Tag Archives: culture clash

Becoming black – The ‘Vrai Noire’ Graduate Collection

After three years at this institution,FEDISA, third year fashion students are given one task that is a culmination of all the things that we have learnt over the past three years. Each one of us has to design and create a collection based on a theme of our choice. It is everyone’s chance to do something they actually want to do, to express their individuality through the interpretation of themes and ideas. This is my journey.

The name ‘Vrai Noire’ means True Black, and is a reflection of the inspiration behind the collection. It is a culture clash between traditional Ndebele silhouettes and the punk subculture. The name comes from my love and appreciation of African culture, but also stands as a reflection of the influence it gets from overseas cultures.


Coming up with a concept and title was easy enough for me, it was the actual execution of these ideas that I found to be the most challenging. Apart from realising that some ideas would not work in terms of garment construction in the toile stages, I also found that I had to continually re-evaluate the ‘Vrai Noire’ theme, to ensure that both cultures that inspired the collection came through.

My collection is very bold in terms of design and colour,and the use of spikes as emblellishments makes each piece in every look stand out on its own. It is mainly targeted towards young people who are not afraid to make a statement through their clothing. The bright orange represents the vibrant Ndebele culture,while the navy blue represents the dark punk culture,and I used teal to tie both colours together.

Drawing inspiration from two completely different cultures afforded me the opportunity to come up with designs that were original and,in some cases, unexpected. I achieved this by putting a twist on basic garments such as skirts,tops and dresses for women, and jackets,waistcoats and trousers for men. This helped to keep my collection commercially viable and visually appealing at the same time. In a sense, I used the punk subculture to modernise traditional Ndebele regalia.

As I work on my final look in this collection, I am grateful,not only for the education I have acquired,but for the chance I’ve had to express my ideas and concepts through fashion. I have developed into a better artist in general through this course,and a better person as well,opening my heart,mind and soul.(400words)