Connect with us

Fashion

How To Dress Up For The Home Office

Published

on

As the virus continues to keep people indoors and upend the world of fashion, our Johannesburg-based stylist shares her top tips on dressing up for WFH and online meetings. But don’t wear pyjamas, she warns.

The late German fashion legend Karl Lagerfeld once said, “Sweatpants are a sign of defeat. You lost control of your life so you bought some sweatpants.”

It would seem now that he wasn’t completely off-the-mark, was he? Who would have thought on the first of January of a year that had been initially hailed as ‘twenty plenty’, that one miniscule virus would bring the whole world to a standstill and confine people to their homes? Who would have thought that gloves and face-masks would suddenly be the new rage in the upended world of fashion?

Due to the rising number of Covid-19 cases globally, employees in lockdown have no other option but to be productive in their home offices. Whilst Zoom calls and online meetings are the new norm, here are a few fashion do’s and don’ts for this period and beyond for those working remotely. 

Do… Plan what you wear, be it a clean pair of sweatpants or a clean top. In the same way you would curate your look for a day at the office, plan for a comfortable work day at home. This prepares and sets your mind up for productivity.

Don’t… Wear pyjamas. While it’s understood that you’re not in your normal working environment, it’s important to always put your best foot forward. Wearing pyjamas on a work video con-call may translate as a lack of respect and regard for your colleagues and most importantly, yourself. Do not fall into the temptation!

Do… Wear a neutral colored top! A plain black, white, tan or grey T-shirt or sweater, a washed face and neat hair will go a long way for those zoom conference calls. You can’t control your environment, be it the bawling baby in the next room or the neighbor mowing his lawn, but you can at the very least, attempt to look presentable and somewhat professional while in your comfort zone. 

Don’t… Wear a printed item or distracting accessories for video conference calls. Avoid any minor distractions. Your colleagues want to get off the work call as much – and as soon as – you do. Don’t create a point of discussion that will drag on the conversation or deviate from the point of the call. 

“Like poetry, fashion doesn’t state anything, it merely suggests,” said Lagerfeld famously.

What people see before them has the first say even before a person opens his or her mouth to speak. Make sure you’re in control of the narrative when it comes to how you want to be perceived professionally, be it in the office or in the middle of your living room. 

Keabetswe Mafora

Entrepreneurs

The Architect In Clothing Who Wants To Tell More Stories

Published

on

Katungulu Mwendwa has deconstructed fashion and has a positive, defiant and edgy take on the environmental crises compounded by the global clothing industry.

A sleek saffron kaftan over Pollock-spattered silk trousers; the obsidian fins of a night-black evening dress; a sashed, punky, persimmon hoody from the future streets of Nairobi. These are the irresistible stories in Kenyan designer Katungulu Mwendwa’s startling KATUSH fashion brand label.

The child of a psychologist and an architect, Mwendwa grew up in a nurturing creative environment that introduced her to an eclectic skillset of creative tools.

“My dad used to take us to work with him,” she says. “We would actually draft a lot, as an experiment. In fashion, you have to create the pattern, the master bloc, and it requires a level of geometry to develop. With the human form, you have to remove suppression at different angles, to create volumes and shapes. So working with my dad definitely made me more confident in that. He did want me to be an architect. So now I’m like, ‘look! I’m an architect for clothing!’”

Emboldened by her triumph in the reality TV contest Catwalk Kenya in 2007, Mwendwa pursued her bachelor’s degree at the University for the Creative Arts in Rochester, United Kingdom. 

“By the time I graduated, I had a better understanding of who and what the key players and roles were,” she says. “I was determined to come back to Kenya to create a business that I could then offer not just to the local consumer, but to a global market.”

Her second major break came with an invitation to present at Gen Art’s ‘Fresh Faces in Fashion’ show at New York Fashion Week in 2012. She arrived “by myself with two suitcases, running around New York lost and confused,” after two sleepless months of frantic sewing.

“It was exciting, but extremely nerve-wracking,” she says. “I remember some people saying, ‘but your stuff doesn’t really look African…’ They were waiting for something with more color, with more prints, and I had this post-apocalyptic, nomadic thing going on! And I struggled with that at the beginning – the whole concept of being told I’m not African enough – and I used to wonder what that meant. These days, I’m like, no, that’s not my battle. And now I’m designing what I like to make.”

She cites the essential impact of opportunities such as the HEVA investment fund, which supports entrepreneurship in the East African creative sector.

“I was very grateful to them,” she says, “for at least being patient and interested in those of us who would not necessarily get financial support, because we are considered such a high-risk business.” She now involves local artisanal groups, such as brass and aluminium casters, in her creative projects, and is sensitive to the challenges facing cottage industries whose traditional skills often lie outside the purview of a ruthless, churning, unpredictable industry.

