CHRISTAL JACOBS LIGHTS UP THE MATCH - INTERVIEW
Upon meeting Christal, I got so inspired by her passion and zeal for the local community, that I had to ask her a few questions about a little treasure shop she opened in the heart of Pretoria, South Africa.
Who is Christal Jacobs?
I completed my B-Tech degree in fashion design at Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa in 2007. Since then I have been gaining experience in the fashion industry through internships with magazines like Elle and freelance styling for model portfolio shoots.
I started the clothing label Crowned as a community upliftment program in 2009. I train women in sewing, basic design and patterns and business skills. Women are then employed by my clothing label to produce garments that are distributed throughout South Africa, or I help them to start their own clothing label if they wish to do so.
How did Mix and Match fire up?
The idea for Mix and Match studio was born when I realized how much bigger the dream of the community upliftment project actually is. The name Mix and Match refers to the mix of people from different cultural backgrounds involved, each bringing their own little creative flame like a match; together we aim to set the local fashion scene ablaze.
I also aim to unite and collaborate with many local fashion designers who are already established in the industry. Thus the boutique rents out rail space to other designers and sells clothing and accessories produced by our seamstresses.
How does Mix and Match play a role in the South African culture?
If local fashion designers work together to train and employ more South African people, many jobs can be created for people who desperately need an income. We decided to take action and opened our store in May 2010. The South African fashion industry is still young and will expand with the years to come.
Mix and Match studio wants to be part of this process by giving people, who did not have the opportunity to study fashion design formally, the necessary skills to take hold of arising opportunities in the local fashion scene.
The South African culture is rich with visual expression in the forms of art, dance and cultural/tribal costumes. During 2010 South Africa had the opportunity to showcase our cultural richness to the world. This increased global awareness can benefit local designers who can express and market their unique heritage to the rest of the world through fashion.
What’s next for this quirky and eccentric shop?
The future will certainly be an adventure. We aim to obtain funding for this project and employ and train more people as soon as possible. Mix and Match studio will also open a coffee shop and art gallery promoting local artists in the near future.
In the long term our designs will be available in top fashion boutiques countrywide and internationally. We plan to expand and establish our own training facilities and boutiques to other parts of South Africa like Johannesburg and Cape Town. Watch this space!
Photo Credits: Gerhard Uys
Illustrator: Petrus Gerhardus van Wyk
Clothing featured: Nooi, Crowned
Contact Christal: firstname.lastname@example.org