It’s incredible to witness what a formidable movement urban culture has become in South Africa. One of the most impressive facets has been the immense growth of street wear brands. From a once virtually non-existent street wear culture to a now fully fledged scene, burgeoning with emerging brands, fashionista’s and hype beasts alike.
One of the leaders of the culture is none another than SA dime piece Azola Mona. Young, fresh and perpetually dripping in swag, Azola has a puristic appreciation for street wear and reps the culture harder than most. In this edition of Fresh Nation, Azola speaks to us about her love for the urban scene, her views on emerging street wear brands in South Africa as well as being the 1st lady of leading urban wear brand Head Honcho.
Q: Who is Azola Mona?
A: I’m a 23 year-old brand building and management student at Vega in Cape Town. I’m a proudly Xhosa woman-born in Port Elizabeth but have lived practically all over SA. (Although in my heart I believe I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. LOL). In a nutshell I would describe myself as shy yet sociable, fun loving, caring, ambitious and slightly eclectic. I am also 1000000% the ultimate Beyoncé Stan.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: I wouldn’t say I have a specific style; I dress in what feels comfortable and looks good for my body type and me. I like trying new trends but I believe and understand that not everything out there is for everyone. So I stay in my style/fashion lane.
Q: Where do you get your style inspiration?
A: My friends, my sister, Blogs, Hot new and old trends and Rihanna.
Q: What are your favourite fashion trends at the moment?
A: Chunky accessories, bold colours, high waisted pants/shorts/skirts, patterns, strappy heels and sneakers, sneakers, sneakers!!
Q: Who do you consider as your style icons and why?
A: Definitely Rihanna- she just does it for me. Love the fact that she’s open to trying new things. Some are misses but mostly she hits the nail right on the head for me- regardless of if she’s dressed up or down.
Q: What do you think of where the SA street style scene is at right now?
A: I love where the SA street style is at the moment. It’s definitely growing and being celebrated by normal people and not just bloggers. People are outchea doing the most and looking good while doing it. I enjoy the fact that people aren’t afraid to show their personalities through their outfits. Some of it is redundant and trend specific but it’s done well.
Q: Do you think there is a difference in terms of the street wear scene in Cape Town and in Johannesburg?
A: Yes, I’d say the CT street wear scene is more quirky and European fashion inspired. While JHB on the other hand is focused on being trendy. Cape Town for me is the more stylish city.
Q: The SA hip-hop scene has also flourished immensely over the past few years, who are you favourite artists and why?
A: OkMalumKoolKat & Ricky Rick – because they are just pushing their own vibe and not subscribing to the norm. Love their music and BoyznBucks movement. Other than that, I also really enjoy Khuli Chana, Ifani & AKA.
Q: Speaking of favourite artists, you must be the biggest Beyoncé Stan I’ve ever come across, can you please tell us a bit more about your love Bey.
A: I have loved Beyoncé since I was born. I’ve followed her journey since her Destiny’s Child Days, my family and friends actually think Beyoncé ung’loyile. I just feel that she is the greatest of all time. She is a great role model and an inspiration. She has worked for all that she has career wise- and to top it off is now also a wife and mother. Beyoncé can do no wrong. And when I grow up I want to be Blue-Ivy.
Q: There have been many urban clothing brands that have been established recently, do think there is enough support for emerging local brands?
A: YES! I don’t think there is optimal support but it definitely is there. Not only is the consumerism and support growing but so is the quality of the local urban wear brands. The past year or so has seen many emerging brands; I love that, because more quality competition is needed to push the market to new heights.
Q: What are you favourite urban/street style brands, both locally and internationally?
A: Locally it would be Head Honcho. Internationally, it would be a tie between OBEY & SUPREME.
Q: Sneakers have become such an integral part of urban culture, which kicks do you think are the dopest out at the moment?
A: I believe in Nike- anything their offering is a people pleaser. Especially with them re-launching a lot of their retro Jordan designs, Air Max’s and Roshe Runs are also great at the moment. Also Converse All- Stars never disappoint.
Q: On the subject of kicks, we’ve heard you have a pretty dope collection, can you please tell us more about that.
A: I love shoes in general, but a fresh pair of crisp sneakers makes the world go ‘round. My repertoire is definitely still growing- my favorite pair is my Jordan Son Of Mars Varsity Red/Black/Cement.
Q: What do you love most about urban culture?
A: I love the fact that it’s easy going. You get to play around with it- mixing and matching it with other fashion trends/cultures. Dressing it down or up, it just works. I also dig the fact that it has moved away from being solely associated with hip hop and encompasses a better understanding of fashion, creativity and fit.
Q: You are a brand ambassador for Head Honcho, the biggest street wear brand in the country, how did that come about and how has the experience been so far?
A: I met Nick and Mzo in early 2009 through some mutual friends. Head Honcho had only been around for a year back then, and was mostly geared at male consumers. I liked the fact that they were branching out and doing female stuff and kept jokingly calling myself the 1st Lady of Honcho. It kind of stuck cause when the female ranges started coming up, they’d call me for some in put and my opinion on the clothes. Being a named ambassador sort of came up organically through that in 2012.
Q: You’ve traveled to New York often, how has that impacted on your own personal style and how would you compare SA’s street wear scene to that of the States?
A: New York fashion is eons ahead of us!! Almost everyone you see walking or working in Times Square, Downtown Manhattan & Brooklyn just look like they’ve stepped off your favourite Tumblr fashion blogs. It’s a melting pot of different fashion styles, it’s so great. They have a lot of stores with amazing clothes- and not just the department stores that we are sort of restricted to in SA- that definitely gives them the fashion advantage in comparison to us.
You can follow Azola on Twitter and Instagram 🙂
Twitter – @Ms_Azee
Instagram – abrooklynwinter 🙂