Pale, rocky landscapes. Oversized garments gently hanging onto shoulders. Transparent fabrics floating in sync with the wind’s rhythm. An arm outstretched, inviting viewers into a sandy dreamscape.
The editorial ‘Culturist Flows’, conceptualised by writer and stylist Tina Tshangela, sees her taking on the role of the one in front of the lens. This allowed her to directly convert her vision into the soft placement of limbs and facial expressions present in the images. Her eyes interact with the camera as if turning to look at a friend, demonstrating an openness that complements the vastness of the outstretched beach behind her. Teaming up with Mandy Nash for photography and Megan Wridway for hair and makeup, feminine energy filters into each image.Tina describes herself as a Culturist; an advocate of culture. By culture she refers to the DNA of societies that manifest in multiple ways, including hair, makeup and fashion. Considering this, Tina wanted to animate the different mediums of cultural communication while pointing to religious and traditional references that make up her own experiences. Her styling channels the spirit of Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto.
“Yohji Yamamoto is a big muse of mine because of the techniques he uses in his work, which mixes [the] traditional tailoring of garment construction [with] deconstructive design. I referenced these elements in the styling of the shoot by taking traditional tailored pieces and creating modern deconstructive silhouettes and shapes [for] complete looks. I fused these looks with Afrofuturistic movements and [an Afrofuturistic] mood to marry these influences together.”
Movement, particularly movement that mimics water, is a strong element in the shoot. Having mentioned that the symbol for her star sign, Aquarius, is water, Mandy suggested this be translated into the images. This is made present directly with the beach in the background, as well as through the various fabrics drifting behind Tina. Her body suggests waters kinetic quality more indirectly. “I wanted my body to express the flow of the ocean tides which flow harmoniously connecting different parts of the world together without a beginning or end,” Tina expressed.
Interludes in the editorial appear with images from a trip to Moonscape in Namibia that Mandy inserted between shots of Tina. “There was an incredible stillness, and standing so small and alone in front of such a vast landscape brought about much self-reflection. The stillness of the landscape creates ‘pause moments’ in the flow of the story to allow for moments of self-reflection between the flowing imagery of Tina.”
Reflecting on the process for this editorial, Tina expressed that she was “stepping out of my comfort zone of styling and dressing other people…When I saw the final pictures it was like looking at my higher self and it was very empowering.”
By combining movement, styling that plays on garment deconstruction and Tina’s own experiences, this editorial manages to communicate an appreciation for the cultural medium of fashion.
Art direction and photography – Mandy Nash
Concept, stylist and model – Tina Tshangela
Hair and Makeup – Megan Wridway