The South African Izikhotane Movement

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Expensive bottles of alcohol, dancing and bright, extravagant high-end clothing, that’s probably way out of the financial means of the youth it is worn by. This is the life of the people that are apart of the South African Izikhotane movement. A movement known for their dance-offs, showing off their wealth, as well as their bright and different way of dressing. Using all of this to make a name for themselves and create their own reputation in fashion, as well as creating their own elite subculture and group, just like the Smarteez, who had their own subculture and name created by the way they styled themselves and looked. Just like Izikhotane, they also wore bright colours and bold prints.

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Clothing and fashion was a way for people to help re-build themselves, and their name up, post-apartheid. It was something that helped people create a better impression and identity for themselves. This also supports the views of Alison Laurie on the language of clothing, and the information it can give of a person based on what they are wearing, for example people being able to tell a persons status or make an assumption about their wealth based on their appearance and how high-end or fancy a persons clothes are, seem or aren’t. “ With access to the internet black youths in the township of Soweto were connecting to the world outside of South Africa and no longer saw the importance of “reconstructing a locality.” They viewed themselves as global citizens and were keen to reflect this status in their dress.” Corrigall (2011:45) This also helps describe the ways of Izikhotane people, as most of their clothing is imported and high-end, for example Versace. The Smarteez also relate to, and are similar to Izikhotane as they both are youth-driven street fashion subcultures.

Fashion and clothing designates where a person is and how they are viewed in society. This is a view that Laurie has when it comes to Fashion and Status. From as far back as history goes fashion has always played a role in deciding and showing a persons role and status, like in the more olden days where it showed your social class, or royalty. Something that can also be seen today, for example with the royal family and how they dress. But as time went on, Laurie believed that factors like cost, materials and level of care started to become the deciding factors of a persons status and ranking in society. When it comes to colour and conformity, Laurie believed that colour has an immediate impact on a person, and controls and has an effect on people and their moods, based on the colour they see. Laurie also believes that you could tell the mood of a person based on the colour they are wearing. Except in the cases where a person is obliged to wear a certain colour and attire for example to work or for a religious occasion.

Lauries belief of Fashion and Status plays a big role when it comes to Izikhotane, as it is what separates these people and creates their subculture. Dressing well is a big part of this subculture, as mentioned in the Bubblegum Club video, Sula means dressing nice. We can also see their higher-end style in the video, as you can visibly see the Versace some of them are wearing, which is also being emphasised in the video. It is how they dress that allows people to identify them as Izikhotane, and gives them the status they have, and want. It is also an element that makes the stakes of their face-offs so high and exciting.

Colour and Conformity is also a big part and element in Izikhotane. This is also mentioned in the Bubblegum Club video, they add more colour. At the same time you can also visibly see the use of colour in both videos, and how it is a big if not one of the main factors when it comes to their clothing. It is a key element that also allows you identify them. The bright opposite match of colours that they use supports Lauries point on colour as the mix creates an exhilarating feeling inside someone, before it is further created with their dancing, and behaviour.

In conclusion, Izikhotane is a fashion movement that has created a name of itself through fashion, and can be identified by their extravagant and out there street style. It is similar to the Smarteez movement that came before it, and had the same or similar stylistic elements to it and views. When it comes to Laurie and her beliefs, Izikhotane helps give an example and support her views and what she believes is being said through the language of clothes. The effect clothes have on the mood of people, how the behave and how they are seen.

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