Punk & Ivy Interview


The brainchild of husband and wife team, Bianca and Khaya Bhubesii Sibiya, Punk & Ivy Style Motique has been drawing a crowd since its inception in 2012. A mobile boutique, Punk & Ivy is a dream on wheels, bringing African fashion to style lovers across the country. We caught up with one half of the duo, Bianca, to chat about the brand and her vision for the future.

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Where did the idea of a motique come from?

The idea of a motique – mobile boutique – came from a trip to Southeast Asia in 2012. While we’re used to the idea of 9 – 5 shopping in South Africa, we found Asian retailers went beyond this norm. We then wanted to provide an alternative to local customers who were limited by the traditional retail model.

So, walking into the motique – what can customers expect?

The Motique is a fully-fledged retail space, measuring 9,3m long. You’ll find a retail and merchandising space, change-room, office, seating and so much more. As the only vehicle of its kind in Africa, we also use it for separate projects – as it’s quite popular with film and photo crews.

Tell us about your designs and style – what’s your vibe?

Our core style is African-inspired sports luxe and streetwear, with an androgynous twist. You’ll find original prints, unique cuts and fabric for all shapes. Our pieces are made to be worn by men and women – a little alternative.

We also believe in bespoke pieces, using local materials. We’re passionate about African print and created our own for our A/W 2015 collection. After much research, we discovered that all the African print worn in SA is actually made in Holland, so why not make our own prints that we can own and create as Africans?

Where did your interest in fashion come from?

I remember being very aware of fashion as a child, with my well-travelled mother being a constant source of inspiration. I started working as a freelance stylist when I left my career at MTV, and as my husband is a full-time stylist working on commercials and magazines…I couldn’t escape it – especially when people would come up to me and say, “I really like what you are wearing, can you make me something similar?” I turned into a walking advert for the clothes we were designing together as a couple.

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Where did the name Punk & Ivy come from?

These two terms were synonymous with men’s fashion in Soweto back in the late 60s. Punks loved the dark, form-fitted looks influenced by artists such as Michael Jackson, while the Ivys were what we would term today the “metrosexual man” – wearing glam pieces that included platform shoes, bell-bottoms with the heavy ironed-in creased floral silk blouses. The fashion associated with both resonated with us, as a provider of alternative, androgynous clothing.

Where do you see the South African fashion industry going? And what role do you wish to play?

We are positive about the progress to come. The fashion and textile industry has a long way to go before we can comfortably be in a space to make what we want when we want, instead of having to opt for China as a market to produce goods at prices that consumers can afford. We are also making it a challenge to source funding so that we can start our own production set-up, which opens an opportunity for us as a business to employ young skilled people, assist in more training, learn more, push for more hand skills to be resurrected, and, most importantly, to be able to be that destination for consumers who want bespoke orders delivered timeously with the best quality, all on SA soil.

Any new collections underway and what do we have to look forward to?

We have put together a new 16-piece collection which is sports-luxe-inspired, unisex and the whole idea behind it is to make really fun pieces that people can wear through a Joburg winter, which often has warm days, but cold evenings. For women, we have great shorts that you can wear with a pair of heels, an oversized blazer and a little vest. The same goes for the guys in the collection; we have great fitted trousers inspired by the college Ivys.

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Interviewed by Candice Bresler

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