Its Saturday afternoon and the Woolworths cafe where I’m seated is buzzing. I order a tall Americano and start jotting down thoughts in my notepad. After a little while, I see a tall blonde approaching the table, wearing a grey knit, matching fitted denims and black platform boots. She exudes a subtle confidence and grace as she flashes a warm smile and sits down. After ordering herself a tall Vanilla cappuccino,
our subject jumps straight into the busy day she’s had.
Amber is currently a design student at the Cape Town College of Fashion Design and says she spends her time juggling between creative assignments, assisting with shows and being featured for her work in international publications. The garment that landed her latest feature, as she explains, started out as a simple recycling task project set by her college. The brief outline was to use recycled materials to create a unique designer garment. Determined not to settle for mediocre, Amber chose to fuse her love of sneakers with her passion for design. Her garment is made of part baggage sealing – transparent plastic – while the orange hand-cut flowers are made of recycled Nike shoe boxes. Her genius truly comes to life in this garment, and landed her a well-deserved feature on popular online art publication, Sneaky Mag – which you can view here.
When it comes to her personal style, Amber describes her look in three words: minimal, neutral and textured. She explains how her obsession with textures plays a major role in how she gets dressed. Her choice of accessories also follow the same principal – a preference for simplicity and yet fine attention paid to detail. As Amber elaborates, she offers a quote she’d read somewhere a while ago, which she lives by, and unknowingly quotes a renowned style icon. The line went something along the lines of, “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror, and take one thing off” – and it was none other than Coco Chanel who originally said it. Amber says this rule is crucial for some of us who aim for simplicity, but make the mistake of wearing too much when layering. She prefers her outfit to offer a coherent narrative, giving the eye a spot to rest.
The young designer also has a strong connection with street style fashion, and an envious sneaker collection to boot. When I ask how she describes her overall style, she keeps her answer simple, “modern sleek.. with a hint of street style.” When faced with the question of where she sees herself in the next five years, our subject spends a few moments introspecting her goals. The first thing on her check list is obtaining a degree in fashion. In the meantime, Amber has her sights set on SA Men’s Wear Fashion Week. She believes this would provide a great platform for her current interests of pursuing a menswear range.
“…When I started studying last year, I wanted to become a buyer, but so many doors have opened and my goals have changed. I’d also like to branch out in to directing other aspects of art as well.” – Amber Hennings, 2015
However, the 22 year old doesn’t believe in setting definite goals, because they’re often too set in stone. When she’d started out at Fashion College, her passion was to become a buyer, however, fast-forwarding nearly two years later, her interests have changed and her sights are set on different prospects. Likewise, in the fashion industry it takes constant innovation and growth to stand out as a brand and our subject knows this all too well. She says it can be extremely demotivating when your ideas are boxed in to a category that’s already been done.
“…it can be difficult to find your niche…you know, when everything has already been done” – Amber Hennings, 2015
What does motivate her however, is success. And while she doesn’t have to say it, her dedication and work ethic is a testament to that. Amber also credits her experience working in retail for four years, several of which spent as a manager and assistant buyer, as providing her with insights in to the retail sector. This adds to her growing business ethic, which she believes will come in handy when she develops her own ranges.
Listening to Amber speak about her career, I pick up that she’s come a long way since buying her first Vogue at age 11. Still holding on to that copy from over a decade ago, she says she hopes to never forget her roots, and remain humble in light of her successes. When asked who inspires her, Alexa Chung’s name pops up first, followed by international minimalist designer, Jill Sander, and more close to home, well-known editor, Jackie Burger. Amber doesn’t need to reveal too much to be incredibly captivating, but kindly shares with me a few current favorites:
Two fragrances she’s loving right now are Burberry Body, and Bvlgari’s Jasmin Noir – carried in her handbag at all times. Our subject also admits that she’d rather be overdressed than under, and swears by her favorite M.A.C lipstick shade, Hue – which she describes as a soft pink nude. Eternally obsessed with winter, Amber reveals how she’s become more of a summer gal of late, and says she’s really looking forward to the warmer months approaching. However, don’t be surprised to see her wearing head-to-toe black, which she still defines as her signature look.
Our subject has paved the way for herself and her promising future; moving from strength to strength, there’s very little that can stop this ambitious young woman. Having won us over with her effortless charm, warm nature and amazing sense of style, The Minimale Blogger cannot wait to see what’s next to come. Keep up to date with this young designer – and all her future fashion endeavors – by following her exploration of fashion on Instagram over here.
THE MINIMALE BLOGGER