As someone who loves to travel, I have always loved culture. The sounds, smells and sights that make a place unique. But behind these sensory triggers are the people that make it so. People who express themselves through their language, habits and clothing, adding vibrancy and life to the places they inhabit. South Africa is particularly rich in diversity, leaving many other countries pale in comparison. Working with the Dipalesa Pitchov Foundation on this project to capture the winners of the Miss Glamorous Free State 2017, we wanted to express this creative and colourful style of contemporary African fashion.

Contemporary African Fashion in a league of its own

With economic growth across the continent, new opportunities for expression arise. While the rest of the world continues to follow trends, African fashion brings it’s own unique style of bold colours and distinctive patterns to the runway. Up-and-coming designers draw from cultural traditions with pride to create pieces that express the juncture between their global and ethnic identities. A creative force that impacts newly emerging styles internationally.

African Fashion Photography is about collaboration

To be sure our imagery had an authentic touch, I collaborated with stylist Jamakazi Pearl Thelejane from Fruitcake Vintage at the Fashion Kapital in Johannesburg. Usually focused on 50’s – 90’s Afro Punk fashion, Jamakazi sourced clothing and accessories specifically inspired by African themes. Items included traditional patterned fabrics, bold earrings in the shape of the African continent and even a hand painted item inspired by Ndebele art.

Hair and make-up artist Dipalesa Mbola was inspired by the theme to work with big, bold statement pieces for the hairstyles, with each model strutting a unique style. The make-up was colourful yet stylish, taking inspiration from african tribal face paint to add gems to winner Jessica Sithole’s eyes to highlight the queen.

The backdrop for this shoot was designed to be equally bold and colourful, with the addition of succulents to add to the local flavour.

 

Conceptual African fashion photography campaign Africa in Me for 2018 winners of Miss Glamorous Free State beauty pageant by Johannesburg photographer Natalie Field
Conceptual African fashion photography campaign Africa in Me for 2018 winners of Miss Glamorous Free State beauty pageant by Johannesburg photographer Natalie Field
Conceptual African fashion photography campaign Africa in Me for 2018 winners of Miss Glamorous Free State beauty pageant by Johannesburg photographer Natalie Field
Conceptual African fashion photography campaign Africa in Me for 2018 winners of Miss Glamorous Free State beauty pageant by Johannesburg photographer Natalie Field
Conceptual African fashion photography campaign Africa in Me for 2018 winners of Miss Glamorous Free State beauty pageant by Johannesburg photographer Natalie Field
Conceptual African fashion photography campaign Africa in Me for 2018 winners of Miss Glamorous Free State beauty pageant by Johannesburg photographer Natalie Field
Conceptual African fashion photography campaign Africa in Me for 2018 winners of Miss Glamorous Free State beauty pageant by Johannesburg photographer Natalie Field

Conceptual African fashion photography campaign Africa in Me for 2018 winners of Miss Glamorous Free State beauty pageant by Johannesburg photographer Natalie Field
Conceptual African fashion photography campaign Africa in Me for 2018 winners of Miss Glamorous Free State beauty pageant by Johannesburg photographer Natalie Field

During the shoot we also ran a second camera to capture footage for a campaign video. Working with designer Matthew Harvey, we pulled various elements from the shoot itself for creative effect. This video advertised the call for the next Miss Glamorous Free State.

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Credits

Photography & Retouching | Natalie Field Photography
Set Design | Natalie Field Photography
Styling | Jamakazi Pearl Chwayita Thelejane
MUAH | Dipalesa Mbola
Models | Miss Glamorous Free State
Winner Jessica Sithole
1st Princess | Olorato Malotle
2nd Princess  | Bathandwa Sifumba
Top 5 contestant | Raquel Jardim
Founders | Dipalesa Mbola and Pitchov Ngombe