Anelisa and Aqeelah take on Summer with the styles of the season
Words: Modupe Oloruntoba | Photographs: Ian Engelbrecht | Styling: Mandy Nash
Aqeelah Harron Ally is still blogging. Bloggers have created personal brands using their content, but most use the platform to launch something while letting the blog take a backseat to the new venture. After working as a makeup artist and starting a lash line that’s gaining popularity by filling a market gap for affordable high-end falsies, she's still producing personal style posts on Fashion Breed. Why do you ask?
“I think what keeps me going is that I really love what I do… there are so many opportunities and things you can do with it I’ve just found a way to incorporate it in whatever direction my life’s been going. I like it for myself as a sort of documentary of everything I’ve done… I just really love the freedom that comes with it, I find it enables me to follow whichever dreams I want,” she says while her nails dry for the next shot. “I’m not going to be blogging for forever - I don’t want to be sharing my outfits when I’m forty years old.”
For Anelisa Mangcu, the ‘blogger’ title had never really fit quite right. “I never felt that people really liked listening to what I had to say… it wasn’t always fashion related, it was more art related. My opinion on events, street culture, art movements, how art and the digital space intersect.” She figured out what most don’t before it’s too late – that the kind of content she wanted to make didn’t fit the platforms she was using to share it. So it was time to switch gears. “I’m rebranding myself in preparation for specialising in what I really love to do, what I had started doing in the beginning that became how I entered the space of the business of fashion.” She’s already set to start work on a master’s degree in curatorial management from Italy’s Instituto Marangoni in late 2017, but she’s still adjusting after recently making the move from work-hard-play-hard Cape Town to 24/7 full throttle Johannesburg. “People are very friendly and accommodating in both cities, but obviously the scenes are very different. The move has been good… having a 9-5 has been interesting.” Her off-duty time is now precious and spent mostly on curation passion projects like The Art of a Woman exhibition held in Cape Town. “It just kind of affirms that I really love what I do, because I make the time for it.”
Our shoot was a reunion of sorts for longtime friends Aqeelah and Anelisa, who got all dressed up with The Way of Us to style their selects from our new Summer shoe collection.
Every new season is a chance for fashion to become a new version of itself, and shoes are no exception. Welcome back strappy styles, detailed with dainty hardware, plush textures, and blocked heels. Boots will stay low, but Summer's strappy heels reach a little higher - all the better to style up your favourite dress or make your old weekend uniform of jeans and a tee feel new again.
Aqeelah: I’ve always been a shoe girl. I love that platforms are back, and the velvet touch is just the coolest.
Anelisa: So I’ve always had this insecurity with open shoes because I never liked my toes - I just felt like if I walked in them my foot would come out. I really like that with these I was able to show off my nail colour and still feel secure. And then you always win with black.
Remember when skinny jeans were weird? Yeah, me neither. The same thing has happened to ankle boots - no longer off-beat pedestal items, they've joined closets everywhere. Summer's offerings take inspiration from the runway to bring us a range of treats: patent leather, plexiglass heels, and embellished denim to start.
Anelisa: Sexy as hell. Very chic, very European, you can wear it to a formal event, wear it when you’re taking your kids to school in your G-wagon or your Jeep, to the mall when you tryin’ to flex on ‘em… it’s a beautiful shoe.
Aqeelah: They are actually one of my favourite summer staples. Definitely got to show a bit of leg so it works with all things summery. They’re so cool for festivals, to wear with cropped trousers… a great transitional shoe you can wear all year.
Slides had a real moment just over a year ago when the global fitness craze was at its peak and all eyes were on sport brands (Oh hey, Adilettes), which is strange considering that you can't work out in them. Maybe it's not so strange considering that Birkenstocks, originally designed as casual comfort shoes in the 60s, came back into favour with the fashion set right before that. While the street culture hype for sportier versions has faded, sophisticated styles inspired by Balenciaga and Victoria Beckham's SS16 runways are taking their place in the spotlight, with traditional Birks in new fabrication (plastic and metallic leather) joining in on the fun.
Anelisa: One of my faves Lulama Wolf always wears them, and I told myself it’s probably for someone who has a slimmer leg. Wearing it the way that I wanted to was phenomenal. I think it looks so beautiful with the flared pants. An elegant, natural, relaxed aesthetic.
Aqeelah: I love that they’re so easy to wear and we don’t have to be embarrassed about wearing them anymore! Everyone low key has a pair, somewhere. Now we can be shameless about it.
Arguably the most practical of summer shoe choices, sandals have stepped up to the style plate, so to speak. You'll find ankle straps with simple buckles everywhere this Summer, providing a secure fit without added bulk. Try studs on black leather for an edgy appeal, or a rustic criss-cross style with a braided rubber sole. Light strappy options come in a range of metallic treatments with decorations like tassels and pom poms, and chunkier styles stick to a darker natural palette.
Aqeelah: I love that sandals are huge for Summer - flats are okay! Fashion’s become a lot more accommodating of everyone’s lifestyle so we’re getting cool statement sandals. Always fun to style up.
Anelisa: We got the tone on tone thing going with this dress. And the shoes, again, open but secure. I love those so much - they’re like what Jesus would wear. I felt kind of connected to him.
After having folded seamlessly into mainstream fashion over the past few years thanks to the rise of street culture and athleisure, a good pair of kicks has earned its prized spot in the closets of style champions everywhere. The white sneaker sits atop the throne, making its return to staple status this season with refreshed options from Nike, adidas Originals and surprise comeback kid Reebok.
Aqeelah: I wear sneakers with everything - dresses, slacks, jeans, everything. I arrived on set in the new Gazelles! Sneakers aren’t going anywhere - very happy about that.
Anelisa: I’m a sneakerhead - I collect. Like, forty-something pairs. So of course, and those were Nike’s, right? Yeah. I’ll just say yeah.