nnontsikelelo "lolo" veleko: beauty is in the eyes of a beholder






(photos via nnontsikelelo "lolo" veleko and the afronova gallery)


through the lovely ms. shoo of she breathes i read about a photographer named nnontsikelelo "lolo" veleko, who shoots stunningly beautiful street fashion-style photos in her hometown, johannesburg, south africa. the photos seen above are part of is part of a series that has the very apt title of "beauty is in the eyes of a beholder".
you can see more of nnontsikelelo "lolo" veleko's work here, and can find out more about her artistic motivations and personal history here.


after taking in the above photos i had the following thoughts:
one: that, in general, style and trends these days are incredibly, almost scarily global. the clothes the folks in the photos are wearing are in many, many ways, similar to those folks are wearing in most major urban areas across the world, and were probably sourced at similar retail outlets. one could perhaps argue that these people could be from anywhere, not specifically africa, if we're just looking at their clothing.
two: one the other hand, even though the clothes the folks are wearing strongly suggest the influence and reach of globalization of goods and culture in our modern times, there is something distinct and beautiful, and dare i say, local/provencial about the style of the people she shoots. i'd argue that special, different factor at play here has something to do with the use of color and pattern: it's fearless, in your face, relentless, idiosyncratic. i don't know a tremendous amount about south african history, but i am wondering if color, or pattern mixing in the way of textiles, in the past or present, has or had a symbolic meaning or history in the local or national culture...and if this influences the way the young people dress there in any way? also...it's not just what they are wearing...it's something about who they are, and how they are wearing it. it's the mix...methinks. there seems to be a local flavor i'm feeling. is it just me? feel free to debate the converse if you so please.


related notes of interest:
-nnontsikelelo "lolo" veleko's work is part of an exhibit that is currently running at NYU's gray art gallery called the poetics of cloth: african textiles/recent art. if you're lucky enough to be in or around NYC, go see it! (and report back and let me know how it was, if you don't mind!)
-according to south african street style, south africa's version of elle deems the sartorially savvy street-sourced style-mavens of johannesburg (like the ones depicted in veleko's body of work) "'smarteez': brown on the inside, multicoloured on the outside," and suggest that they are the south african version of the seminal young fashion mavericks of harajuku...