“I’m curious about the evolution of culture, and practices and aesthetics relevant to our day-to-day lives,” she says (see her ‘Dinka Translation’ collection, which transfuses an ancient South Sudanese iconography into the clipped geometric lines of the boardroom or the cocktail party). “Retaining specific cultural practices, as opposed to copying and pasting, is critical in understanding how to manoeuvre through some of the challenges we face.”

She says that much more can and should be done to bring these local industries into the fold. “These artisans don’t have access to markets, and because they can be so detached from their direct consumer here in Nairobi, it becomes easier for someone to exploit them,” she says.

“I’ve always felt it’s the role of designers in the region to work closely with them, and then by extension, the market will create further demand.”

The edgy Afro-futurism of her work feels like a positive, defiant repost to the environmental crises compounded by the global clothing industry, a bloated leviathan which dumps almost two hundred tonnes of mitumba (second hand clothing) into East African markets every year. The Kenyan mitumba sector is a complex, controversial beast in its own right, creating millions of jobs while simultaneously suffocating regional productivity.

“Brands like myself cannot compete with clothing that is here for free,” Mwendwa says.

“There are a few designers creating upcycled clothing, which to me is extremely admirable. But I don’t know how good it is for us as a people, because it limits our ability to compete on an equal level. It has killed our textile sector, our own industry, and therefore we aren’t even able to source locally.”

She is optimistic, but cautious, about the future; light on her feet about the direction she may pursue.

“I’m going to tell more stories. I want to better understand how to communicate with a consumer that feels the way I feel,” she says.  “I know it’s probably a niche consumer, but I also know they exist, in different pockets of the globe. I think we’re all everyday superheroes: that person that brings you a cup of coffee in the morning, might just say hi, might just be a stranger who stopped and waited for you to cross the road. That’s what informs my collection. And I want to share that with people.”

By Alastair Hagger

Continue Reading

Billionaires

Kanye West Is Now Officially A Billionaire—And He Really Wants The World To Know

Published

on

By

After months of requests, the hip-hop superstar shared financial records, revealing details about his wildly popular Yeezy sneaker empire — and his fixation on outside validation.

When last we checked in with Kanye West, the mercurial hip-hop superstar-turned-footwear magnate, I was tiptoeing through a parking lot crop circle composed of hundreds of pairs of his Yeezy sneakers. “I’m not a numbers guy,” he explained ten months ago. “To ask me to somehow translate this to numbers is to ask your grandmother exactly what the recipe of the cake was.”

There’s only one number that West cares about. A billion, as in dollars. And he cares a lot.

When we featured West on the cover of Forbes last summer, delving into his incredible success with Yeezy, he seemed pleased at first. His world-famous wife, Kim Kardashian West, even tweeted her congratulations, to the positive affirmations of 32,300 of their closest Twitter friends.But without sufficient documentation on his unusual stake, versus just his word and industry guesstimates, we didn’t call him a billionaire. And that grated on him. As the year wore on, he protested publicly. (“I showed them a $890 million receipt, and they still didn’t say ‘billionaire,’” he told an industry panel, about something that no one at Forbes remembers.) In private, he was more biting. (A “disrespectful article,” he texted this week, that was “purposely snubbing me.”)

After months of requests, the hip-hop superstar shared his financial records, revealing details on his wildly popular Yeezy sneakers empire—and his own net worth.
 JAMEL TOPPIN FOR FORBES

When our annual billionaires list appeared earlier this month, again with West absent—still no documentation, and now a pandemic to boot—West again reacted with hurt and venom. “You know what you’re doing,” he texted. “You’re toying with me and I’m not finna lye [sic] down and take it anymore in Jesus name.” At one point, he texted that Forbes was “purposely a part of a group of media” that was trying to suppress his self-made narrative because of his race. That sister-in-law Kylie Jenner did make the list also clearly stuck in his craw.

Then yesterday, a breakthrough: West directed his team to provide what we feel is an authentic numeric look into Kanye, Inc.

Three things became clear from this exercise. First, it reinforces why we put him on the cover in the first place—West, in just a few years, has created a brand that’s challenging Nike’s Air Jordan for sneaker world supremacy. It’s one of the great retail stories of the century.

Second, it reinforced that West, who claims both in words and in this paperwork that he’s worth more than $3 billion, is as overly boastful as his political idol, President Donald Trump. Not a numbers guy? We agree.

Finally, and perhaps most critically to West, it does confirm, based on our estimates, that his stake in Yeezy indeed makes him a billionaire. A bit over $1 billion, actually.

In the process, we can now share more details about Yeezy than ever before revealed—as well as some insight into what drives this extremely creative, extremely enigmatic ten-digit artist.

