“But, when your dream comes true, it's time to dream bigger.” – Asanda Sizani
My love for beauty, art, the poetry in visuals and the need to communicate a strong narrative through fashion. That’s the first thing that came out of Asanda’s mouth when we started speaking, and from there I knew that I’d entered the realm of an incredibly creative being’s mind. What an honor.
When I looked through Asanda’s Instagram page, she had an impressive bio, that caught my eye, as she referred to herself as both a Global African and Hunter Gatherer. So, naturally, I let her explain to me what that’s all about, “I have always viewed myself as a proud African who has a global view. I travel as often as I can – whether physically, or through my imagination, or through watching various films, reading all kinds of material from around the world and I immerse myself in different cultures. I am culture curious.” Asanda explained.
“Hunter Gatherer is the name of a project of mine which is still in the works.” Asanda continues, “The term resonated with me since I love to collect visuals, keepsakes, experiences, ideas and references. I hunt for cool people, places and things in my career, and as a personal passion. I love gathering all kinds of information, contacts, memories, textiles, hidden gems, anything interesting, anything thought provoking. I love uncovering and celebrating raw talent and then sharing that information through my platforms. Being a hunter-gatherer is African. Our ancestors went out hunting for food, water, and shelter, but today, I hunt for various other things which not only enrich my life but also hopefully inspires others as well.”
Photo credit: TREVOR STUURMAN
Asanda Sizani with textile designer Laduma Ngxokolo
Asanda is a creative woman, who I feel has been making her mark in the Fashion Industry in Africa and some parts of the world. I think her story is one to continually watch, as she seems to always be up to something.
Asanda speaks, “It’s my aim for sure. I have served on a German committee that creates trade opportunities for African fashion designers. I have interviewed top international models like Joan Smalls, Candice Swanepoel, and Oluchi. After working with Solange on an Elle cover shoot, she invited me to feature in the video of her song Losing You. Through her, I was introduced to the Italian photojournalist, Daniele Tamagni. Months later, he asked me to write the introduction to the Africa chapter in his book, Global Style Battles.”
Continuing, “I have been featured in German and Nigerian magazines, collaborated with Nigerian and Kenyan creatives, promoted African designers on Never Underdressed UK, and been a Curator for Design Indaba.”
Excitedly adding on, “Oh! I heard I am on Tinie Tempah's radar - which is incredibly humbling. There is so much more that I want to do as an active contributor within my industry.”
Asanda’s entire journey has shaped who she is, and working for Elle Magazine was her dream. As it was the first magazine she bought and fell in love with when she was in high school, and she let me know that she recalled thinking that one day she will work for the brand. So, when she was appointed Fashion Editor of Elle South Africa, it was a career highlight and dream fulfilled of hers.
Photo credit: KATLEGO MOLAOLWA
Asanda says, “So, a little after two years later, I made my departure with the aim of expanding my skill set. I always want to remain curious, and I love a challenge. I forced myself out of my comfort zone, traveled more than I ever had, saw the world, learned so much about myself. I looked for opportunities to collaborate with brands and fellow creatives, was invited to exhibit under a South African street style theme, wrote a weekly column in Grazia, consulted for brands ranging from Guinness, to Yardley and Consol all while fashion editing Woolworths’ W magazine. I was always juggling!”
“I continued to style and write on a freelance basis as I never wanted to lose that skill,” Asanda continues, “and I beefed up my resume. Fashion is a business. And it's a business I take very seriously. There are many moving parts in this industry, and I have always been curious about all aspects. From my life as an Elle Belle to now, there have been many lessons. And I am stronger in my conviction, bolder in my choices, wiser, and able to be of greater service because of it.”
It's amazing to connect with creatives who understand what it is to be present and completely express yourself. Asanda recently teamed up for a collaboration with Top Shop, for TopshopXAsandaSizani, and her primary goals with this are to aim higher. To create platforms that allow for creative collaborations so that emerging African creatives can thrive and gain recognition worldwide. Asanda knows what it's like to be a young black girl growing up in a small town with no opportunities for creatives and no real inspiration. She wants to continue to tell her story, using her voice, learning from those who have walked the path before her, and try to make a difference at the same time. She also wants to travel more, become a better human, love more and grow more.
“I am grateful for the opportunity with Topshop through my current collaboration with them. They have given me the opportunity to do what I do best, which is to edit fashion. Fashion does not live in magazines alone. For an international retailer to have approached me to handpick and curate a range, and put my name on their store windows was a truly humbling experience. I hope after TopshopXAsandaSizani, more local black fashion creatives are given platforms to collaborate with global retailers in my country.” Asanda says.
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