The story behind our South Africa collection - pure by luce sustainable activewear
We've got a crush on the world - pure by luce creates sustainable, travel-inspired sportswear with statement prints and unexpected cuts. Designing each collection, we collaborate with international artists to create our prints, each time finding inspiration in a different country from around the world. Our second collection is inspired by beautiful and diverse South Africa. Read here all about the inspiration behind and the design process of the pure by luce South Africa collection.
In 2015, founder Loes attended that year's edition of Fashion Talks, a conference on the workings and developments in the fashion industry. Founder of African-focused media brand Nataal and overall expert of African fashion, arts and culture Helen Jennings was a guest speaker at the 2015 fashion conference and left a lasting impression on Loes. Jennings spoke about South African fashion, moving away from the stereotypical prints and colours one would instinctively think of, by discussing South African black and white fashion, for example.
In 2017, Loes travelled around South Africa for three weeks and was inspired by the country’s variety, colours and natural elements to create a new pure by luce collection. Meanwhile, Helen Jennings had stayed in Loes’ mind those two years, so she emailed the Fashion Talks guest speaker to see if she had any ideas for an approach. Jennings brought her in contact with the South African collage artist Jody Paulsen (based in Cape Town). He always begins his creation process by hand-cutting coloured paper and felt into text, shapes and patterns on a large surface. He then assembles the pieces and glues them together to create bold collages. Loes and the up-and-coming artist first communicated digitally before she met him in South Africa. When she saw one of his works at the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art (Cape Town), she was immediately hooked on his colourful and contemporary collages, which often address social issues. Jody Paulsen had also exhibited his work in numerous solo and group exhibitions all over the world. It was exciting to meet Jody himself in real life too: not only did Loes discuss the prints for the South Africa collection with him, but Paulsen also gave away some tips on hotspots in Cape Town. On top of that, just as pure by luce, Jody values sustainability highly: "I think it's both admirable and necessary".
We got some help digitising the patterns Jody Paulsen had created for us, played around with some colours and eventually had three prints for our new collection, all named after South African cities: Cape Town, Joburg and Paarl. With these prints, pure by luce takes you on an exotic and feel-good journey.
pure by luce Naomi Cape Town printed leggings inspired by Jody Paulsen's collage art
pure by luce Naomi Joburg printed leggings inspired by Jody Paulsen's collage art
pure by luce Rene Paarl leggings with printed stripe inspired by Jody Paulsen's collage art
The beachy and playful Cape Town print is characterised by its organic round shapes, the darker and somewhat bold Joburg print, with its exotic plants, might remind you of a camo print, and the shell print Paarl is more gentle with its pink touch. The Cape Town and Joburg prints derive their names from their overlapping characteristics with the respective namesake South African cities, the Paarl print derives its name from the idea that pearls are created in shells.
For the Cape Town and Joburg prints, we designed both fully printed leggings and, for those who like our South African prints, but are more fond of a printed detail, leggings with a printed stripe on the sides. For the Paarl print, we went for dark blue leggings with printed striped on the sides. We then created fun sports tops and athleisure sweaters in matching colours to wear with the leggings. These do not contain the prints of our South Africa collection, but each one stands out for its unique design, such as the Nina Blue and Nina Black sweaters with their cut-out sleeve cuffs.
pure by luce printed leggings and crop tops: Naomi Cape Town leggings (left) with the Gugu Red crop top, Naomi Joburg leggings with the Gugu Black crop top (right)
For our South Africa collection, we've worked with three prints and corresponding three colour themes, each centred around a different South African city. The result is a bold combination of colours, exotic plants, organic shapes and other natural elements. Like all sportswear by pure by luce, each garment in the South Africa collection is made from sustainable European materials and sewn in ethically-managed factories in Portugal.