THREADS: Misha and Sizwe in the city of a hundred lovers

Culture, Threads

Linking up with one of Auckland’s cutest couples Misha and Sizwe before they appeared together at New Zealand Fashion Week 2019, it was a surprise to learn this would be Misha’s first ever interview. The couple talk to S E R U M about what it’s like being Kiwi but also originating from another country, dating in the spotlight and also being boujee on a budget: 

How did Not For You Clothing come across you two when they were casting for their  NZFW/2019 show? 

Misha: Just Instagram and DM

Sizwe: Most of our works through Instagram 

And for you two it would be often hey? 

Sizwe: This one (points at Misha). 

Misha: Just promoting stuff  

How did that start for you? 

Misha: I just enjoy taking photos and dressing up  and stuff, then occasionally like brands will just hit me up to promote their clothing, from there it just got bigger and bigger. Random brands would start inviting me to events and stuff, I honestly don’t know what the heck, I wasn’t expecting it but I guess promoting on Instagram is the new way of advertising. 

Who’s the biggest one that you were like wow, cool. 

Misha: Fashion Nova.

Where were you when you got that DM?

Misha: I was just on my bed and I saw the DM from this lady, it was actually just Fashion Nova who DM’d me, I’ve never worn their clothes before or DM’d them so when I saw that notification I was just like what the heck and my heart started racing, I screenshot it and put it on my story, then Seez screenshot it and put it on his story too pretending he got sponsored [they both laugh out loud] but yeah that was so cool. 

So how does it work when you model an item for them? 

Misha: They just asked for my address, I choose a few items from their website and I have to post a picture within four weeks of receiving the item.

So not an issue

Misha: Yeah nah it’s pretty easy, its my hobby, so yeah.

Do they pay you for that girl?

Misha: Fashion Nova doesn’t, like big brands like that they just have heaps of stock, but small brands like New Zealand brands do. 

Ohhh who are the Kiwis let’s always support our local! 

Misha:  There’s Premium Clothing, me and Seez are both sponsored by that, it’s a New Zealand brand and Australia, then there’s Bambi Boutique we’ve been to a few events of theirs and Benefit Cosmetics NZ they’ve sent me some stuff too and then we’re walking for Not For You Clothing today too.

What took you to the States recently was that for modelling?

Misha: Oh I got sent to the States to be in a Snoop Dogg music video. 

So that’s still done through Instagram?

Misha: So for Instagram I was getting heaps of brands and heaps of emails from brands trying to organise something and this man from Instagram DM’d me, he’s now my manager and was the one who got me the opportunity to go in the Snoop Dogg video. He answers all my emails for clothing brands and stuff and organises a price because I suck at that, I just do everything for free and he’s like, ‘No you have to make money off it.’  

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Miss u LA 🌴💄

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So you’re slowly learning the business side of it as well? 

Misha: Yeah I’m like ‘OMG you can make money off it like Instagram is a real job’!

Sizwe: I wouldn’t say I am an influencer but if those opportunities come by, especially with this one, there are people that want us to work as couples and all that, modelling. I guess through me shooting my fits on Instagram and then opportunities will just come like, ‘Oh this guy knows how to rock his clothing.”  

For you, Insta’s not just rocking clothing though hey, you’re also a rapper. 

Sizwe: Nah, it ‘s me trying to build an image but it all goes around music. If I was to get fly or anything or put on any piece of clothing I’d hope that they’d be like ‘Oh this guy’s cool let’s go  check out his page’ and then find out that my main focus is music. 

So for you, when you wake up in the morning and you’re thinking about what to wear, what does your appearance do for your mood or vibe in the morning when you’re planning for that day?

Sizwe: I always try, I don’t want to look like anyone else. I want to put on something like when I walk down the street it will stay in your mind forever even if they just see me once and I’ve had people tell me that, then that’s a successful fit to me like, ‘Oh you’re that guy that was wearing this and that’. Someone once told me, ‘You’ve got that kind of look that will stay in my mind for like 10 years’ and that’s when I was like, ‘I like this shit, I like what I’m doing’. 

Since then working with Jet was a big one for you, too? 

Sizwe: Jet was a big influence, the biggest thing he told me was, in fashion and dressing there should be a theme. You’ve got to try and have a theme with it so that was the biggest thing, he told me but obviously he’s designing and stuff, he always put me in his clothes which is cool and I love helping out young people who are designing. 

