Going bold with Bo-Kaap colours

Chante Holloway models the Bo-Kaap inspired created by Ishaarah Arnold.

Fashion designer Ishaarah Arnold takes her inspiration from the colourful houses in the Bo-Kaap to create a distinct style that is now being showcased worldwide.

Ms Arnold is not only a designer, the 28-year-old is also a visual artist, a User Interface (UI) designer and an illustrator, and her designs are being sold on SHEIN, an international retailer.

“My first branching into fashion came earlier this year when I was selected as part of the SHEIN X competition for illustrators. I saw the designs of the illustrators and thought that I could bring something new to it and not just slap a picture on a T-shirt, but really create something that is engaging. My first collection was released in May and SHEIN allows us to share in the profits of the sales of our designs so it’s going really well,” Ms Arnold said.

“The designs that I entered into the challenge were inspired by the bold colours of the Bo-Kaap, so its colour blocking, using continuous lines and applying this to what South African women, what diverse women would want to wear,” she said of the neighbourhood where she grew up.

Ishaarah Arnold wearing a lantern-sleeve tie-back colour-block dress that she designed.

A visual designer by day, Ms Arnold says her various trades won’t collide as she considers herself a multidisciplinary designer.

“I consider the recent branching into fashion being as an extension of my profession and I’m not limited to any specific designing. I won’t box myself in to one aspect of design, if anything I work with visuals, all visuals. I’m also fortunate that the company I work for are supportive of my process, they are modern minded and they’ve been pushing me on their social media platforms, they voted for me too,” she said.

Ms Arnold is the only South African in the competition and is hoping to finish in the top five of the contest.

“I’m hoping that I will make it to that next level but I already find it rewarding that my work as an African designer is making the global standard. I’ll encourage young designers to sign up for competitions, enter, pursue many things even if you don’t feel ready, the more times you put yourself out there the more likely some things will stick.”

The Bo-Kaap-inspired colour-blocked suit designed by Ishaarah Arnold worn by Chante Holloway.