Junior Features Writer and Stylist, Jenna McArthur, chats to the man behind one of the most talked about blogs at the moment, Skattie, What Are You Wearing?, for the scoop on personal style, life as a blogger and where to hang out in Cape Town…

Describe yourself in three words?
I can’t, I really struggle with that sort of thing but I do like to think of myself as hungry, not in the literal way of course… well maybe, but that’s not what I mean here.

You describe yourself as a ‘postponed revolution’, what does this mean to you?
It’s actually a very pretentious way of saying ‘delayed change’ or ‘recovering procrastinator’. Revolution for me means a change of regime or system of doing things, I’ve always had lots of ideas but I’ve been very poor at follow-through in the past. This blog represents a change from that for me, a revolution postponed for far too long, finally an idea I’ve actually followed through on.

I often do style-jams with friends where I shoot them in three or four of their favourite current looks. This is my friend Smangaliso

Love this girl's style – I always spot her at exhibitions and interesting events

How would you describe your own style?
I tend to be very transient in that department. Currently I’m going through a bit of a funny phase, what some people might call ‘fat’, I like to think of it as ‘the condition’. Not to offend the comfortably, morbidly obese but I struggle to find the appropriate style for ‘the condition’ so I end up in a lot of caftans, oversized shirts and size 38 tapered leg pants. However, 15 kilograms ago I used to like clean lines and a bit of play on colour with a street edge.

A pic of me taken '15kgs ago' by Justine Stafford of ifor1

This is a pic from a style-jam I did with Vuyo recently

We love your blog. What inspired you to start it?
I’d thought about starting a ‘style’ blog ever since I was introduced to blogs, and I also realised that I had a lot of friends with interesting personal style and I wanted to kind of expose that. At first I thought it would be just something for me and my friends. I also tend to go to a lot of art exhibitions so I kind of recognised just how interesting people dress, so ja I guess one thing sort of led to another…

Tell us a bit about your approach?
Basically, whenever I go out I take pictures of people who are dressed in a manner that I find interesting and then I put the pics up on my blog. I also do a bit of a write-up, not necessarily about the clothes, in fact I prefer not to write about the clothes because style is so objective (within limits, of course). I really don’t like prescribing and I sometimes get irritated when I read posts of bloggers who prescribe a lot.

The lady in the orange pants is Gabriella Alberts – seriously, she never gets it wrong!

Best moment as a blogger?
I can’t pinpoint one moment but it’s been a collection of moments up to this point where I’m realising that other people are actually enjoying the work that I put out there. At the risk of sounding cheesy and a bit pathetic, I get so excited with every person that clicks ‘follow’ on my blog, I always want to know who they are, there’s probably a bit of a sick desire for validation from strangers buried deep somewhere. I appreciate every opportunity, for example this interview is now my new best moment, and if somebody should click ‘follow’ tomorrow, that’ll be my new best moment. The support from people on the art scene in Cape Town also rates as a very special continuous moment for me.

Lindiwe Suttle, need I say more?

New ventures?
Jonathan Garnham of Blank Projects motivated me to work on the Skattie Print Magazine and offered me his gallery space for the magazine launch. The first issue is currently available as a PDF which you can download on my blog. It’s a space where I select the best posts from the last three months and then I get creative friends to contribute a page – it’s an open space for them to express their creativity however they wish. For this first issue the contributing friends are David West (designer), Unathi Mkhonto (illustrator), Yazeed Kamaldien (writer/editor) and Athi-Patra Ruga (artist). I am going to start on the next issue soon, and I’m planning on making it bigger and offering it in print. It’s very exciting.

I took this shot at the first exhibition for Blank Projects

Ashleigh McLean of What if the World gallery

Skattie, What Are You Wearing? is more than just fashion… what’s your vision for the blog?
I’ve always fantasised about taking awesome pictures so I really want to get into photography and I want to improve on the quality of photographic work I do. I’ve also discovered that I actually enjoy writing through the blog, so I’d like to explore more of that, some sort of social commentary. I want to let things flow because I also think of the blog as a creative space for me away from my job. A space that is not ruled by market forces.

I love the way this girl rocks the pleated midi

When you are not blogging, what keeps you creatively stimulated?
I work as a fashion buyer for a leading retailer and I feel lucky because the people I work with in my day job are very creative and they are mad about fashion.

I love how my friends Mignonne and Lucio almost look coordinated without being coordinated

Who’s your favourite local designer?
I am going to get myself in trouble for this one but I really have to say I like David Tlale’s work. Yes there are loads of conceptually brilliant designers (such as Black Coffee) and once upon a time that was totally my vibe, but I’ve come to admire the way David Tlale understands his customer. He really is in-synch with his market, and I admire that consistency.

Pamela is so beautiful, the hair colour and the 'doek' just give the whole look such dimension

What makes a woman beautiful?
In my view, I think it is an understanding of one’s physique combined with their personality traits and being able to present that in its best light.

What do you look for in someone to feature on your blog?
A bit of theatre, something that says, ‘I put a bit of thought into this and I understand my body’, something that says, ‘Look and weep’. I’m not necessarily looking for the trendiest, trends can be a bit boring.

What’s the best part of working on your blog?
I love the editing, choosing the pics I think are more appropriate and laying them out in a way that hopefully tells a story.

What inspires you?
My partner, my friends and other people around me who constantly seek new previously undiscovered gaps in the city maze.

Where’s your favourite spot to hang out in Cape Town?
I like mildly shady spots, so I always enjoy The Kimberly. Besides, it’s the only bar in CT I know of that serves Black Label beer on tap. It’s also a bit of an artist hangout and there are a lot of artists in Cape Town whose company I thoroughly enjoy. On Saturdays I like hanging out at the You & Me & Everyone We Know Market at the Labia. I’m very excited that they are now focusing more on doing Friday night markets, so I guess that’ll be my new favourite Friday night hangout spot.

You & Me & Everyone We Know Market

Top style tip?
Don’t be scared, try it out. Put it on, look in the mirror, ask the opinion of a trusted friend, it really might just work.

7 Responses

  1. Bernice

    Fabulous 5mins Mali – much like yourself: interesting, worth the time & humorous..

  2. Alicia

    Great job on your blog Malibongwe! Enjoyed the interview, sure there’s many more to come!

  3. Amandla

    Stay real Mali… you atracted to beautiful pictures in peoples clothing expressionz. its a beauty to see ur through your lences

  4. Lady F

    I absolutely love Mali’s blog,i have no doubt that you will go far in the industry….

  5. Mpho

    I absolutely cannot get enough of this blog, and the advice given in this interview is beyond inspirational.