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Local high fashion footwear brand, Sam Star Shoes recently launched its showroom in Parkhurst, Johannesburg. Guests were warmly and stylishly welcomed to the relaxed French Victorian Greenhouse showroom, where drinks and hors d’oeuvres freely flowed. The new tastefully displayed SS16- 17 collection was unveiled to all fashion media, fashion buyers and Sam Star VIP guests in attendance. According to Sam Lin who is the Creative Director and Owner of Sam Star Shoes, the showroom affords both VIP clientele as well as fashion buyers a bespoke and exclusive shopping experience.

Sam Star Shoes currently supplies 35 local boutiques with high quality as well as on- trend footwear and leather bags Guests mingled and shopped up a storm, as Lin offered personalized shoe shopping tips based on her vast knowledge of both fashion clothing and shoes As the footwear brand behind Ruff Tung’s most recent Mercedes Benz fashion week showcase, it’s easy to see why Sam Star Shoes adorns the feet of local songstresses Lira and Louise Carver, and is regularly featured in key local fashion spreads.

The footwear company was launched in 2010. Since then the company has gone on to add leather handbags to its fashion offering. The high quality shoes and bags are available in 35 boutiques and counting, nationwide. An online store also ensures Sam Star Shoes is easily accessible to the international fashion community. Sam Star Shoes received a noteworthy nod from the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship, by admitting Lin into a programme where she was taught business fundamentals aimed at improving her trade. The Business mentorship programme further connected Lin with key figures: Prince Harry, Sir Richards Branson and notable CEOs.

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Sam Star | Footwear 

Get cinema style sound without leaving home. The new Atmos Soundbar features 15 built-in speakers including 4 upward-firing drivers and rear wireless speakers to deliver crystal clear sound that feels like it comes from all around, putting you at the centre of the action. 

With Dolby Atmos support and 4K passthrough, the HW-K950 Soundbar extends the sweet spot so the whole family can enjoy incredible sound quality.

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Everyday Tech | Epic MSL Group

Converse Inc. based in Boston, Massachusetts is a wholly owned subsidiary of NIKE, Inc. Established in 1908, the Converse brand has built a reputation as “America’s Original Sports Company” TM. The brand has been associated with a rich heritage of legendary shoes such as the Chuck Taylor® All Star® shoe, the Jack Purcell® shoe and the One Star® shoe. Today, Converse offers a diverse portfolio including lifestyle men's, women's & children’s footwear apparel and accessories sold globally by retailers in over 160 countries.

The Cons Skidgrip is the street-ready sneaker for the body that doesn’t want to stay still. Lightweight, high traction and flexible. This is for those of us that are more comfortable in those non-places: back streets, side alleys, parking lots, concrete jungles, astro turfs, and stretches of tarmac. Originally a tennis shoe, the Cons Skidgrip has a Herringbone outsole that is street-ready. Flexible, comfortable, low-key and high traction, this sneaker is for the body that doesn’t want to stay still. It’s made to move with you, on any surface, anytime, anywhere. For more information, please visit media.converse.com and follow @converse.

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Styling Concepts | Footwear 

Follow your passion with impulse wherever you may go, as this feeling is most true and it will surely encourage and push you towards your purpose. Building a dream from the ground up could prove to be demanding and exhausting – but above all, it is most rewarding. Leave your doubt at the door and keep going. You can’t stop now, you can’t hold back when everything you’ve worked for awaits your presence – to continue forth, to reap the rewards and inspire the dreamers who share a similar vision and are headed in the same direction.

Tshepo Mohlala, the Prince of Denim, has been a part of reputable and successful businesses, including his latter, the South African premium denim brand, Afrikan Swiss. He felt adventurous, restless and more than anything, he felt incomplete. So, he left the groundwork and the stability to start his own enterprise; TSHEPO the Jean Maker. He garners on and revels in his pursuit, driven by a fondness to represent his true artistic self.

How long have you been working on your clothing line and why did you choose ‘TSHEPO the Jean Maker’ as the brand name?

I've been working on the brand since February and it came to life months later. I wanted to create a signature brand as the likes of Versace, Levis, Marc Jacobs, Moschino, and Ralph Lauren. Only this time, such a brand would be produced locally.

Leaving Afrikan Swiss as the co-founder and Marketing Director, was it a difficult decision to make? What encouraged you to stick to your guns?

Leaving Afrikan Swiss wasn't an easy decision to make because the team and I worked hard to create what Afrikan Swiss is known for today. I wanted more and I needed to challenge myself. I love creating great functional everyday wearable jeans that are affordable and of great quality. This fuelled courage drove an undying urge to pursue me, the guys gave their blessings and they support my choice.

Where will you be selling the clothing from and when do you plan on introducing the jeans for your female market?

