Strobe lights cut through the crowd with shades of blue, red and white. Sweaty bodies are dictated to by the vibrations moving from the speakers through the floor. A rundown building in the middle of Johannesburg’s city centre is transformed into a sonic experience with the invitation to queer space through one’s presence. Yellow cups float between the people on the dance floor with the name of the party translated into a declaration of intentions – Seize The City.
Jose Cuervo‘s Seize The City Season 2 was a moment to fully embrace the now, expanding on their motto, Tomorrow is Overrated. As a kind of call-to-arms for every rebel and nightlife activist, the party served as a platform to celebrate young people in Johannesburg and the energy they inject into the city through their cultural production and subcultural expressions. Taking place in a functioning recycling depo in Selby, the space echoed this sentiment, with fragments of the underground 90s rave scene flying in and out of memory.
Well known as well as up-and-coming artists, designers and other creatives were present, indicating the significance of the space for young creatives. “It felt like an Instagram feed coming to life. A lot of people you see on the internet were there and a lot of internet friends able to connect,” states Natalie Paneng, artists and Seize The City attendee.
Fashion mirrors cultural moods, and subcultural foundations, and this had a strong presence. Fashion played an important role as a signifier of taking the spirit of the party to heart, while also reflecting the spirit of the people who attended. Oversized pinstriped blazers, stockings used as tops, the bra as a shirt, platform shoes, fanny packs trapped across chests, combined with pins, fishnet stockings and pale pink sunglasses. DIY aesthetics engulfed in the flames of unapologetic self expression. An experiment in styling and self-making, on an individual and collective level.