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.


Image supplied by Candice Chirwa.

In Conversation with Candice Chirwa: 'Menstruation is More than Just Bleeding for Seven Days.'

South African activist Candice Chirwa, the 'Minister of Menstruation', speaks to us about what a period-positive world looks like, the challenges menstruators face even in 2020 and her important advocacy work with QRATE.

It's 2020, and naturally, tremendous advancements have been made across various spheres of society. From the prospect of self-driving cars and drones delivering medicines to rural areas to comparatively progressive politics and historic "firsts" for many disenfranchised groups, we've certainly come a long way. However, in the midst of all that progress, there is still one issue which continues to lag behind considerably and consistently, particularly in less developed countries: menstruation.

Candice Chirwa is a young Black woman on a mission to fiercely change the disempowering narratives and taboos that still shroud the issue of menstruation. The 24-year-old South African activist, who is endearingly known as the "Minister of Menstruation" on social media, wants young girls and women to not only accept but embrace their bodies fully in a society that insists on speaking in hushed tones about a perfectly normal biological process. Both Chirwa's research and advocacy work with the UN and her award-winning NGO, QRATE, has focused on dispelling common myths about menstruating, removing the shame and stigma around it and giving menstruators the knowledge and tools they need to navigate their world through impactful workshops.

And when Chirwa isn't collaborating with Lil-Lets, one of the biggest sanitary product brands on the continent, or co-authoring a bad-ass book titled Perils of Patriarchy, she's dominating the TEDx stage and making sure that her audience, no matter how diverse or varied, leaves the room feeling comfortable and courageous enough to boldly shout the word "vagina".

We caught up with Chirwa to discuss what initially compelled her to become a "period-positive" activist, her continued advocacy work with QRATE and what kind of world she imagines for menstruators.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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