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Zee Fashionista: The Philosophy of Style #3


The Philosophy of Style #3

Style is one of those things in life that cannot be bought. It cannot be forced. It is one of those things that simply shows itself.
Yves Saint Laurent famously said that, "Fashion fades, style is eternal." Style is not about following fleeting fads and trends, and possessing all the latest designer clothes. Style is timeless. It is unique to the individual. It is about self-expression, history, culture, innovation, self-esteem...

Fashionistas will not bend to fashion rules set out by fashion editors tucked away in their ivory towers.

They know what they want.

They are no longer buying into the "emperors' new clothes" doctrine; "just trust the experts and wear it whether you like it or not" philosophy. They want real clothes, and they want their attire to reflect their beliefs without having to utter a word. They want their garments to live in synchronicity with their core values.

I bring you the Philosophy of Style series of posts, detailing selected fashionistas' ideas on style.


You could describe 21-year-old Yves Paris as a modern day Da Vinci. Along with being the Creative Director of AFTERDEF Museum Photography, he has a slew of titles and ambitions under his belt.

There's no doubting his talent, or his progressive creative vision. I got the scoop behind his expressive style.

Zee Fashionista: How would you describe yourself in a paragraph?

Yves Paris: I am what pop luxury will be in the next four years. I am a mixture of different aesthetic elements and pop cultural moments. Oh let's not forget, I am an art kid with a keen interest in blurring the line between artistically credible art and a commercially sound art product. I am going to work hard on creating art that will be relevant in the next 50 - 100 years. A man must be ambitious and be willing to work hard - that sums me up.

ZF: Where did you grow up and how would describe how you were as a youth?

YP: I grew up between Soweto, Leondale, Magiliesburg, Turffontein - so I guess I am a proper Johannesburg kid through and through. I am still the same as I was, it's just that now I am a better version. I was always the odd one out but I still mingled with the crowd, sometimes. When most of my peers were doing "normal youth" things, I was in between books, art galleries, hip hop block parties and magazines. I have always been interested in pop culture and just being the best at learning stuff that intrigues me (which to say the least, was totally not ordinary for kids my age). As I said, right now, I am the better version of that, I am involved in pop culture and just learning how to destroy the rule book. I am on route to being the better, more improved Hedi Slimane of my generation.

ZF: Is there something about yourself that people might not readily know?

YP: I am probably the dressed chef in the whole world. I have an addiction for all things good therefore, I feel like I need to be able to be the greatest chef around. So I am still learning how to chef it up. Oh, and people might not know that I am quite emotionally in tune with myself. I throw all my emotions in everything I do. I am just that extremely passionate.

ZF: What do you think style is?

YP: Style to me has got nothing to do with money or labels. Although, sometimes, money allows you learn a lot about style. Style for me is being able to combine your personality with your clothes. It's an overarching language that sets up how you dress, interact, speak and carry yourself in public and private.

ZF : Who/what influences your style?

YP: Pharrell Williams, Kanye West, Virgil Abloh, Pietro Beccari, Hypebeast, Mr Porter and old Italian men who make dressing look effortless.

ZF : How does your style reflect your dreams/goals/lifestyle?

YP: I really find it grotesque that people who are into art (artists), end up dressing drab because they are always physically working. So I am the direct opposite of the stereotype that art kids should dress drab. I want to be artistically credible, like Michaelangelo, but still dress impeccably like Gordon Gekko or Shia LeBeouf (Wall Street 2-esque). So my style reflects my ambitions. It's still a work in progress, because I am still adding and removing style elements to my aesthetic. The tailoring in my clothes reflects my goals to be the the greatest visual artist. The colour palettes are both bold and subdued - a mixture of ideas.

ZF: What do you think is the importance of prevailing style vs. just following trends?

YP: Yooo, this has to be the most important question to date. Look, it's perfectly dandy to follow fashion trends just to know what's happening around you. However, you don't have to buy into every single trend. The importance ot prevailing style is being able to an arbiter, a collector, and refiner. A true style genius is the one who can look at 7000 pieces from Paris/Milan/London Fashion Week and then pick up on  ten that he feels reflect him accurately. After picking those ten pieces, he brings them to what he already has and incorporates them to his existing style palette. Yeah, fashion trends are cool but NOW is not the time to be a fashion sheep. As a man or woman you must have an opinion on what you wear - engage with those clothes.

*SIDEBAR - I always find it weird when people say they spent like three minutes shopping or on their look. Weird. When did you take the time to look at the colour, texture and fit?

ZF: What are the top 5 items in your wardrobe?

YP: Gold watch. Grey chinos. I'm trying to add a lot of silk and satin shirts in black, salmon, nude and grey colours, but I have to get it right, so I'm researching it. Red New Balance sneakers and minimal white and grey t-shirts.

ZF: What is your style advice for men and women alike?

YP: I reckon the most frustrating thing is that men and recently women are fashion/style ignorant. They buy whatever they see somebody else wearing or what the magazines put on their pages.

As men, we really need to start paying attention to our style sensibilities. It's something as simple as getting the right watch, the right fitting pants or the right jacket for YOU, not your homies, YOU homie. Women: I really believe women need to quit with the same outfits over and over. I feel like women are taking less bold risks and variation with their clothes. No more leggings - be confident to wear shorts, dresses and pants. Another thing is, magazines need to play a certain role in your style decisions, but not rule your closet. Apply the same idea as I do - gloss over various sources of information and pick up pieces you like. Learn and interact with things that are not in your regular circle.

The AFTERDEF Museum manifesto

AFTERDEF Museum is a boutique photography and art direction agency,
offering small to larger-scale production of editorial and advertising photo shoots.

Our service include all aspects of production and executive production,
with a specialization in luxury and pop , photography , casting, art direction, production.

Our goal is to provide creative vision for our clients while providing a high end service ensuring a seamless production from start to finish and to create images that are artistically credible and commercially viable for our clients.

For more information on AFTERDEF Museum, visit their website here, or e-mail INFO.PARISROME@GMAIL.COM. Or you can contact AFTERDEF's Agent/Manager, Ntokozo Matshiana, at +27 72 090 8526.

All pictures courtesy of Yves Paris and AFTERDEF Museum.



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