Over the week I got to sit down and have a cup of
Siyabonga Ntini is a weird looking boy, all about fashion, all about art and design. Passionate towards anything with a strong story line. I believe everything has a reason. There's a reason you have tucks on a dress. What is it?... I'm that type of person. Always have questions. On a more biographical manner I was born in JHB by my parents who are from DBN and you know how back then (20 years ago or so) everyone moved to JHB for a better life. I mean even now people still do. I chose to come back here because I believe I was born here by spirit and I'm all about DURBAN. I LOVE IT!!
Q: Today we're looking at introductions in all levels. Without any modesty can you introduce us to the fashion house Ralfe (ATOX)?
RALFE is my late father's name and in short the label is for women designed in an avant garde taste and aims at Ready To Wear. ATOX is a design chart I created for my self that acts as a secondary logo for anything I do. A is a triangle which could easily mean controversy. My design attitude is all about people reacting to the clothes emotionally. Either love or hate. It's emotional and personal to me and I want that to show. T is stylized as a crucifix which stands for Religion. I'm very pro-religion and you'll soon learn how I abuse that element of me in my design language. O is void of any references. Timeless, modern and now. X is the art element I always apply.
That mostly tells you about my label in short and many people might not pay attention to the ALF embedded in it but it plays a huge role and it's one of the things people will learn about pretty soon.
Q: I was lucky enough to be one of the people who were in attendance for your debut showcase. We saw that your collection had some of the most eclectic fabric pairing. What was the inspiration behind the whole collection?
Haha I like the part where everything sounds so exclusive. Yeah, uhm the collection is called Sublime Aftermath and I kinda shifted my mindset back to the tender age of six when I first learnt my dad had passed on. The first thing I was told by my mother was "Your father has been fetched by angels to go live in heaven..." that still stings even now but I just wanted to highlight the emotion I had then and what death meant to the six year old Siya and how I had the idea that he'd be dressed in white and bless me with wealth and he sacrificed himself to look after me in at a better place hence I used White, Gold and Red. We all want success. What's better than White and Gold? That's heaven right there. Carved and stitched on a woman. Wearing heaven should feel good. So that's where I saw it go.
Q: Still on introductions. Who is the Ralfe ATOX girl? What's her taste in fashion? What's her attitude like?
She's a mean girl. Chameleon, probably has split personalities and always has red lipstick on. In essence she's a rebelle stuck in a princess's body.
Q: Now we wouldn't really be done talking until we actually spill some tea. What is it that you believe South African fashion designers are doing wrong and is becoming an impede on their way to gaining international recognition?
Personally I think design and research go hand in hand. As much as following trends can make you look like everyone, starting and interpreting them in a personal level will always make you unique.designers tend to go crazy and forget that fashion is a calculated scientific industry. It is not always spontaneous. Think, design, re-create and brand yourself. Signature is also important and lastly perfect your craft. As beaux your stuff may be if it doesn't meet international standards then boooosh. There goes the life of London to New York.
Q: How do you plan to bring that sense of freshness, futuristic and currency with Ralfe ATOX?
With me future comes last in design. I'm all about now, past and emotion. Sometimes relevant clothing that hits someone's nerve either good, bad or uncomfortable makes the impression last longer. Fresh is dependant on trends and personal mind space. That's just me saying I'll depend on me and my art, and research. Everything follows.
Q: 2014 is literally on our doorsteps. What are some of your goals so far?
Let's say I have plans but I ain't sharing but I just wanna see my label grow into something people identify as beautiful and niche appropriate clothing. I don't plan on doing men's wear under RALFE but anything happens. All I say is pay attention to the ALF...
Sometimes dreams come true but most times we wake up only realizing you were dreaming all this time instead of doing. They say dreams do come true. Only if you wake up. Guess who's not sleeping 2014?... (sips tea)
Twitter : @OhSnap_Its_Siya
Instagram : @So_Ralfe
Here you have it boys and girls signed, sealed and delivered. Now you know who to look out for in 2014.
Do drop a comment right here on the comment box tell us what is it that has got you excited for 2014? Also follow on Twitter/Instagram : @KingElihleLee