Because it is a passion aye it’s not just.. like about clout and shit… if I was to sum up your style like real quick I would say like…. hood gothic…

Sizwe Yeah! Hood goth definitely. 

What about you girl..

Misha  Hmmmm, how do clothes define Misha…

Sizwe: Baddie 

Misha : Yeah just going for that bad bitch Insta baddie or Bratz Doll…just like what you see on Instagram that’s what I wanna be in real life.

Do y’all mostly get support for what you’re doing? 

Misha: Mostly support yeah but it does attract unwanted attention just for standing out and stuff.

Sizwe: Yeah 

Can we talk about those things a bit more?

Misha: Yeah sure, me personally because I am Indian there’s not  a lot of girls who wear, I guess we will say revealing clothing so there’s a lot of Indian people that will look down on me but then the majority are Indians who look up to me because there’s the sense that they can wear whatever they want and not hold back…Young girls mostly that’s my main audience, young Indian girls and that’s cool that I can inspire them, so yah.

It’s cause you’re challenging barriers or old school restrictions hey

Misha: Yeah even with my own parents and stuff they would not approve of my outfits until they saw that I could create a platform and stuff out of it and now they just approve of it it’s all they can do but they don’t really say anything too.

Sizwe: Yeah just let you walk outside and pretend they didn’t see it.

Misha: Yeah they let me walk out the door. 

Lol were there times where there times where they wouldn’t approve?

Misha: Yeah they’d just be like, ‘What are you wearing’!?

Are you from New Zealand? 

Misha: I was born in India and so I moved here when I was one so I was brought up here as a Kiwi.

Sizwe: I’m from Auckland, born and raised here but I’m from South Africa, I’m part Indian too – my dads Indian, I don’t know my dad  I wasn’t raised with him, I was raised in a South African household – always been in Auckland Great North Road, Avondale ways, Waterview. 

Would you guys called yourself third culture kids? 

Sizwe: Nah 

Kiwis

Sizwe: Definitely Kiwis but with my culture – I don’t know my mum didn’t never force culture on me .

Misha:  Same as me like my parents moved here so I could grow up with this sort of culture like be more free, I guess. 

Sizwe: Yeah same to be honest

Yeah cause it’s your generation now that get to kinda make those rules and forge that identity for the future 

Sizwe: Yeah I don’t know how to explain that too but I get what you mean – I know exactly what you mean my mum –  it’s just not forced on me – but as an immigrant I don’t know, you’d expect us to hold that like that South African Indian thing,  but I don’t know if it’s just never been pushed on to me.

I feel like a lot of us in those positions take on dress and pop culture, as our culture, like it goes a lot deeper than just material on your body it’s another way to make your own identity right? 

Sizwe: As soon as I noticed that and started going on the gram and noticing and getting into fashion I started feeling like I can do this, I can make my own culture, I can make my own wave I just felt like it could be my own thing and all my people, my family overseas they see that and they’re fine with it and all that.

What are you hoping the youth will pick up from you as a popular person? 

Sizwe: I guess with my music I feel like …the kids need to say it at a young age. When I started – I met you when I was 14  – I was just talking through my music and with the dress code I think, dress however you want and not let age be a limit.

Cause in New Zealand you can right?

Sizwe: Yeah cause like it’s real hard shopping in New Zealand, like finding pieces. 

Misha: That’s so true.

Sizwe: Getting to know your local designers and all that is like being in touch with what’s next and what your local designer’s gonna put up, I think the kids should be involved in that because I don’t know where to shop in New Zealand, like I really don’t.

Where do you shop? 

Sizwe: Online or through friends like I went to Australia and went through heaps of my mate’s designs, so I just got heaps of his shit.

Is it because you’re just not into what NZ has got?

Sizwe: I was to go to the store and get something right now it would be like an Adidas tracksuit at the most. They just don’t have what you want here. In Oz it goes harder but not really here I can’t find anything here – what is there like Loaded?

How do you guys feel like paying $300 for a pair of jeans, I think that’s on average what you pay here for ‘style’…

Misha: Nah bougie on a budget that’s what I like to go by. 

