23.12.16 *By Aneeqah Samsodien
Chocolate Sauce did an interview with up and coming designer for Twobop, Ulfah Davids, and spoke to her about life, being awkward and the first ever women’s range for the brand.
Fresh out of university, as in walked in here after her graduation, Ulfah, 25, ventured into male streetwear for Twobop and introduced their first ever women’s collection.
So you just launched the first women’s collection for Twobop! What was that experience like?
I was very stressed and anxious before the event as I’m an introvert and shy away from people in general. I kept freaking myself out and telling myself that random people are going to come up to me to talk and I wasn’t ready for that. The actual launch went down pretty smooth as everyone was so chilled and we received such major support from all over and this made me believe that it was all worth it.
Tell us how it all started; how did you get into fashion designing?
I started studying when I was 21 doing fashion design at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology and graduated this year. I always loved fashion and the ability to be able to express yourself through this medium. I was just never sure whether I wanted to be a fashion designer or go a different route within the design industry.
My grandmother worked at Woolworths in their design department and also made clothes from home. She had the best style and it was something I always aspired to growing up. I guess it just got passed down to me!
When asked how she ended up at Twobop, it really comes as a shock to discover that her first option was Woolworths. She thought about going corporate and just earning a salary would be enough. Instead, she came to Corner Store, spoke to Anthony Smith and told him she wanted to do a women’s range for Twobop. He agreed to let her intern for three months first in order to see her work ethics. At the end of the internship, Anthony offered Ulfah a full-time position as well as the chance to do what she wanted which was to bring a little softness to the brand.
Where did the inspiration behind the latest collection come from?
I try and focus mainly on workwear that is mostly simple, classic lines and easy to wear yet functional at the same time. I love the rugged but tailored look of working class people; the dirty construction worker, the post man etc. This is why the colour indigo stood out for me as it ties into the theme.
The entire collection was meant to be for Winter 2016 but got pushed back and then became a bit dark for Summer so I had to incorporate a lighter feel, hence the mint and pink tones.
With regards to imagery, I wanted to do local ice lollies as graphic prints but that didn’t work out and we ended up designing a Tamagotchi, because what child did not have or want one growing up! I sat down with Chocolate Sauce who then designed the tamagotchi applique on the mint jacket as well as the logo. This collection brings femininity to Twobop with softer lines and prettier colours.
What is on your playlist at the moment? What music gets your creative juices flowing?
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I don’t have any designers that I particularly love or follow, but I do remember that one time while studying that I needed to reference designers so I looked to Kenzo, Alexander Wang and Christopher Kane.
I find that I get most of my inspiration from the streets. People just walking in the streets; construction workers, old people, bergies. I often find them wearing tailored pieces that the general person would tend to overlook and that’s my real love.
I also learnt so much from my Pokemon trainer Shukrie Joel as I was pretty new out of university and he has given me so much valuable advice.
We heard you have a secret sneaker obssession. Tell us about it.
I’ve never been a ‘pumps and sandals’ kinda girl. Sneakers all the time, everyday. I’m not brand-specific, I wear what is aesthetically pleasing to me and comfort is always top priority.
What do you associate with Twobop and why do you think the brand is so successful?
Once a brand is established, it gets easier to sell items and people buy regardless of what you are selling. Twobop has been around for a while and only in recent years has it gotten a lot of publicity. It is a brand worn by respected members of the community that are not always in the spotlight and one of the biggest reasons the youth will buy and support.
It is a brand a lot of the coloured community associates with their childhood and things like the arcade games illustrations is what was imprinted in society.
In your personal time, what would we find you doing?
I eat. A lot. Buying food is what i find myself doing most of the time. Most days you can find me getting food through the Order In app – most convenient!
“I’m an introvert so hardly ever go out”.
More food, but also, the Twobop mens Winter 2017 collection. This is the only women’s collection for now, unless otherwise demanded by the public.