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Zee Fashionista: The Philosophy of Style #4


The Philosophy of Style #4

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.


25-year-old Rhulani Anthony Bila's blog's payoff line and Twitter bio read, "Simply put, I'm complicated."  That alone is intriguing enough. But not only is Anthony an extremely stylish ideator and project manager at the specialist media company, OneonOne, he also paints commissioned pieces, writes and makes music, blogs, and he just happens to be GQ Best Dressed Reader for 2011. Here's the philosophy behind Anthony's style:

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

Anthony Bila: I would describe myself as a curious creator who's passionate about life, love and everything else in between. I love my family and my friends. I can be stubborn at times, but I love collaborating and working with driven people. I'd like to think I have a sense of humour too. I'm quite like a chameleon in that I adapt to situations quickly - ironically, though, I'm colour blind. Didn't see that one coming, did you?

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

AB: I grew up in a township in South Africa called Tembisa on the East Rand of  Johannesburg. I have fond memories of that place, but I spent the other half of my childhood in another neighbourhood called Bonaero Park, where we moved to.

I'd like to think I haven't changed much since my days of reckless abandon - I was a curious child who loved to read, loved to learn, and loved to create. These are qualities that have formed a big part of who I am. Ursula K. LeGuin once said, "The creative adult is the child that survived", and that is how I think we should all pursue life.

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

AB: Well, besides blogging fashion, photography, art and architecture, I actually draw, paint, write music and poetry, sing, and play the guitar. The biggest "known unknown", though, is that I am rather shy and not a great people's person, in the truest sense of the word. In essence, I'm a socially awkward nerd.

ZF: What do you think style is?

AB: Style for me is an understanding of oneself - it's being cognisant of who you are, what you like, and what works well with that. I refer to more than just clothes, of course, but to how you carry yourself and how you treat others. To paraphrase Kanye West, "the prettiest people sometimes do the ugliest things", and that to me that negates any visual aesthetic.

ZF: Who or what influences your style?

AB: I don't have any particular person that I esteem to emulate in terms of style, but there are some inspiring individuals, the likes of Nickelson Wooster and Esther Querk, to name a few. Being a blogger though, there's always interesting posts and people you come across that inspire, rather than influence. Be yourself because everyone else is taken.

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

AB: I straddle between the corporate world and the creative world with my work and I've come realise that they can exist in parallel - they are not mutually exclusive. So my style reflects both of these worlds depending on the occasion. My style, I believe, reflects that I want to be independent, pursue my own path (the road less travelled, if you will), and have a lifestyle that has a balance between work and family. A balance I believe most of us are failing to achieve.

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

AB: Yves Saint Laurent once said, "Fashions fade; style is eternal", so if you think about it, trends come and go. In fact, some trends in fashion have been downright ridiculous ergo if you are constantly trying to keep up with trends, you will lose yourself in it. It's important to find your own style and do that by finding yourself and certain nuances that can be trendy, but they should always adapt to your own individual sense of style, and not vice versa.

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

AB: My Pierre Cardin suit; Lee Selvedge jeans; Levi's lumber jack scotch shirt; Armani Chronograph watch; and Ben Sherman chinos.

ZF: What is your winter (general) style advice for men and women alike?

Well, hopefully, first off to visit my blog http://www.anthonybila.tumblr.com/, where I'll be covering all the winter style trends. Other items I foresee are coats, trench coats, desert boots, and leather boots too. For men and women, layers will be important. In terms of colours, browns, blacks, greys, and warm colours like red, orange and yellow. Above all else, apply trends to your own individual style. Always.

(All photographs by: Anthony Bila)

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At October 28, 2011 at 3:44 PM , Blogger LocalCeleb said...

Awww.. I heart him!


At October 31, 2011 at 8:11 AM , Blogger Young Christian's Blogspot said...

ayeye!!! I like de Philosophy style,.. and Bila's style is toooo awesome *classic-hot*

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