Sizwe you’ve just signed to Gallatino I mean aesthetically they’d be one of the most on point in NZ so far, I’d say…

Sizwe: True Tapz and Mzwetwo, I think they put me on because they needed someone young and in touch with the internet I don’t even know how to put a name on their swag but Otis has had my back forever, he was the one who put me in the studio first and as soon as I linked with Tapz and worked on my new shit ‘Why’, I’ve just dropped ‘Why’, I’ve seen more opportunities come through to do with music. Otis is a good manager he’s cool and Tapz is just like the best big brother, I just wanna be like Tapz to be honest I’ve always looked up to Tapz he’s just always travelling I wanna do what he does. 

That’s the plan? 

Sizwe: That’s the plan for sure. 

Now that ‘Why’ has come out what can your people’s look for next?

Sizwe: Album, more tracks this year. 

This year?

Sizwe: This year…Nah I promise this year we looking at like December.

And also… couple question, being a couple dating  both definitely have got Instagram heat, whats that like? 

Misha: I’ve always wanted it like I can’t picture myself with someone who isn’t into dressing up and flexing and stuff so Seeze is just like,  we enjoy it, it’s our hobby. 

Sizwe: I mean we’re just like the same people, she’s like the girl version of me I’m the boy version of her. It always takes us hours and ages to get dressed because we’re so fucken picky with our outfits.

And you do it together? 

Sizwe: Yeah we do it together  we rate outfits she’s like, ‘nahh you can’t wear that today, nah nah nah’…I love having someone who I personally think looks good and can see me get dressed too you know what I mean it’s probably the best part of it too.

Did  you think you’d find that with someone when you met her? 

Sizwe: Nah I didnt but to be honest when I saw it I was like ‘Nah I need that’.

And so it was like a long game thing or was it like ‘You, come with me’.. .

Sizwe: Nah that was exactly it, ‘you come with me’ literally. 

Misha: Yeah it was just like, you’re my girlfriend now, he never asked me out  he just said ‘okay now you’re my girlfriend’ (lols) And I’m just like, what, like ask me out but it’s cool.

Sizwe: The exact words was like ‘I’m ready to be loyal’ that’s it.

Misha: Yeah I was just like what, ‘what does that mean’…like what?

What’s it like dating a rapper

Misha: Omg it’s cool, yeah …But I’d like to go to a few shows and stuff, we’ll see, it’s cool when fans come up to him on the street. 

Sizwe: Being in Auckland it’s real small so getting your name out, I couldn’t imagine this much hype, like when we’re walking on the street people stop us like someone just stopped us on the way here.

Misha: It’s like why me you know I just take selfies and people come up to me to get photos like, huh. 

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She wanna dinner d8 w gallantino

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Is it a bit awkward to have that much attention? 

Misha: No it’s cool but you always just feel like..

Seez: I love it, it’s cool  

Misha: Yeah I love it too …

Sizwe: I wouldn’t say ‘Why me’ I feel like I worked a bit and got a reason.  

Misha: Yeah he’s a musician so I get why he receives that much attention, but I’m just an influencer so I didn’t expect it . But I obviously love all the positive attention and support, it means a lot.

Is there a difference between an influencer and a model? 

Misha: Yeah there’s a huge difference. Models aren’t their own boss, as they never have a say in how they want to look. However, I always get to choose the clothing I promote and I can always do my makeup how I want which basically means I’m always guaranteed to feel comfortable and confident knowing I’m being myself.

So you get to make your own rules in a way? 

Misha: Basically that’s what I wanted to do, I don’t want to be with an agency but I’ve modelled for a few boutiques and stuff.

What is it about an agency you don’t vibe with?

Misha: They won’t let me do my own makeup and stuff, I like the way I do my eyelashes, little things.

Who are the top five people that influence you guys style wise?

Sizwe: Kanye, Kid Cudi, Playboi Carti, Jet and my mum, just with emotions and dealing with life.

Is clout chasing important: 

Misha: No?! What. 

Sizwe: I noticed the difference between clout  chasing and being hungry, I think being hungry is important I could say clout chasing and the best example of it is like fake fuckign with people, or fake showing love or just riding waves and all that – that’s not cool like that’s not important but being hungry is definitely important and letting people know that you’re hungry is definitely important, I like showing people that I’m hungry.  

And what 3 tracks would you put on your own runway playlist: 

Misha: Aw yeah that Lady Gaga one, ‘walk walk fashion baby’….

Sizwe: Yeah what’s that one called again – is it Bad Romance?

Misha: Paparazzi! I’d have like Nicki Minaj,  any of her songs hey, she just puts me in some sort of mood. 

Sizwe: Okay, Paparazzi Lady gaga, Kanye West  Black Skinhead and Kid Cudi Dance for Eternity.

