Having graced the pages of L’Uomo Vogue, in an issue dedicated to the evolution of our continent, Lira shares her passion for African fashion.
“My style embraces my roots. Nothing reflects who we are quite like our own designs. The pieces I wear are usually colourful and quirky. I love showcasing handcrafted work particularly by independent designers.
My style icon has always been Miriam Makeba. She brought African fashion to the global stage, and did so gracefully. Some of my favourite South African labels include Stoned Cherrie for its urban African feel. The skirts are playful and sexy. Sylvester Falata’s creations make me feel like an African goddess. Gert Johan Coetzee is incredibly talented and imaginative. He designs abstract garments that fuse African elements with Euro-centric flair. David Tlale is my favorite couturier; he's world-class. Bongiwe Walaza has made African fabrics and designs globally appealing. On the red carpet I love to wear ensembles by Nigeria’s Bunmi Coco, who is another fashion genius the world needs to experience.
When it comes to accessories, I adore Giorgio Sermoneta gloves – they’re exquisite and funky for every occasion. Bold neckpieces and earrings are my weakness, and I also have a passion for vintage buys from the 20s and 30s.
But, my current fashion fetish is jumpsuits! I found the most awesome ones at Cameroon Clothing, in Sandton City and Morningside Shopping Centre. It’s a very versatile item in your wardrobe, and the options range from casual to chic.
It’s nice to work with stylists because they push your fashion boundaries, but for the most part I choose my clothes because I know what works best for me. For my fashion spread in the May edition of L’Uomo Vogue I worked with stylist Louw Kotze who selected some exquisite items.
When it comes to the red carpet I love my bespoke designer gowns. But, away from the limelight I tend to wear High Street pieces that are unique but still colourful.
The thing about being in the spotlight is that once you’ve worn a gown you can’t wear it again, so instead I give some of them away to students who cannot afford to buy Matric Dance dresses. I find a few students with great school results through Facebook and some of the national newspapers, and invite them to submit a motivation as to why they deserve to pick a dress. Each one has to give us an indication of her future plans and submit term results. We then select the winning students and invite them to choose dresses. While it’s a fun process, it also gives these young women a sense of value, and I’m proud to be able to do that for the young generation of future African success stories.
African fashion celebrates who we are as a people. African fashion can only thrive if we support the industry. I'm looking forward to bringing my African style to American audiences with my upcoming album tour, and we have so many talented artisans that the world needs to engage with. Africa’s fashion journey has only just begun.”