Yeezy is a complicated asset. West owns 100% of it. But it’s functionally tied, at least for five-plus years based on the documents we saw, to Adidas, which produces, markets and distributes the shoes. There’s also a separate apparel division that we don’t believe makes money. Last year, our sources projected the shoes would finish 2019 with revenue north of $1.5 billion (Adidas would not comment then, or now)—per recent conversations and internal documents, we believe the final revenue number ended up closer to $1.3 billion.

Our sources told us last year that West’s agreement calls for him to receive a royalty around 15% of Yeezy revenue from Adidas. Upon closer inspection, it appears some expenses are carved out of that slice, bringing his actual cut closer to 11%. At that rate, he would have received royalties of over $140 million from Yeezy sales last year. 

West’s aggressive $3 billion self-appraisal is clearly based on the idea that the business is infinitely portable. It’s not. Taking Yeezy away from Adidas seems almost prohibitively cumbersome, if not contractually impossible. A safer way to value it: as a royalty stream, like music publishing or film residuals. Multiples, based on services like Royalty Exchange or in large private transactions, can be as low as three for something faddish like Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow” to 17 for an evergreen asset like the Eddie Murphy film Trading Places

A handful of experts surveyed felt West’s interest would fetch a multiple somewhere in the middle of that range, were it ever made available to outside investors. The convenience of the Adidas setup trumps publishing catalogs, where owners must actively collect payments from a complex web of sources—or outsource that labor to someone else in exchange for an administration fee. “His place in the capital stack is a preferred place to be,” says Royalty Exchange chief Matt Smith, who pegged the multiple at between 10 and 12.

Conservatively, as we typically are with such figures, a 10x multiple, applied to West’s Yeezy cut of $140 million, makes his stake worth about $1.4 billion. But that’s a private, highly illiquid $1.4 billion—our rule-of-thumb for private assets like that is to lop off at least 10%. That’s $1.26 billion.

A handful of experts surveyed felt West’s interest would fetch a multiple somewhere in the middle of that range, were it ever made available to outside investors. The convenience of the Adidas setup trumps publishing catalogs, where owners must actively collect payments from a complex web of sources—or outsource that labor to someone else in exchange for an administration fee. “His place in the capital stack is a preferred place to be,” says Royalty Exchange chief Matt Smith, who pegged the multiple at between 10 and 12.

Conservatively, as we typically are with such figures, a 10x multiple, applied to West’s Yeezy cut of $140 million, makes his stake worth about $1.4 billion. But that’s a private, highly illiquid $1.4 billion—our rule-of-thumb for private assets like that is to lop off at least 10%. That’s $1.26 billion.

Customized real estate often sells for less than the money put in (buyers in that range tend to want their own features, versus Kanye’s Belgian plaster). If you want to start scraping, there’s $3,845,162 for “vehicles,” $297,050 for “livestocks.” Then there’s the matter of his music. Documents we reviewed show West’s G.O.O.D. label—and his own recorded music and publishing rights—to be worth at least $90 million.

We tend to look at self-appraisals somewhat skeptically. Aside from the music, half of all this presumably belongs to his wife, although she’s no slouch and that math goes two ways. Given the illiquidity of these myriad assets and the lack of independent backup, we’re giving all of this a 50% haircut, leaving about $125 million in assets outside of his Yeezy crown jewel. Then, there’s debt: Between mortgages, advances and other liabilities, we saw about $100 million that West is on the hook for.

All told, our current net worth estimate for Kanye West: $1.3 billion, which he’ll be pleased to note is $300 million more than little sister Kylie.

The chip on West’s shoulder dates back to his early days growing up in Chicago, where teachers sometimes scolded him for sketching sneaker designs instead of doing his schoolwork. He later produced songs for Jay-Z but felt the elder mogul didn’t view him seriously as a solo act. Over the past decade, West instigated more than his share of narcissistic episodes, including a self-appointed nickname, tour and album, Yeezus, that never seemed to treat his savior complex with much irony. (Typical song: “I Am A God.”)

When viewed through that lens, his famous affinity for President Trump makes a lot of sense. (And it continues unabated—one text to Forbes’ chief content officer this week ended with “Trump 2020” and a raised fist emoji.) As does West’s net worth lobbying—an art practiced, with gusto, for decades, by Trump.

“It’s not a billion,” West texted us last night. “It’s $3.3 billion since no one at Forbes knows how to count.”

For years, Forbes had an informal “Trump rule”—take whatever the future president insisted he was worth, divide by 3, and start honing from there. Like mentor, like mentee. Welcome to the ten-digit club, Kanye. You may not like our number, but you’ve joined the highest company in that regard. 

Zack O’Malley Greenburg, Forbes Staff, Hollywood & Entertainment

Additional reporting by Randall Lane

Continue Reading

Trending