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Best friend 🧸

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Yo, have you guys practiced your walks? 

Misha: We were just doing that walking across the road like ‘try not smile’, when we on our way here actually. 

Anything I haven’t asked you that you want people to know about modelling, rapping, being a couple or being cute in general..

Sizwe: Respect women, dress how you feel.

Misha: Be confident. 

Sizwe: Definitely always do your best, give it your all and make an effort to make people smile during the day, love your parents especially if you’re an immigrant you gotta like know, you gotta know how much your parents did to get you here and not let them down. That’s got to be my biggest part and that’s my inspiration I always think about what my mum did to get me here from South Africa and that just gets me out of bed everyday. 

T H R E A D S: JETT NICHOL DEFINES THE BAG

Interview, Threads

These holidays 22-year-old designer and personal stylist Jett Nichol is dropping some golden knowledge and then taking a one way trip to the United States. It’s his dream to intern for Kanye West. “Me and Kanye are going to be friends one day” he tells me, and somehow, the intelligent part of me can picture it. Jett has a confidence about him, he’s passionate, articulate and has a work ethic to aspire to. Since he moved to Auckland two years ago from Taradale, Hawke’s Bay he’s been flipping burgers for 80 hours a week, at a joint called Better Burger. This year he’s managed to save enough money to buy a Rolex and a new pair of Rick Owens for ‘his bag’. He explains:

“There’s a thing called ‘the bag’ which they mention in hip hop – they’re not talking about money they’re talking about God. Straight up, they’re talking about that feeling in your chest when everything is going correctly and you understand that the stars align sometimes – it’s when you get that feeling in your stomach.

Plans to fill his bag include spending downtime with girlfriend Poppy and swimming and sitting in a Japanese sauna. Having researched everything down to his suitcase when preparing for his trip, to me, it’s a reflection of the designer in him. After Japan the plan is to head to the States solo. “Either New York or LA, I might flip a coin or some shit. Some rooms, you can only get into alone,” he explains. In this interview we talk about the right way to ‘get clout’, styling rappers and having the confidence to recognise your own greatness. “Kanye’s the one guy I wanna work for. Designer’s have always got apprentices. Masters like Yves St Laurent was the apprentice of Dior… My friend Taylor Burn from Auckland though is now Virgil [Abloh’s] personal assistant.”


SERUM: Isn’t it incredible what Kiwis can do these days?

J: Crazy. Kids here are different. There’s actually a demand now, it’s building really fast.

SERUM: Yeah we’ve got so much talent here, like a little concentrated island/country.

J: Cause we’re so friendly. Obviously there’s exceptions but I think we admire the culture of whatever we wanna way too hard. We’re fans but since we’re so far away we get a misconstrued idea of all of it and we end up putting a spin on it into our own shit, the kids here are so different, we’re fire as.

SERUM: Describe what you’re style’s like?

J: Bold, bright, but it’s equally as dark. I don’t know it’s just bold without being dramatic or offensive, like cartoonish I guess. I like big letters, big colours, a lot of textured fabrics, shit you ain’t gonna find in AS Colour.

Shirt designed and made by Jett.


SERUM: Where do you shop?

J: I actually don’t. Last place I shopped was at Zambesi and that was probably like mid to end of last year. I bought some Margiela and some Rick Owen shoes. I don’t like shopping man, there’s so much shit product. When I buy something I have to do a lot of research. I started looking into best suitcases to buy and they were all shit and so dumb. I was like ‘How could I have this? This doesn’t represent me in no way’, so I bought a $300 suitcase, rimowa, aluminum, it’s fucking hard. I like minimal utilitarian products and the best of it. I feel like Rick Owens makes the best shoes in the world. I like to buy really little of high quality things. If I was a girl I would not be touching Glassons or anything.

SERUM: Fast fashion is a big fucking problem.

J: It is. But the best way to get clothes is just like the type of shit you run into in your life – there’s something natural and sexy about it, the way you got it. Some of my favorite pieces ever are pants, jackets that were hand-me-downs from my uncle. They’re ripped and old but it’s just dope. Shit that you find in your parents’ wardrobe as well – it’s that shit that creates the most vivid homegrown styles

SERUM: For you. How much is too much to spend on a garment?

J: None – there’s not too much. Those t-shirts, green ones, $600. Like who the fuck is going to own a t-shirt for $600?! I believe everyone should own their dream pair of shoes, whether they cost $300 or $5k.

