David West: estilo Sudáfrica

David West, con base en Cape Town y una etiqueta que lleva adelante contra todo y con todo en contra, es la firma más vanguardista de toda Sudáfrica. Su reinvención del estilo africano nos encanta y también su nueva colección, “Catholic Sexy.” Muy famoso en Japón también. Cómo abrirse al mundo con mente Mundial

Calculo que no fue fácil instalar tu nombre.
Fue muy difícil al comienzo, tanto que tuve que cerrar por seis años y pude reabrir recién en 2009. Para serte sincero, colectivamente la industria no está en buenas condiciones. Muchas fábricas cerraron y no hay mucho apoyo para la moda local a menos que sea barata y compita en precio con las marcas mainstream. Nos cuesta conseguir buenos materiales aquí, buenas telas. Pero estamos construyendo algo y va a tomar tiempo. Estoy decidido a mover las cosas hacia delante.

“Catholic Sexy” es una dicotomía. ¡El catolicismo no debería ser sexy! Bah, a primera vista.
Pero mi colección lo es, juega con un estilo conservador, casi monástico, y tiene volúmenes y formas en lugares inapropiados, que te llevan a pensar que el sexo es más excitante en un lugar prohibido. También hay algo atractivo y perversito en no mostrar nada de piel, es como sentirse en una forma inversa y desafiante.

¿Tus influencias?
Rei Kawakubo es la principal, mi mentora de espíritu en muchos aspectos de mi vida. Le envié cartas y todo, pero nunca la conocí. Amo la cultura pop en general, y en la universidad me hice adicto a revistas como The Face, que me llevaron a enfocarme en moda específicamente.

¿Cómo se sintió exportar a Japón, entonces?
Tuve un agente excelente en Londres llamado “Showroom” que vendió varias colecciones mías al mercado japonés. Fue muy excitante pero también un desafío, tenía 24 de edad y no tenía mucha noción de manejar toda una producción, así que tuve que luchar. Me retiré hace un tiempo, pero me encanta lo que los japoneses hicieron con la industria de la moda, y me lo están pidiendo, tengo muchos fans allá, así que es cuestión de estudiar las cosas y volver a hacerlo.
Tu colección de 2003, “Contemporary South Africa Wardrobe” es interesantísima. ¿Cómo fue reinterpretar una manera de vestir que quizá viste toda tu vida?
Se trató de recrear un look netamente Sudáfrica sin los clichés étnicos y los animal prints, esa cosa de taparse con un pedazo de leopardo que por siglos fue considerada lo único valuable visualmente para Sudáfrica o Africa en general. Me criticaron mucho por nunca explorar una inspiración sudafricana, así que dije: “Bueno, ¡les voy a mostrar mi Sudáfrica!” Me inspiraron las telas simples, la ropa barata, los barrios de mis costureras, el estilo callejero de lugares peligrosos donde ningún fashionista se metería. Quise capturar toda esa mezcla extraña. Fue celebrar nuestro status tercermundista.

Sudáfrica es una dicotomía de blanco y negro, de africano y europeo, de siglos de dominio revertido. ¿Cómo te afecta?
Puede ser liberador y frustrante al mismo tiempo. Hay tanto que no se ve aquí, especialmente en términos de moda y cultura, que me hace ver restringido, y a veces no me restringe la forma supuestamente correcta de hacer las cosas. Y Africa me inspira, pero si lo hace, es en una forma atípica, y hasta no parece evidente inclusive para gente que vive aquí, pero soy un africano, vivo en Africa y no puedo evitar asimilar todo.

¿El Mundial? ¿Te emociona?
No particularmente. Lo bueno es que mucha gente va a ver este país que es hermoso, ¡pero no esperen buen clima! Ojalá apoyaran más a las artes, el ballet aquí se está muriendo por ejemplo. Somos una sociedad bastante obsesionada con el deporte. Quién lo gane me tiene un poco sin cuidado.

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