Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Good Ideas: WOZA (Wear Only South African)

[Screen capture from wearonlyza.com]

The What

In the future, everyone will buy and wear African. Or so it seems, with movements like WOZA (Wear Only South African) turning the spotlight to local made in South Africa brands and the people who wear them. Think of it as a look book that celebrates South Africa's fashion scene and gives you front row seats to who's wearing what. 

Kickstarted by the Capetown Fashion Council, WOZA exists to "raise awareness and increase the profile and desire for South African designed and produced fashion", and to "stimulate a local demand for buying local clothing". Tapping into the model used by popular sites like lookbook.nu, WOZA is a visual boost for South Africa's blooming industry and the face of the movement to put South African Fashion, well, in your face.

WOZA is a natural evolution from movements such as the Buy Nigerian and Wear South African Fridays campaigns, and a more permanent showcase of all who've already bought into the 'buy local' message (and bait for those who've remained on the sidelines). The long and short of it? If so and so is buying South African, so can you.

[Screen capture from wearonlyza.com]

The How
The step-by-step of WOZA is very straight forward - take a photo, upload, save. Included in those steps are spaces for "The name of the South African Designer you are wearing" and "Where you bought them". There's also a crowd participation component built in via the pink VOTE button on each photo. The more votes you get, the more you stand a chance of being featured in the "Who's Got It Made" section. WOZA is also taking it to the streets, camera in hand, to turn the focus on everyday people going about their business wearing South African.  

The Perks
While the photos don't necessarily specify where an item was purchased yet - and they should -, a list of participating designers and participating stores is available. Perks could include special promotions and discounts, such as the ongoing 20% off at Mememe boutique (owned by blogger Milisuthando Bongela of Wear South African Fridays fame and designer Doreen Southwood). "Hot items" are also showcased in rotation, giving designers space to present their creations.

SLiq Thinks
While pop-stores and "major retail partnerships" are in the works, WOZA as it exists today represents one of the most powerful tools for discovering and supporting local talent, and to have the Capetown Fashion Council throw its weight behind this movement is a clear indication that individual buying patterns can have a powerful effect on an industry and the livelihoods it represents. The future of "Buying African" is in fact not in some distant faraway place, it's already here.

Support WOZA here today.

- SLiq

Quotes from WOZA Press Release here.

SLiq's Good Ideas showcases concepts that present Africans in fashion at their best. If it's good, we'll talk about it.

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