Writer and photographer: Nonduduzo Ngcobo
Everyone is talking about blogging these days. What was originally a frivolous pastime has spawned blockbuster movies and created hip careers.
To cash in on this phenomenon, we hunted down one of the more famous local bloggers, fresh off his win for best fashion blog at the Marie Claire Awards. We’re talking about Malibongwe Tyilo, the mastermind behind the cult blog, Skattie, What Are You Wearing?
“Call me Mali,” he says. We follow Mali from Cape Town to Joburg for SA Fashion Week where we manage to pin him down, between all his gallery hopping, fashion blogging and day jobbing, to wrack his brains about all things blogging.
Ndu: What empowers you or anyone to be a fashion blogger and an authority in fashion?
Mali: For me it’s still early stages and I’m slowly getting invites from fashion weeks and events, so I can’t really comment. There is however, a need in the South African fashion blogging sphere for more bloggers. They reflect what real people are wearing, and that is what needs to be seen fashion-wise.
Ndu: Without using the word “need”, or the phrase “creative outlet”, why did you start your blog?
Mali: I liked the style of my friends. I never meant it to be a fashion blog. I just love my friends, love the way they dress, love going to art exhibitions and the way people at these art exhibitions are dressed. I just wanted to show that — that’s all.
Ndu: The images on your earlier posts were taken on your camera phone. Can you advise our readers on how they could blog with minimal tools, such as a cellphone and a head full of ideas?
Mali: Just do it! You have to be in that space where you’re not too mindful of what people think. Write what you think; write what is on your mind. I sometimes look back on the pictures I took using my cellphone and I think they look rough, but what I take from that is that it was s fun taking those pictures. Harass your friends to follow you; harass them to harass their friends to follow you.
Ndu: How does your blogging process come together; what guides the decisions behind the words and pictures that go into Skattie, What Are You Wearing?
Mali: With the pictures, I go through them and I ask myself: “Am I excited about the pictures?”. I also consult the people around me, namely my best friend and my partner, who are always honest and quick to tell me when they are bored.
I don’t enjoy reading a lot of information on blogs, so I ask myself: “If someone like me were to land up on my blog how would I keep them there and keep them entertained?”. I keep it short and simple.
Ndu: What are the benefits of blogging career wise?
Mali: For me, blogging is my not my career. I have a day job as well, so I am not looking at this as a business venture. What I have seen from young people who start fashion blogs is that they use them as part of their portfolio to get jobs in the industry. Any blog, not just fashion blogs, can be used as part of a CV to show what one can do and what one knows in one’s chosen field. Some people also make money from advertisers who pay for space on their blog.
Ndu: Any advice for aspiring bloggers?
Mali: Just do it! I also consider myself an aspiring blogger; I am not living off my blog. Just do it and you will be pleasantly surprised at the people who start to follow you.