Meet the fashion anthropologist with the minimalist yet edgy style
Photography: Anthony Bila
With a Masters degree in Fashion Studies from Parsons School of Design, 25-year-old fashion anthropologist and blogger Kenny Morifi-Winslow understands culture and society through design, specialising in the crossover between fashion and art. As a new contributor on The Way of Us, we thought we'd get to know our Johannesburg correspondent a little better by asking her five quick fashion questions.
When did you first become conscious of your style?
I was a pretty precocious kid. I have pictures of myself in pleather wedge mules and a two piece purple velvet long sleeve suit at the age of about 6, so I think fashion has always been the primary medium through which I’ve expressed myself growing up. I think I became really conscious of what style meant, however, in my early teens, when subcultures defined who we were as people, and fashion became a huge part of that.
What are your hopes for the local fashion industry/scene? or What do you think is lacking in the South African fashion industry right now?
I think what’s lacking is critical engagement with the design industry as a whole. We aren’t asking enough questions, poking enough holes, challenging what we know. This makes me hopeful for the growth of the industry, however, because it means we can evolve while avoiding some of the mistakes more developed markets have made. For example, the cause closest to my heart is ethical production and sustainable design. We are uniquely positioned as a burgeoning market, to integrate those concepts into the industry before it grows too big to change.
What have been your biggest most embarrassing fashion faux pas?
I’m not really embarrassed about the fashion mistakes I’ve made. I think they reflect an evolution, a growth from one kind of person to another; it’s quite a laugh to look back on. But I went through a fedora phase at about age 11, and I am mortified by how much evidence there is of that!
Which fashion trends are you loving and hating right now?
I’m not really much of a trend follower, my wardrobe is pretty classic and I prefer it that way, trends just become reference points for interesting ways to update the style I’ve already settled on. I’m loving the return to mules and slides, and statement earrings have always been a passion of mine, so I’m glad those too are getting more attention. As for the comeback Teva velcro sandal is making, it’s an absolute no from me. Birkenstocks I can get behind, but Teva’s just reminds me of being at kindergarten.
If you could choose one decade to live in based on its fashion, which one would it be?
I would have loved to live in 1960’s New York, when minimalism in art really hit the big time, shoving people like Frank Stella into the hot seat. Japanese culture heavily influenced the way minimalism was interpreted into space and place, and all of those changes in thinking are visible in the evolution of the way people dressed in that particular time, in that particular place.