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Interview: David Tlale At His Runway Debut During NYFW

South African fashion designer David Tlale held his runway debut at New York Fashion Week for Fall/ Winter 14.

South African David Tlale, one of Okayafrica's favorite designers, hit New York Fashion Week with his F/W 14 Elementary Metropolis collection. Tlale's presentation featured a beautiful set-up, a diverse crop of models and an absolutely stunning collection. There was a special atmosphere in the room as the models walked down the runway in their beautiful attires. We interviewed the fashion star right after his show ended. Read our discussion with David Tlale below.


Poundo: How do you feel?

David Tlale: Right now, I see a lot of butterflies, this was our runway debut at New York Fashion Week. I think that it's a lot of mix-feelings... above everything else, it's a sense of fulfillment within me as a designer. We are building this David Tlale brand in New York and in the world. As a debut, the collection is being well-received.

P: What is the difference between the feeling at your first New York Fashion Week and this one?

DT: In 2009, when we first showcased, my head space was all crazy and with time, you get time to understand the woman you create. And here we are today, she is more defined: Elementary Metropolis. A woman who is chic, understands the fabric, [understands] who she is and what she stands for. More than anything else, I would say: she is the woman who really does not hit the standards when it comes to fashion.

P: Where did you seek inspiration for this collection?

DT: It comes from the urban city girl who doesn't live in suburbs. She is on and off the subway, hopping the yellow cab. She's all about "fabulousity," she wants to look good at all times and she is a go-getter. She works hard, she goes to cocktails and Oscars. The collection epitomizes everything in the girl's life.

P: We think that you are a great example of diversity on the runway. Why do beauty standards not reflect our society?

DT: I believe that I am part of the revolution, where by we have to start embracing every person that lives under the sun. It's not a particular race that wears fashion, every woman who is on the street, whether from a mass production retail to a luxury store, everyone wants to look good, everyone wants to look amazing. Everybody, every color, every race, every nation can be an icon.

Scroll through our gallery aboe to view David Tlale's new collection. If you want to talk about it, tweet @okayafrica with #davidtlale and #newyorkfashionweek.

 

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Pictures courtesy of Maeva Heim

Maeva Heim is the Founder the Beauty Industry Has Been Waiting on

The 31-year-old founder of Bread Beauty Supply is changing the conversation around haircare for textured hair.

It's nearing 9 p.m. in Australia, and Maeva Heim is dimly lit from behind and smiling warmly at her computer screen, ready to talk shop. We're here to discuss hair care, namely her brand Bread Beauty Supply, and how black beauty has made the globe smaller.

The 31-year-old is the founder of Bread Beauty Supply, a haircare line that encourages all textures and curl patterns to come as they are. "We don't want to tell you what to do with your hair. Enough people do that already," Heim says of Bread's brand philosophy. "We are just here to provide really good products for whatever you want to do with your hair at any point and not dictate to you how things should be. We're just women making the good products. You're making the good hair, and that's it. We're not here to define the rules."

But it's impossible to talk about recent strides in beauty products for textured hair without talking about the summer of 2020. In the weeks following the murder of George Floyd in the United States, a crescendo of cries rallied through global streets asking for not just equality but equity. The world watched with scrutiny as black boxes filled social feeds and brands made pledges to diversity. Those calls pinged from executive boards to the shelves of some of the world's largest beauty retailers. Meanwhile, after years of formulation, fundraising, and perfecting formulas and ingredients during a global pandemic, Maeva Heim introduced Bread beauty to the world in a perfect storm of timing and execution. The July 2020 launch filled a wide gap for Black beauty between homemade beauty products and behemoth beauty brands as Heim focused on an often under-explored direct-to-consumer middle.

Lauded on social media for their innovative packaging and nostalgic scents (the brand's award-winning hair oil smells like Froot Loops), Bread is a brand that makes hair care basics for not-so-basic hair. Typically, women with textured hair have not been included in the conversations around the idea of "'lazy girl hair" with minimal and effortless maintenance and styling - something Heim wanted to change. Part of Bread's mission is deleting category terms from the brand language – e.g. 'anti-frizz — that the brand feels unnecessarily demonizes characteristics that are natural to textured hair.

Photo courtesy of Bread Beauty

Born and raised in Peth, Western Australia, to an Ivorian mother and a French father, Heim grew up as one of the few Black kids in her neighborhood. Her days weaved between school and helping her mother run her braiding salon, one of the only of its kind in 1990's Australia. From sweeping floors, answering phones, and assisting with product orders, Heim's introduction to the world of beauty was rooted in the practice of doing.

Heim would go on to study business and law at Edith Cowan University in Western Australia, before working in marketing at L'Oréal, followed by an internship at Procter & Gamble in Singapore. But it wasn't until her relaxer exploded in her luggage during a flight between New York and Chicago that she began to think seriously about not only her personal hair journey but also about the beauty industry's gaps.

After ditching chemical hair-relaxer and returning to her natural texture, she pitched her idea to Sephora and, in 2019, was selected as one of the first-ever Australian participants in the Sephora Accelerate program, securing a launch deal for both in-store and online.

But what's most striking about Heim, aside from her penchant for focusing on the brand and the consumer, is her focus on the innovation gaps for Black beauty products. Uniquely shy on social media but poignantly focused on every nuance of her brand and serving Bread's prior overlooked customer base, Maeva is the founder the beauty world has been waiting for.

*This interview has been condensed and edited for length and clarity

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