the bread to your sandwich.

Sure you can have the filling all on its own.

It may even be a pleasant experience. But not only will it not be much of a ­sandwich, it won’t be very filling either.

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