Last week saw two major international brands launch collaborations with South African talent and if there was still doubt, these developments make it clear that Africa is firmly part of global beauty and fashion.
A few years ago, major brands overlooked the African continent but now most brands are looking for new territories to grow in to and what better place than a continent with some of the fastest growing economies in the world and a youthful population. For perspective, the average age in South Africa with a population of 55million is 27 years and the average age in Germany, Europe’s biggest economy with 82million people, is 47 years. So clearly the buying power of the future is in Africa.
Sometimes though, brands get their collaborations and partnerships wrong. In a time where consumers are more powerful and have more options, brands can’t afford to make mistakes. In Feb 2020, MAC Cosmetics launched two makeup kits curated and in collaboration with Pearl Thusi.
Here are some of the reasons we love the Pearl Thusi X MAC cosmetics collaboration:
- We believe that Pearl has been using MAC for more than 10 years, as she said during her launch. In recent years we have seen her social media posts that clearly show she uses MAC. We believe that even as a model starting out, she would spend on a better quality, albeit more expensive makeup brand to give her a better shot at auditions. The age of brands partnering with celebrities just because they are big is gone, it needs to be believable to make an impact on that brands equity, bottom line and profitability.
- There are many things we can say about Pearl Thusi, and one of those is that she is authentic, she shows herself as she really is, she doesn’t sanitise her image on the streets of social media. When she is hurt and offended she shows us, when she is happy, excited or in love, she shows it. Her excitement at partnering with MAC, a brand she has been using for as long as she has been an adult, smacks of authenticity. We love and thrive for authenticity, it is the easiest way to be. Everybody talks about authenticity but don’t walk the talk.
- Pearl is clearly hardworking, as many of the women we love in the entertainment and media space in South Africa are hardworking. We loved what she said during her launch, that she doesn’t want her daughter to wish her mom was Beyoncé. Her daughter must be inspired by her mom, Pearl Thusi, showing her that the world is her oyster and she can do and be whatever she wants.
- Taking up space. Pearl is clearly using all opportunities available to her to chase her dreams, she is #BossingUp (and to be an amazing role model to her daughters). We at Girl Boss SA are definitely inspired by her to dream bigger and to chase harder. As she said in one post, echoing Zozi Tunzi, – take up all the spaces you want and can. Pearl has her own natural hair care range, she is the first African collabo with MAC and is the first actor to lead a Netflix original show in Africa with the release of her new series on Netlflix, Queen Sono, on Friday 28 February 2020.
On the David Tlale X Avon collabo, we are happy for him and we understand why Avon would choose to partner with David, he is an experienced internationally acclaimed fashion designer. We understand that an international brand like Avon would want to partner with a designer of his stature.
If you hadn’t seen the announcement, David Tlale is partnering with Avon and he has designed accessories such as handbags, sunglasses and scarfs that will be sold via Avon. Avon is a network marketing brand that makes it easy for the every day woman to make money by selling their products to other women. The products and designs by David Tlale are gorgeous, we can’t wait to get our hands on them.
BUT we do wish that the partnership was with a female fashion designer. Avon is a female driven brand. The majority of people that sell Avon products are women and the majority of the Avon offering is for women. As a brand that should understand the nuances of gender inequality, especially in this country and continent, we would have expected them to partner with a female designer. This is not to take away anything from David Tlale but our reality necessitates that gender equality should always be top of mind. This is why it matters:
- By choosing David Tlale they are saying they can bet on women only to a certain extent. Too many industries that target women, and where women are the main drivers as consumers and decision makers, actually benefit men, from retail, fashion, beauty and food. When we talk of renowned chefs, fashion designers, makeup artists, hairstylists, the majority are men. Brands and society must start walking the talk of gender equality.
- To enable women to assist in unlocking the economic potential of the continent, women need to see other women doing what has previously been unreachable for women. Women need to become manufacturers and creators not just seeking employment and being consumers. This lack of balance is making it difficult for our economy to grow the way it needs to.
We can’t say it enough, representation matters, it is actually imperative for creating an inclusive, progressive and peaceful world.