Elodi Troskie

The honour of featuring on Style Indaba’s Instagram page is not one that has been bestowed on everyone, since only the best is good enough for their more than 1 500 followers.

The fashion-forward curators of @style_indaba celebrated the brand’s one-year anniversary on Sunday, 13 May at the GUS art gallery in Dorp Street.

The two founders, Viwe Benxa and Bagcine Gabelane, Social Work students at Stellenbosch University, started the page in 2017 to change the conception of how people in Stellenbosch dress. Even though Stellies is known for shorts and plakkies, Style Indaba wants to show that people do put effort into what they wear every day.

The other team members include Nicole Weels, Danielle Gradwell, Naledi Yona and Zolisa Pule.

The Style Indaba team take photos of their favourite outfits on campus during the day, which they post on the account’s story. At the end of the day, the team chooses the top three to post on their account. Their followers can then choose an outfit of the day.

What do the Style Indaba team look for in an outfit?

“Our motto is ‘style is relative’. It can be anything in anyone,” Benxa said.

Weels looks for an outfit that is put together craftily.

“I’m always looking for someone who puts together things that people won’t normally put together. Someone who walks with a little bit of confidence,” she explained.

Founding member, Gabelane, looks for uniqueness.

“I also look for aesthetic. I won’t just look for your top and your jeans, but also the way you did your hair. I appreciate when people look at everything, like earrings and shoelaces,” she said.

According to Gabelane, the gallery was chosen for this event with a specific purpose in mind: the white walls are the canvas and the people, all dressed up, are the moving artworks.

The Style Indaba team are studying a variety of subjects unrelated to fashion. There are two Social Work students, one BA Social Dynamics, a BA Humanities and two Accounting students. Gabelane, however, hopes to go into the fashion industry, creating content for fashion magazines.

She said she thinks Style Indaba will evolve into a blog or even an Internet magazine.

Because most of the current team are graduating at the end of this year, they are trying to get first years involved to continue the brand. They are also looking to expand Style Indaba to other campuses in South Africa.

“Our plans for now are to get more followers and hopefully collaborate with other brands, residences and people who want to take fashion and art even further,” Benxa says.
Visit Style Indaba on their Instagram page @style_indaba.

Photo: Elodi Troskie