By Buhle Mbonambi
It’s not just about what you wear, or how you wear it. It’s about how you carry yourself, your confidence, the risks you take. Style is, as Oscar de la Renta said, more about being yourself. It’s this quality and more that the judges at the upcoming 24th South Awards Style Awards were looking for in their eventual winners.
The awards, which have become a mainstay on the fashion and social calendar every year, will undoubtedly be the social soiree of 2020.
After a year of events being cancelled, thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, many heaved a huge sigh of relief when the invite to the awards landed in their inboxes.
The scramble to get the theme of this year’s awards – Denim Couture – right, has reached fever pitch.
The awards are the brainchild of celebrity publicist, Jillian Grogor.
Over the years, Grogor and a panel of style and culture experts, have been picking some of the most stylish people and awarding them for their knack of picking out great garments that set them apart from everyone else. However, there’s another element to the awards, that many overlook.
Unlike the International Best Dressed List, the SA Style Awards are not just about great fashion, but they are also about feteing people who left a mark on society, whether it’s through their career success, their activism or them being powerful forces for change on international stages.
“There is very strong messaging around the SA Style Awards,” Grogor says.
“The awards have always been centred around achievement and never around fashion or style in that sense. Over the past 24 years, we have honoured many South African personalities who have made an indelible stamp and inspired others in their career path.”
The winners of this year’s awards do fit the bill as people who are not only stylish but have also, as Grogor says, left an indelible mark and inspired others.
Take best styled media personality winner, Phathu Makwarela.
The multiple SA Film and Television Award winner and an International Emmy Award nominee, has become one of the leading TV producers as co-creator of some of the most widely enjoyed and critically acclaimed shows, like The River and Legacy.
He has an eagle-eyed approach to style and is strictly all about supporting local design talent. Whether at a black-tie gathering or a pitch meeting, he is always immaculately turned out, mostly wearing Relevance for Men by his tailor, Tshepo Mashego.
The winner of the most innovative style is the celebrated fashion icon and former model, Yasmin Furmie. Furmie is almost always the most interesting person in the room, thanks to her groundbreaking style.
She follows no rules but breaks none at the same time.
She makes her own and it has set her apart as a true style icon.
Businesswoman and founder of Smile Telecoms, Irene Charnley has been awarded the most stylish business personality.
The former trade unionist has been named one of the most powerful women in the continent, by Forbes, thanks to her many pivotal roles in various telecommunication companies in the continent. When it comes to her personal style, she takes power suiting to another level, which has earned her the attention of style watchers.
Dr Sivuyile Madikana has earned the stylish changemaker award, thanks to his work as a health advocate and digital health innovator. He is passionate about digital health care in the public sector and believes that it plays a very important role.
“We need systems to help us improve health care.”
He has been a policy advisor for UN Women during the time he spent in New York while doing his master of public health at New York University, specialising in health-care management and policy. And his style? He’s arguably one of the best-dressed people in the country.
And when it comes to glamour, social media influencer and model, Blue Mbombo, will be awarded the most stylish model award.
A frequent entry in many best-dressed lists, Mbombo’s win comes as no surprise to many. As a style doyenne, she is expected to pull out all the stops and do the denim couture theme, justice.
SA Style Awards Winners 2020
Most Innovative Style -Yasmin Furmie
Most stylish performing artist in film or TV – Sindi Dlathu
Most stylish performing artist in music – Nadia Nakai
Most Stylish Media Personality- Phathu Makwarela
Most Stylish Designer (Interior or Fashion) – Donald Nxumalo
Most Stylish Model- Blue Mbombo
Most Stylish Business Personality – Irene Charnley
Most Stylish Couple – Siya and Rachel Kolisi
Most Stylish SA Icon – Master KG
The Most Stylish Changemaker/s – Dr. Sivu
The Next Big Things – Ama Qamata and Witney Ramabulana
The SA Style Awards ceremony will be hosted by Ayanda Thabethe at the Sandton City Diamond Walk on Sunday, November 22.