Vuvuzela the new giraffe
Johannesburg - Forget cross kicks, penalty shoot-outs and red cards.
It’s the coaches in their snazzy tailored suits, the recession inspired toned down approach of the players’ Wags (Wives and Girlfriends) and Bafana Bafana’s bright yellow soccer shirts that has the World Cup fashionistas talking.
Since kick-off on June 11, the SWC has become a platform for designers to show off their latest creations and according to local designer, Gavin Rajah, South Africa through its use of yellow and bright colours is basking in its international reputation as “a sunshine country”.
“The one thing that stands out about this World Cup is the predominant use of colour,” said Rajah.
“Colour is everywhere. I think that in the coming year the yellow inspired by Bafana Bafana will be a big trend for fashion collections.”
Despite the event being hosted over winter, which tends to inspire dull and dark dressing, the event had shown that Africans were “irreverent” to seasons in their approach to colour.
“It’s very nice to see (the) use of colour and people embracing that,” Rajah said.
“In sunny countries people tend to be happier. There is a sense of celebration and festivity in the use of colour.
“People will remember the bright colours and the mood of celebration when they think of South Africa. That will be a big attraction in the future.”
Rajah said the World Cup had broken down the fashion stereotypes foreigners hold of South Africa.
“We dress a lot better than lots expected us to.
“I think many foreigners have been quite surprised.”
Rajah said the tournament had instilled a “great pride” in the national teams and this had had a major effect on dress code.
“Other country’s have always had a very distinctive identity in their colours, but South Africa has always been lagged behind in this area.
“We have been stuck in an era of buying rugby merchandise, but that will change now.”
One of the best parts of the tournament from a fashion perspective, said Rajah, had been the collaboration between international brands, such as Puma, Nike and Adidas, to create sport orientated merchandise.
“The styling is better and the clothes fit better. Designers around the world have produced these clothes. It is more contemporary and more relevant to the man on the street.
“Everybody has taken on a more sporty look. People are going out in soccer shirts.
“Some of the teams have done amazing work putting together their kit.
“The players seem to have a more refined edge while the coaches are well dressed in tailored suits.”
Even Argentina coach Diego Maradona, with his reputation for being a cocaine addicted, hard drinking, foul mouthed troublemaker, had projected a clean cut image in the World Cup.
Rajah said all the collections coming out, including menswear in Paris this week, would be strongly influence by the World Cup.
“The event has permeated fashion to an enormous extent,” said Rajah.
“It had an effect on everyone in the fashion industry.”
One top designer from Milan shot his entire show on the side of Table Mountain.
“Even Gucci at the Waterfront has merchandise which is soccer inspired.”
Louis Vuitton was another designing company that had produced a football inspired monogram duffel bag in celebration of the tournament.
Dolce & Gabbana produced close-cut suits, sunglasses and briefs for the Italian team, while British label Marks & Spencer dressed the English team for the tournament, with the suit costing £200 going on sale last month.
Fashion critics said the Wags, led by former England captain David Beckham’s wife Victoria, had taken a more toned down look for the tournament, with trousers loose at the hip but tight at the ankle the preferred fashion.
Dion Chang, the founder of the Flux Trends trends analysis company, said the World Cup had through fashion and tourism dispelled a slew of myths about South Africa. The country can enjoy a new image in the future.
Vuvuzela the new giraffe
“The question is whether all the World Cup tourists coming here are going to be brand builders for South Africa,” Chang said.
“One thing is for sure and that is that the vuvuzela has replaced the wooden giraffe as the tourist symbol of the country.”
Chang warned however, that the bright yellow mood in the country, epitomised by the Bafana shirts, might not last forever.
“Every host nation or country goes into major depression after events like this.
“South Africa was in a very ugly place politically and socially before the tournament,” he said.
“A lot of it was swept under the carpet. Hopefully we can draw on the positive mood to circumnavigate that.”