It's a Greynaissance: fashion brands are proving that style has no age limit

Hugo Flear, Not Going Quietly and Trenery are just three of the labels creating fierce, go-to fashion for women of all ages

26 May 2019 - 00:13 By Nothemba Mkhondo
Deborah Chambers, Jackie Burger, Shane van den Berg, Anja van de Zand and Ingrid Irma Jones model looks from designer Hugo Flear's #ageless collection.
Deborah Chambers, Jackie Burger, Shane van den Berg, Anja van de Zand and Ingrid Irma Jones model looks from designer Hugo Flear's #ageless collection.
Image: Mark Cameron


Capetonian designer Hugo Flear tells us how #ageless is more than the message behind his latest A/W19 collection, it’s about creating clothing for strong women with a zest for life

Tell us the journey to creating the Hugo Flear brand.

When I was in my final year of studying BA Fashion Design at Cape Town University of Technology, I was selected for the African Fashion International (AFI) Fast Track programme for young designers. It offered me a mentorship with local designer Gabby Rosenwerth, where I gained valuable knowledge about natural fibres like linen and cotton.

I became the daywear designer at Habits, where I was exposed to the mature womenswear market.

In 2016 I did my first linen capsule range that sold out in the first week. I started the Hugo Flear brand. I do all my own print designs. The artwork is digitally printed in Cape Town on garments. I work with highly skilled unemployed women to make garments.

Describe the Hugo Flear brand.

Hugo Flear's garments are designed to make women feel beautiful. The Italian linen used in the garments has a luxurious feel and look. Nobody wears a Hugo Flear garment without being noticed. It is the only locally designed and manufactured women's clothing brand that uses Italian linen.

Tell us about the key pieces in the #ageless collection.

The Winter 2019 collection is built around a five-way jersey, a long and short parka coat, which are all worn over linen dresses.

We have the Lucinda coat - a lightweight, water repellent peach skin is used to create a long coat that is wind resistant and warm and lightweight.

We also have the two-way coat - a printed peach skin for every day that is a "go to piece" that can be worn as a raincoat, but mostly as a statement piece.

Deborah Chambers (#deborah_darling) is an influencer with more than 25,000 followers.
Deborah Chambers (#deborah_darling) is an influencer with more than 25,000 followers.
Image: Mark Cameron

Then there is the 5 Way Jersey - a 100% cotton and linen jersey that offers multiple dress solutions.

We also have the Yoco dress/long coat - the off-centre zip detail on this garment provides a modern look and feel with darts on the back to give a fantastic body shaping.

Then, lastly, the Colette dress. This is a 100% Italian linen dress with its bubble hip shape the dream of any girl.

Why did you decide to create an #ageless collection?

The feedback we got for our more mature customers all told the story of "inner children". All these women were strong and had incredible stories about survival and a zest for life. Their spirits all shone through and told a story of moms and grannies admired because they have the courage to live life to the fullest.

What does #ageless mean to you?

#ageless does not stand for perfect, it does not stand for wealthy or only outer beauty. It stands for survival, standing up for what you believe in and knowing that if you believe you are beautiful the world will see your #ageless beauty. Ageless fashion should have classic design elements and luxury materials as its foundation.

Tell us about why you chose the specific women for your runway show and campaign?

The five women we chose — Jackie Burger, Ingrid Irma Jones, Shany van den Berg, Deborah Chambers and Anja van de Zand — each served as an inspiration for other women.



Local designer Wynne Bredenkamp is creating a go-to brand for timeless clothing for women of all ages

Tell us about your brand.

Not Going Quietly (NGQ) was inspired by my mother, a single mom who owned her own business for 23 years. She's strong, stylish and sassy. We love to shop together but she struggled to find clothing that looked modern, suited her size and covered the "lumps and bumps".

A design from Not Going Quietly.
A design from Not Going Quietly.
Image: Paige Wood

What makes your brand distinct?

We are an anti-ageist brand that works to celebrate the wisdom, experience and beauty of women. All our garments are made to cover insecurities but enhance confidence, and the core of our brand identity lies in showing the world that older women are still sexy, still strong and still current.

What is the Not Going Quietly aesthetic?

Elegantly bold with a focus on minimalist lines and a touch of Asian influence

What does ageless fashion mean to you?

To me, ageless fashion is a combination of simplicity, comfort and confidence. Some of the best designs that we rediscover each decade are beautiful in their simplicity.

In fashion, this translates into identifying cut and construction above fads and "must haves". If the cut of the garment is right I feel that gives the piece a timeless quality. If that piece is extremely comfortable as well? Then you not only will wear it time and time again but with a confidence that transcends age.

How do you design for an ageless consumer? What are some of the considerations?

The ageless consumer not only wants a modern yet timeless piece but expects them to last long enough for their daughter to steal them. Important factors for us are cut, fabric and quality construction, but, most importantly, comfort. When it comes to the cut, each line in a garment is assessed for fall, finish and beauty.

Tell us about your latest collection.

Our autumn/winter 2019 capsule collection, Edition 3, was inspired by mist-shrouded forests and the jewel tones of the undergrowth after a cool rain. In soft textures of satin, melton and chiffon in a rich palette of teal, berry, amber and olive, the collection includes warm winter coats, high-waisted pants, flowing blouses and dresses. The key pieces are our oversized wrap coat in teal, the silky kimono blouse with matching pants and berry wrap dress.

Who is the NGQ woman?

She is a leader, a matriarch. Focused and driven, she moves between her profession and family with humour and a secret smile. She travels light, prefers quality over quantity and has an understated but bold style. She has embraced ageing and loves the self-assurance and unique joy each decade brings. She defines herself.

What's next for your brand in 2019?

Having just come out of our first year, we are looking to grow our relationship with our clients as well as the fashion community. Top of our list is to expand our national footprint. We have a presence in Cape Town and Johannesburg but have an exciting opportunity to stock a well-known South African fashion store this spring.



In celebration of the ageless woman, Trenery has partnered with two women who encapsulate the timelessness of the brand

"Style is consistent, and it is so beautiful to see that designer clothes can be shown on women of different ages," says art consultant Makgati Molebatsi.

In celebration of the ageless woman, Trenery has partnered with Molebatsi as well as former Miss South Africa Michelle Mountain for its latest campaign, Greynaissance.

Art consultant Makgati Molebatsi stars in Trenery's Greynaissance campaign.
Art consultant Makgati Molebatsi stars in Trenery's Greynaissance campaign.
Image: Trenery

The two women, who are captured wearing core Trenery pieces, reflect the timelessness of the brand and prove that it is made for women of all ages.

"It is really important for a woman to honour what she feels inside with the clothing that she wears. Ageing gracefully is just a beautiful way to describe this whole process.

"I love the grey hair, I love the wrinkles, I love everything it brings," says Mountain.