Fashion photographer Bill Cunningham famously said that, “Fashion is the armour to survive the reality of everyday life.”
This month I caught up with Zaahida Ackerdien, of Bo-Kaap, the brainchild behind the label Modestly Captured, to discus what’s hot this winter.
Firstly, Zaahida described what is meant when one refers to “modest” fashion.
“I have always been inspired to create designs that covered a woman’s body but still maintained an air of elegance. My designs are stylish and modern and aim to express a woman’s inner modesty while at the same time keeping up with local and international trends.”
She said initially “modest” fashion was believed to solely be the choice of Muslim women but now women from all walks of life are opting to buy garments which have longer sleeves and hemlines.
Zaahida says she is at her happiest when sketching designs and hunting for different types of fabric: “I enjoy touching and getting a feel for the different textures of the fabric. I believe the fabric and textiles a designer chooses add a personal charm to the garment being produced.”
The up-and-coming designer says her grandmother and grandfather, Naserah and Achmat Adams, were both in the clothing manufacturing and tailoring industry. “I fondly remember how stylish they both were. I recall him walking down the street with his bespoke tailored chequered suit and red fez, and I loved looking at old photos of her pictured walking down Adderley Street with her beautifully styled outfits and fur coat.”
On some of the items every woman needs in her cupboard this winter, Zaahida advised having a good quality cotton flowing shirt, trench coat and a parka-styled jacket. “Try to purchase a parka in neutral colours such as beige, navy and black so that when you add a garment with an under-print for layering purposes, it does not clash with your overall look.”
She encouraged women to keep their attire simple and elegant this winter while not forgetting to add a novel scarf to add a pop of colour to brighten up their day.
For curvier women, Zaahida says free flowing garments and loose fitting dresses made of heavier fabric are best.
“Stripes and monochromes are the patterns I have used in my latest collection so women should look out for that when shopping.”
I am a sucker for a good pair of winter stockings. Ones to look out for this season are opaques, knitted, patterned versions and bright coloured pairs.
Her advice to women is that they should always try on garments before buying them. “You need to feel at ease in the piece or it could easily lay wasted in your closet. I am also loving the scuba material as it is comfortable and more forgiving to women of all shapes and sizes,” she said.
A working mom of three, Zaahida, who previously worked in the beauty and cosmetology industry, named the essential items every woman should have in their handbag during winter.
“Firstly, start off with with a good cleanser and moisturiser. Proper cleansing and especially exfoliating is essential to prevent dehydrated skin and blocked pores. I would suggest women keep cleansing wipes in their handbags if they tend to have an oily or combination skin. Before applying lipstick, use a lip moisturiser, on the bare lip, to prevent it from becoming chapped. A waterproof mascara is essential and for women on the go a stay fast matte lipstick works wonders. During winter our skin tends to become dry, especially under the eye area and using a good eye serum to keep the crow’s feet at bay is important. Apply the under serum to the contour bone so that it naturally absorbs into the eye area.”
Zaahida says her brand is slowly “crawling up the ladder” and that she is passionate about inspiring others in the beauty and fashion industry.
“You need to work hard, stay humble, display your skills at every opportunity, network and try to collaborate with others so that you can grow your business. Always remain proud of your individuality as that is what will set you apart from the crowd.”
And as for little ol’ me well, I am off to find the ultimate cost-effective winter coat. Keep your eyes peeled and don’t forget to send through your fashion tips and advice to firstname.lastname@example.org
You can follow Zaahida on Instagram at modestly_captured