I am currently selling the jeans online. People who are interested in owning a pair can place an order by reaching us through known channels. My design team and I are working on a range that we will launch and thereafter introduce jeans for our female market.

What pieces are readily available to your customers at the moment? How often will you be releasing new designs?

We have created and perfected our first design - the straight slim-fit cut which is suitable for everyday wear. They are functional and practical for any occasion and activity. Our brand focuses on creating classic jeans with a touch of modesty. We will be releasing three other cuts.

What sets your jeans apart from your competitors? Are you bringing something distinct to your brand?

TSHEPO jeans are designed and produced locally, with quality material. Our cut is perfectly tailored for African men.

You have three other specialists who are part of TSHEPO the Jean Maker. Why did you choose to work with them specifically?

I’ve recently rearranged my initial team and we are in a process of working with a PR company and other specialists who have in-depth knowledge of their fields. These are people with experience, business and industry knowledge and it is important for us to partner with people who are dedicated as much as we believe in the brand.

What has been the most challenging and rewarding part of starting a new business in such a fiercely competitive market?

Cash flow is a challenge in starting a new business. It takes confidence to compete in this saturated billion-dollar industry. It is encouraging and rewarding to witness people supporting a new denim brand in the market.

Why launch the brand now, Was it a strategic move?

We had no other reason to wait longer, our first pair of pattens were ready. This is also an introduction phase for the brand, to get people familiar and formally introduce our clients to it.

You launched the jean brand at +Jozi Hub, the space is a cultural center, how was that experience for you.

The most important aim was to show people what we have created and to allow personal interactions. The response we received was amazing even though it was a cold night. People still came and we were humbled.

What have you planned for the coming year? Are you working on any projects?

We are planning to launch three other cuts and introduce more product mixes. Our greatest goal is to create a home for our brand and gain a larger clientele.

Who knew you’d be part of the things you’re doing now? Who knew you’d succeed when you pushed and tried one more time? Nothing happens by chance; everything you do builds on to who you are and what you’re meant to become. So don’t doubt yourself, take in everything that’s around you and make it all a part of you. What stops you? Push past the doubt and pull towards your aspirations.

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Sithembiso Promise Xaba | Words That Start With P

She is the guiding spirit behind the ITS competition for young designers (International Talent Support), which she has orchestrated since 2001. Barbara Franchin combs fashion and design schools around the world to help creatives blossom in the most remote places on the planet. At the close of the 12th edition of ITS, held in Trieste on July 12 and 13, she summed up the show's take-aways and the current hottest trends.

Did you have a hard time organizing ITS ?

Barbara Franchin: This year was the hardest of all. Due to the financial crisis, public institutions cancelled all their subsidies. While public support only represented 10% of our budget, it was a significant support. Economic difficulties have taught us to streamline our organization to a higher degree, but ITS requires a huge amount of preparation. Eve, the company that organizes the competition, employs ten people full-time and 80 in the weeks leading up to the event. 

It is a complex operation. In September, we start with a world tour of fashion schools. Then we have to make the first cut of the 1,000-plus applicants and portfolios that we receive each year. Then we have to compile the jury and judge a second round. And finally, there is the production of the event. We managed this year, thanks to obtaining a new sponsor through Swatch, who joined our other major patrons [Diesel, YKK, Swarovski, ed].

Your archives contain the collections of your finalists and the portfolios of applicants from around the world. In terms of the portfolios that your receive, have you ever been disappointed by the collections that were actually presented?

BF: The candidates assemble these portfolios to illustrate their projects — a mini-collection of five to eight pieces that more or less relates to their graduate collection. Some of them are complete masterpieces. We get something of everything! We have received portfolios delivered in blocks of cement or ice, or in stuffed animals. We even got pieces of furniture in which each drawer revealed a design. But often the craziest portfolios do not lead to the most beautiful collections.

Which are the most creative countries?

BF: Right now, the Asians are very focused and strong. The Japanese, Koreans and Chinese are very active. They try in every which way to get me to understand their projects. They are very motivated and used to a hard fight to get what they want. There is currently strong economic growth in China and Korea that allows them to come to Europe and show off what they can do to a larger audience. And then creativity is always changing. Currently, Europe is in a recession. Fewer young people can afford expensive fashion schools. So there are fewer European students.

What were the major trends this year?

BF: We are seeing a big comeback of materials, worked in every imaginable direction. There is still an intellectual approach, but it is coupled with this investigation of material that functions as the key to understanding the piece. For example, jewelry is no longer set in the traditional way but designed as sculpture. Generally speaking, young people today are more mature. They are aware of what they are doing, how they think about it and how they want to communicate it. They are no longer happy with just making a piece of clothing. They are also thinking about the larger context. It is no longer enough to be the designer. They start to have more experience and work more on all aspects of their work.

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Dominique Muret | Creatives

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