Fashion and style is all around us, and we as consumers get to make choices about what we believe in based on where we buy our clothing and what we choose to wear. Malls are packed with fast fashion- easy to shop and cost effective- but is this the most conscious way to dress ourselves and spend our money? In a city like Cape Town full of local designers and creatives why not choose to invest in something locally made, contribute directly to someone’s livelihood and stand out with your unique wardrobe?
We at PatternNation believe in this way of shopping and specialize in colourful, one of a kind or small run, ungendered streetwear and upcycled vintage. This is our passion and we love meeting other creatives who are down for the cause.
This is why we love the brand BluePriest and have joined The Priesthood Collective of artists that sell clothing and accessories through their amazing shop in Muizenberg. Bluepriest is a remarkable fashion label surrounded by a good vibes, diverse and inclusive community. Locally sourced materials, colourful prints and innovative designs are made at their studio a block away from the shop.
When we brought our current collection to the BluePreist shop we came with photographer, collaborator and friend, Cebo Nxumalo, to shoot some of the BluePriest family styled in a combination of our two brands’ clothing.
“Our ethos with brands we take on is: local, affordable and original.”
It was exciting to see how well our designs complimented each other and how we all believe in dressing to express in conscious, colourful streetwear. And to partner this super fun photoshoot I asked Cyan Khoury, the lead visionary and designer behind BluePriest a few questions about the brand, her creative process and cause.
Cyd Eva of Pattern Nation: Tell me about BluePriest; when was it founded and how did you get into fashion design?
Cyan Khoury of Bluepriest: The name is a play on my own name: Cyan means blue and my surname, Khoury, means ‘Priest’ in Arabic. [We] started out as a brand selling t-shirts and prints of girls. [After] being introduced to some fabric from Zambia and Original Vlisco from Ghana the first turn-up shorts sample was made around 2013. [We] then moved to Cape Town and started building the store in 2015, selling prints and t-shirts still and attending events and expos. We started going hard on the clothing around 2017… and slowly have been expanding our products.
How has the Priesthood collective formed and what is the vision behind connecting creatives?
The formation of the Priesthood was organic… Once we opened our store the alignment with different brands started to happen and over the years we have attracted and reached out to more and more brands that resonated with us. Our ethos with brands we take on is: local, affordable and original. We aim to create a platform that can expose and support local creatives.
What changes would you like to see in the fashion industry?
I would like to see the fashion industry investing more locally and it is doing just that. [It’s] the understanding of the choices we make and the responsibility of supporting the local industry, the direct impact it has on these creatives and the lives it changes by choices and changes being made.
How do you fight for what you believe in?
I’m very outspoken about the need for us to think and act local. I fight through creative outlets by creating what we want to wear and not feeling imposed by what society is expecting or demanding from us.
“I would meet people on trains or at taxi ranks and ask people wearing awesome prints where they got it.”
We create ungendered, colourful, non-conforming outfits with the intention of more afrocentric colour and style to break away from the western ideals of fashion.
How do you find the amazing prints you work with, and come up with designs?
In Jozi fabrics and inspo are in abundance and the city is a hub of market places for fabrics from around the country and the rest of Africa. Coming to Cape Town it was a bit harder to source and I would meet people on trains or at taxi ranks and ask people wearing awesome prints where they got it from. So [on] it went until we found the people we source from now.
“Once you start experimenting with print, pattern and colour there is no limit to the artistry you can bring into your styling.”
China has taken over the (Ankara) West African print industry so we are currently trying to source more locally produced fabrics and we have recently joined with Thom Nguko from Tanzania who hand-dyes and prints the most beautiful Batik fabrics. We aim to go more green in the next year and going forward, hopefully even producing our own prints eventually.
Nestled in downtown Muizenberg the BluePriest shop is an alternative fashion lover’s dream, with new items coming in all the time from local creatives as well as BluePriest’s in-house brand. We all share a passion for colour in the community and I believe this is a core part of the cause. When you choose to step out of the box with your fashion, the possibilities are endless and once you start experimenting with print, pattern and colour there is no limit to the artistry you can bring into your styling and wardrobe. Individuality never goes out of style!
Photographer: Cebo Nxumalo
Photography Assistant and editing: Costa Besta
Clothing: PatternNation hoodies, buffs and painted denim jacket and waistcoat.
BluePriest masks, jumpsuits, pants, backpacks, fanny packs, hats, balaclavas, waistcoat, shirts and shorts.
Location: 42 Palmer Road Muizenberg Blue Priest Afroteck Streetwear Store