How We Wear Ours

An exhibition documenting jeans culture in South Africa today

From today until Saturday the Kalashnikovv Gallery in Braamfontein will showcase the work of illustrators, photographers and stylists. Their work an interpretation of jeans culture in South Africa and in response to G-Star’s Autumn/Winter ’15 campaign question “How do you wear yours?”   
Included in the project is work from Anthony Bila, Gabrielle Kannemeyer, Jade Klara, Trevor Stuurman, Smiso Zwane (aka Okmalumkoolkat) and Paul Ward.  The brief to the influential young creators was simple, take these jeans-related words and interpret them your way. With the words spanning from tight, wide, high low, to the more abstract, badass, lived in, pressed or turned up – the results are sure to be interesting. Smiso Zwane’s work in visual art is one of the highlights due to his rising star status in the world of music. 

Freelance stylist and creative director Gabrielle Kannemeyer teamed up with photographer and director Paul Ward to produce a 5 image photographic series. Having worked as a stylist on music videos for Spoek Mathambo//Fantasma, Petite Noir and Beatenberg, Kannemeyer’s work has been featured in Vman, Sicky Magazine, i-D, The Fader, Russh and Fucking Young! Ward’s eye for honest beauty and capturing real moments has become signature to his cinematic style. At the core of his work lays a personal understanding of, and integration in, the culture he captures, giving his work a rarely seen authenticity.

Q: What inspired the series of photographs that will be exhibited as part of the “How We Wear Ours” exhibition?

A: We shot under the cloak of darkness, with our subjects illuminated by ambient light. Clothed in layers comprised of intricate textures, their silhouettes were dressed to deconstruct conventions of wearability and to highlight each garment's versatility. It was important for us to capture emphasised attributes we associated with G-Star RAW and it's wearers. Exuding strength and individuality - passersby stared at the surreal scenes of our two models glistening under the street lights. Our intention was to contrast or create a disconnect between our subjects and the environment we captured them in, in order to realise these strange images that could almost be cinematic stills. 

Anthony Bila is a multi-disciplinary artist who works across various mediums from music and writing, to film and fine art – focusing on the showcase of, and collaboration within, African talent beyond all else. he has worked with various brands and his work has been exhibited work in South Africa, Europe and Asia. Collaborating with Lulama Mlambo, Anthony Bila’s work answered the question “How Do You Wear Yours? Destroyed? Or Restored?

Q: What does denim mean to you?

A: Denim in it’s RAW form, is a metaphor for life, for our existence. Over time, denim will usually fade, and this happens on those parts of the denim that receives the most stress. Despite that stress or strain, the denim develops more personality and character, the flaws become what makes it unique, beautiful. It’s similar to the art or philosophy of Kinsukuroi and Wabi Sabi, as a philosophy it’s all about treating breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise. No matter how much denim rips, it can be repaired and restored, on repeat.

Bila also recorded a song for the exhibition, which you can hear by clicking the Soundcloud link top right of the page.

Kudos to G-Star RAW for localising the global campaign using local, young and fresh talent to interpret the brand's message. Be sure to check it out if you're in Braam tonight and have a great First Thursday.