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If clothes could "speak" ...     

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The Style Bible is an easy to read style guide for women - by Simon Rademan - available in bookstoresWhat do your clothes “say” about you?

… a fantastic form of sign language!

Fashion "language" is a visual means of communicating, …so is sign language.

Sign language use facial expression, gestures and body language.  Fashion, on the other hand has become a universal language.

Sign language use facial expression, gestures and body language.  It is mainly used by people who are deaf and have hearing impairment.  Many people think sign language is a universal language.  While this is partially true (when it gets to lettering the alphabet), there are regional variation that can be thought of as regional accents.  

  • ·       Alexander Graham Bell succeeded in teaching his deaf wife to speak and lip read. This success made Bell a vocal proponent of Oralism (the Oralist method)  -  Sign Language is not seen by followers hereof as a true language.

  • ·        His opponent Edward Miner Gallaudet advocated for a different approach. Gallaudet and others believed that American Sign Language is the native language of the deaf. It is a viable and vital form of communication.  This is mainly done by spelling words using one hand.               

The British use both hands, and was South Africa’s preferred way of deaf communication during the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.  With television and the internet came exposure to the American spelling form which is lettering (using one hand).  By the mid 1970s educators began challenging the “oralist web” of education and teachers gradually began to agree that no one educational method is right for all deaf children.

Fashion, on the other hand has become a universal language.  It used to be regional and was never seen as a science nor as a language.  The fact today is:  clothes ARE a language in its own right, but it could also be regional, be English, be American.  We (designers) use colour, texture, and silhouettes to express emotion, provoke reaction, and tell stories.  You can therefor choose to belong to a certain “group” by wearing certain clothes.  But why should South Africans be “Americanised” or be “Brittished”?  Why do we not stay South African?  …Be on the lookout for my book on this fantastic subject, available soon….

In the meantime, I humbly suggest:  remain individual, seek what suits you best from a multitude of available styles, and shine!   Say exactly what you want to say… The South African way! 

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“You may ask why?  Both my parents were deaf, and as a child I experienced a language (sign language) that is pure, strongly based on body language and visual expression.  With little words in a sentence you could describe a lifetime of stories.  Today, in fashion, I utilize that experience, let my gowns speak in a voice that cannot be heard, but seen.  All I can say is WoW!  What a privilege!”  Back to top  

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