6:15 pm

"Words of Wisdom from Hlonibooboo"

Frank Ocean's Pink + White started playing and all I could think about was the recent shoot I did with Hloni. She's the newest Cool Kid I interviewed for All Zuri and the whole thing played itself out in two parts.

The editorial was shot the weekend before and we spent the afternoon trying to make Rondebosch look like a nondescript tropical location. A few days later I caught up with her between classes and asked some questions about fashion and personal style development.

Hloni is like all the warm colours ever, all together, at the same time. One of those people who's usually in a breezy mood and glowing with positivity and quick wit (oh and gold skin). I chose her because she's one of my friends with whom I associate style as being a large component of their identity. Although she didn't use it to describe her own style in my typical "aesthtic in 3 words" question, a word I can think of is smorgasbord. Never the same, always thrilling to see. Her style is almost the anithesis of the minimalism movement that's been sweeping the nation- each piece making you wonder if it was added with careful consideration or just thrown on, each outfit a narrative in its self -ranging from 'just stepped off the yacht'  to 'mean muggin hypebeast'.
That glorious (exactly 20 minute) bask in the sun before I had to dash to a Maths tut was spent chatting about future Hloni and past Hloni while I scribbled as quickly as I could. In the hopes of capturing her as accurately as I could.

Here are her answers.

1: Aesthetic in three words?

Dynamic, edgy (haha I think I just described a knife), 'evolvement'.

2: Which cartoon would you like to feature in?

I haven't actually watched this, but many cartoons didn't really have any black girls as the main protagonist or with a positive narrative, so I think The Proud Family. You can actually attach characters to yourself. Yeah I'll find a role.

3: What did Paris teach you?

There's so much more.

We get comfortable in our own little worlds that we create and forget sometimes. There are more communities, more everything. I definitely want to travel more. I think that's what everyone says- the more you travel the more you want to. Now if I could get paid to do it...

4: To what extent is getting dressed an honest process vs a lie?

Getting dressed is when I am the most honest with myself, most critical- but also the most vulnerable. It's a constant thing of putting your self out there and the way people receive it could be positive or negative. I'm not so into conforming to trends and getting the thigh high boots or the bomber that everyone has. I wanna wear something that feels like me. 

5: Three things you think of when I say the word beauty?

uh.. pretty tumblr boys with flowers 
Adonis Bosso

6: 60 year old Hloni is??

Dead. Or super rich on an island somewhere with my manfriend, Mthembu- riding elephants.

7: Describe your thought process when you get dressed in the morning?

The outfit I wore yesterday doesn't exist. I look at my cupboard and see what throws itself at me. Sometimes I have to look for long. It also depends on laundry so sometimes I can't wear certain stuff. Haha I've kinda turned my bedroom into a closet, so my clothes are everywhere. Don't even sleep in my bedroom that much. 

8: Peak personal style is?

When it's intrinsically in you. You can't attach it to you necessarily, but when they see you in it or in something that's a Hloni outfit- you know. Style is style. It's a way you are.
I mean, look at Buck. We've never see this outfit before, but it's still very 'Buck'.

Buck, hearing his name in our conversation, glances over

Buck: "quote me"
Me: "you didn't say anything" 

9: Favourite style decade?

The 2000s! Lil Kim, J-Lo haha what the fuck were y'all wearing?! Mary J Blije? 2000s RnB was my fave decade of fashion. It was fun! haha Lusanda reflects a 2000s, 90s aesthetic and vibe. 

10: Coolest thing you wore in Grade 5?

So my mom used to make us shop at 7Ounce and Woolies a lot and all I ever wanted was stuff from Mr Price. Those shops did not match with my style! Naartjie was full of crewnecks and shit.

There was this one trend, where everyone had long floral skirts- and she got me a denim one. Loved it, but it was soo uncool, and I wore it to school on a civvies day with like a checked cowboy shirt.
No one liked it - haha it was really embarrassing.but I love that, because it was my own expression. I was beyond my time lol.

11: Go-to pizza topping?

Pepperoni from NY Slice. Club if I have to be a hobo at Debonairs haha I am human. 

12: What does maintaining authenticity mean to you?

Never try act how people assume you'd act based on the personality you've 'built'. At the moment I've got this whole 'savage' thing going on. I'm very focused on a lot of things in my life. But like if I ever decided to change, I don't ever wanna be defined by that. 
Just do what whatever you want, without fear of... yeah without fear. 

13: Movie that changed your life?

Rent. I watched it randomly as a kid, didn't really grasp the plot but I liked it coz I like musicals. I think I was in Grade 5. I watched it again later and finally the plot hit me. A classic is something that still applies in different stages of your life and every time I watch it again I relate to a different character or something in it that applies to my modern space.

14: 3 things in your future house?

Records or CD's (any kind of archive that holds to my childhood)
Can I say laughter- coz definitely laughter. If we're not cracking up it's not happening
Good Clothes.

15: What are you hoping South Africa does to develop its fashion industry?

I think we're on a good path. As long as we don't get to a stagnant level and keep pushing to create more space for contributors and designers. I think its also becoming a bit more refined.
Gert Johan Coetzee is not the only one monopolizing the field and there's more room for other creatives. So yeah. Keep making more room- and not getting caught up in the hype.

16: Is there a difference between liking clothes and liking fashion?

100% They can work together sure, but they are so so so so different. It's like liking TV and liking movies. Two different industries completely. Fashion is more an artistic discussion, but they do obviously amalgamate at some point.

17: What are you craving right now?

Ribs at a strip club, during lunch. I could literally go haha but I packed spaghetti for lunch.

18: South African youth fashion culture is??

Maybe you could say diverse. 
We have islands.
We don't really know how to connect together. So this squad dresses like this and that squad dresses like that. It's very disconnected. 

19: Is it possible to build a sustainable presence in this day and age?

It is. The Kardashians are the perfect example. There's so much longevity in reality, in growing with people. It's real life, relatable and dramatic. Continuously evolving and taking people with you, I think is the way. 

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and stories, Hloni. Oh and your amazing face.


Creative direction: Tshiamo Ramano and Refiloe Mokgele
Styling: Hloni Sepanya
Photography: Refiloe Mokgele

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