I feel like everyone needs their dream pair of shoes as soon as you can afford that shit – get them shits. I mean, what the fuck are people spending money on like what is there?

Drugs.

SERUM: How in your words would you say fashion is an extension of personality and why is it important?

J: It’s all about mood. The word fashion is …fashion is almost like an accessory to style. Style is just essence of character you know. It’s the purest form of someone’s soul, I don’t wanna say soul but it’s really deep rooted. Style is – they know what they’re doing they know where they’re going and why, even if they don’t realise they know. It gets quite spiritual I think style at least and then fashion is there to aid and protect style in a way and sometimes replace it. You get some losers out there that replace style with fashion though.

SERUM: When you wake up how do you know what you’re going to put on?

J: It’s always about what type of character I wanna be that day like what type of movie am I in today. Sometimes I feel minimal like right now I’m wearing black and two white stripes, Ricks. For sure sometimes I feel busy as and I wanna wear mad accessories like patterns, I feel like fucking people off.

SERUM: Name your top four designers.

J: Without saying me times four, lets go Margiela number one because I feel like that was the first guy to inject irony into the industry, like the element of almost dark humour in a way; he really criticised the industry and the ins and outs of it through the clothes which is kind of buzzy. Obviously everyone’s doing it now, the idea of just rarity. That guy, there’s like two known photos of him ever. He was very anonymous, very strange. Doesn’t really have a solid logo either; he’s got a tag that’s blank – all of that shit. So yeah Margiela, coolest.

Prada – it’s uniform, really minimal, classy – you now devil wears Prada, obviously.

Kanye – he’s not my favorite designer in the world but I still think he crushes it. He’s making a lot of statements I mean Season One, that fucked fashion up for sure in menswear.

SERUM: Yeah I fell for that real quick, completely in love.

J: Yeah and I don’t think the effects of that have been seen yet either, people are going to click maybe 10 years later but nah, Season One meant fucking heaps.

SERUM: Also the choreographer he chose for those shows was the same woman – Vanessa Beecroft and I just loved that human installation approach.

J: Yeah it was rare aye.. I think Helmut Lang did that as well. They had a kinda stand-still-army-type vibe.

SERUM: What do you think of celebrity designers?

J: I don’t know if I think anything of celebrity designers. It’s all good, after hearing so many Kanye interviews I try to stay away from the whole class-ism thing. Like try to not box people in you know if there’s a celebrity and they wanna do something different it’s like fuck yeah do it.

Name some..

SERUM: Rihanna, FENTY

J: Rihanna’s so fire. .

KANYE.

J: Who is a shitty one?

Savings from Better Burger.

SERUM: I just think for someone who lives it, breathes it, and then a random comes along and dabbles in it, must get frustrating, no?

J: Well I’m tryna live it. I’ve been doing 80 hours a week there. I’m not even playing, I’ve been just saving money this year to try and bag myself. Aw wait, first designer is Nigo!

Nigo – he designed BAPE and then Human Made – I think BAPE is the best streetwear label ever to do it. It brought streetwear to a really childish place but like, luxury. It was just buzzy like straight out of SpongeBob and then Pharrell… great celebrity designer, shout out to celebrity designers.

SERUM: I mean these days no one is one thing.

J: Yeah it’s kind of a renaissance huh.

Jett & Sizwe worked together at Better Burger.

SERUM: How do you feel about clout chasing ?

J: I’m a clout chaser. LOLS. There’s just a way to do it and a way to not do it – everyone wants to be popping so it’s like – you got to do it but you’ve got to know that you’ve got the bag. You’ve got to chase the clout within yourself rather than following other people’s clout. Sure people can give you followers but no one’s really giving you clout like passion and it always comes down to how you’re feeling inside. That’s where style sits, style is the essence of clout which comes back to God. It’s all very spiritual. You’ve just gotta focus on yourself – watch your own back and don’t bother about anyone else’s. If you can help someone else’s bag do that and if you can see that someone can help your bag – do that. But it’s about your bag, don’t steal anyone else’s cause you’ve got your own right there. Everyone’s got it. The people that are hating or clout chasing the wrong way – they’ve got a bag of their own but they dropped it on the floor, forgot about it and are going after someone else’s. It’s dumb. Focus on your own name, spend a lot of time alone ..

Nah, we’re gonna crush it.

Who’s we?

Me.