It’s safe to call Asanda Sizani a fashion icon. At just 26, she is the fashion editor of one of the most well-regarded magazines in the world. You can easily spot her on the front row of fashion shows rocking her trademark look, the red lips and the fringe. It’s evident from her work and in the way she dresses that fashion is indeed her calling.
What is the secret to your success?
People measure success in different ways, and for me, I’m nowhere near there yet. I have not yet succeeded, but as cliché as it sounds, and probably is, with more hard work, focus and drive I will get to where I want to be. I was raised by a hard-working mother, and she instilled a strong work ethic in us. She’s my secret weapon. Nothing has been offered to me on a silver platter, I’ve had to work for it. The support of my family, loved ones and of course our readers, keep me motivated to push further and work harder to eventually succeed.
What is it about fashion that you love so much?
Seeing an emerging trend, and observing how various factors influence trends excites me about fashion. I’ve been working in the fashion industry for about nine years, and I’ve seen it all! From being a model behind the scenes, to retail, to TV production and eventually print media. I’ve seen and experienced the power of what fashion has the potential to do – and that is what I love. Whether it’s making a woman feel more confident about who she is after a makeover, or creating fashion content that inspires the next person, it’s powerful.
What/who influences the way you dress?
As much as it is my job to track and edit the trends, that never dictates how I choose to dress. Over the years I’ve adopted an understated and minimalistic approach to dressing. I incorporate on-trend pieces each season with the wear-forever pieces I already own. Sometimes I shop from the fashion shoot, so in a way ELLE influences the way I dress. I admire everyday women and men of elegance and style. Sophistication and sometimes a little swagger is what I’m about – depending on my mood that day. I don’t shop a lot, and when I do, it’s clothes with a little whimsy that I gravitate towards, like my Lanvin polka dot dress suit. I am a Miss Prints of sorts – I always wear clashing print, and love to mix textures. I’ll wear glittery shoes with a homespun crochet dress and metallic jacket with plenty of hardware – why not?
How would you describe your style?
Clean, minimal tailoring with a grown-up vintage twist and an easy swagger.
I like the way you describe clothes on your Twitter page. You create a vivid picture of the outfit you’re describing.
Thank you for following me. I started out as an artist, and when I describe clothes it’s to paint a picture to the person reading my tweet so they “see” what I’m observing. I’m very passionate about clothing. It’s not just a dress. It’s the colour, silhouette, fabrication, its weight, how it falls on its wearer, and how it moves as she goes about her day.
What are your thoughts on the African fashion industry?
It’s still a very fragmented industry but with a lot of talent and potential. Our continent is filled with so much inspiration and we are a constant source of inspiration across the globe.
What’s a typical day in the office like?
No two days are the same. Some days are very busy, especially when we’re about to go to print, and deadlines can be manic. But there are also calmer days of writing copy, and researching. There’s admin, like sending out monthly briefs to suppliers, checking the pages to make sure the prices and information are correct, going through our layouts. Besides the work on each month’s fashion editorial pages, we all contribute in terms of writing and compiling content for our blog (www.elle.co.za), writing the odd piece for the features pages, attending launches, meetings, etc. Everyone at ELLE is focused and committed to their jobs and making sure we each produce the best editorial content.
What do you enjoy most about being the fashion editor of ELLE?
I enjoy that I get to work for a publication that speaks to stylish women of substance. I work with a strong editorial team who know what they are doing and we all live the ELLE brand. Every day coming to work, creating and producing content for this publication is a joy. A few months ago while walking in Paris (the birthplace of ELLE), I saw a December 1960 copy of French ELLE. That was such a powerful moment that made me proud to be part of a network of men and women who work for this beacon of a brand.
Who are some of your favourite designers and why?
There are so many! Maison Martin Margiela for the eccentricity and play on proportions, Celine and Stella McCartney respectively for their streamlined, feminine sensibility and timeless but modern appeal, Chanel for obvious reasons, Stiaan Louw for his unique edge and the impeccable workmanship he’s brought to menswear in this country, and there is a lot of young upcoming talent that I can’t wait to see what they do next, like Laduma Ngxokolo and Kelly Esterhuyse who both utilise an important textile in the Eastern Cape – mohair and wool.
Where to from here? Vogue maybe?
Who knows what tomorrow brings? I have great respect for Vogue, and Grace Coddington is my idol. But I am very happy working for the world’s biggest selling fashion magazine, ELLE. It’s always been a dream. I would love to travel more, learn more, love more, and contribute more to the world. If I can do that, I’ll be half-way to having succeeded.