Meet the patron saint of Johannesburg hypebeasts and age-ambiguous Insta baddies everywhere, Yasmin Furmie
Words: Heather Clancy | Photography: Andile Phewa
"Don't regret anything that you do because everything that you do is a lesson. It's easier said than done because you do often look back and think 'Argh, why did I do that?' but when you sit down and think about it, anything – a failure, something that hurt you – they're all lessons for later on."
It's natural that Yasmin Furmie, patron saint of Johannesburg hypebeasts and age-ambiguous Insta baddies everywhere, would take an almost fluffy conversation about the hard-and-fast rules of style and turn it into a DMC about the rules of life. Famously adept at that know-it-when-you-see-it effortless style, Yasmin runs circles around questions that are poorly masked attempts to simply learn how to not dress even-a-little-bit kak. Instead, she juggles honest life advice with practical tips on how to clash prints. For the former, to paraphrase, "Do you, boo!" and for the latter, know the colour wheel and consider the unexpected, such as coupling pink and red. But above all, forget what about what people think and start with good shoes.
"If I'm invited somewhere, the first thing I think about is what I'm going to put on my feet. And then work my way up from there. I've always been like that, shoes are my first attraction."
Rocking everything from sky-high brogues to a rainbow assortment of pristine sneakers, Yasmin's shoes first policy is obvious when scrolling through her Instagram feed. Not yet content with a shoe collection to make even the most ardent sneakerhead reconsider their life choices, she speaks regretfully of the Balenciaga Triple S that slipped through her fingers on a recent trip to Sydney. However, that's where her regrets end, and with a real confidence that is almost tangible when spending time with her, it's understandable why.
"People must do what they like." She offers when I try to hack an idiot-proof formula for understanding how to keep silhouettes more Yohji than "Oh no baby! What is you doin'?" Changing between three wildly different outfits, each a master class in #OOTD excellence, it's no surprise that Yasmin has long passed the foundations of fashion, and what's seemingly obvious for her, remains utterly bewildering for most people confronted with the harsh reality that skinny jeans just aren't as cool as they used to be. But for someone who has been earnestly described as representing the zeitgeist, what's cool is too easy to decipher and so more time is spent wondering what's interesting. Shying away from anything obvious, Yasmin doesn't do simple labels or labels at all. "I don't like to have somebody go 'Oh, that's very pretty' I don't like that." Intuitively mixing masculine and feminine style along with streetwear and high-end fashion, old photos of Yasmin show the beginnings of this shapeshifting style with looks ranging from Sade-inspired denim layers to #lewks that could be straight from the set of In Living Color.
"People don't understand that, first of all, you don't have to buy the size that you are. If it looks good for me, I don't care. I like that really big look. But someone else will find that a bit odd."
Although aware and often appreciative of other people's opinions, the longer you speak with Yasmin, the more you'll notice (and envy) her amused disregard for anyone's opinion but her own. Whether it's her kids or the cool kids of Instagram whose only vocab when it comes to her posts seems to be a variation of "SLAY" and "EVERYTHING", Yasmin expresses a Zen-like aura of IDGAF that is frankly inspirational.
"I'm at a stage where I don't apologize for where I am. Society boxes people in and I want to break that. I think there's a push worldwide for women to go 'Hell no, you're not going to tell me what I shouldn't wear.'"
But first of all, who would dare to tell the woman who makes Star Wars socks look impossibly chic damn well anything about fashion? A mother, a wife and a former social worker who's lived in Australia and South Africa, Yasmin knows all about the roles society expects women to play and that's what makes her polite middle-finger to societal expectations so admirable. Naturally rebellious and playfully bold, Yasmin advocates risk-taking in fashion, and in life.
"Take risks. It's the only way for you to know what you like. You will make mistakes and not everything you do is going to be perfect, but you learn from those mistakes whether it's fashion mistakes, relationship mistakes or career mistakes… Those are the sort of things that enhance us."
Wearing Celine shades, Nike Air Max Plus, a Balenciaga bag, a fistful of rings and a look of cultivated contentment, Yasmin certainly makes a compelling case for mistakes if the destination looks anything like this. When asked how she would describe style to a child, Yasmin explains that style is not about showing off, but rather showing yourself. "Whether you're dressing up or dressing down, you're showing your feelings." And suddenly the allure of Yasmin Furmie's matchless style is revealed. While it certainly helps that she has a wardrobe likely to excite even the most jaded fashion editor, she also has something even more sought-after; the real feeling of confidence.
Shop Yasmin's Superbalist selects