Hailing all the way from “kwa-Langa”, as she put it. This extraordinary 20-year-old has really got Cape Town at her feet and soon the whole world too. Today, dear reader, Paragraphicly Correct is going to introduce you to a girl who actually needs no introduction. I mean if Elle and Vogue magazine knows you, you need not introduce yourself to nobody. Tony Gum (pronounced “Goem” and not “Guhm”). A well-known visual artist and sartoralist based in Cape Town.
Born Zipho Gum, is also a Film and Video student at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. When asked about why she’s “Tony Gum”, she simply replied because she loves male names. She started her fashion blog when she was about 15-years old, but she also realised that with fashion blogging comes major expenses, so instead she conceptualised. Instead of making herself just a trend-setter she rather creates images to bring across a wider and broader concept than just what she’s wearing. Fashion just helps with styling and her creativity.
She also said that her idea of Tony Gum actually started way before the age of fifteen; “it started when I was 15 or no. It started even way back before then. I had moved from Langa, my childhood was very nice and fun in Langa. I didn’t get to see the downside of Langa. I had a lot of friends then I had to move to Pinelands which is like this ‘suburb’ that’s 5 minutes away from Langa, which is not a problem, but my friends; I couldn’t see them every day so I was bored. Got in touch with the internet, not that it was foreign, but we were blocked from a lot of things at school. So then I got to see “Look-books” and stuff like that, so I wanted to recreate that life here in South Africa as well. And that’s how I discovered a lot of things as well because I just stayed on the internet, and I was like wow there is so much more going on here. And I just wanted to create that life as well”.
Then on to receiving recognition from big publications like Elle and Vogue magazine. She is very honoured and most definitely humbled by the recognition she has been receiving from Elle and Vogue, but she would like to be recognised by more conscious publications like Dazed & Confused and The FADER, mostly because of what she represents. “Other publications that are more aware of black people, more aware of being conscious of work and being creative, not so much commercial”. She also said that Elle and Vogue are two great platforms, but she would love to work with publications that will help her in bringing her message across via her art.
In conclusion, she wants the rest of Africa to recognise her. She knows that things happen quite faster in other continents and she might want to take Tony Gum to a more global audience instead of just Africa. Ultimately she really wants Solange (Knowles) to know who she, as Solange is also one of her influences when it comes to her style.
I felt so honoured to at least have had 15 minutes of this gorgeous young woman’s time. A real inspiration, teaching one that no matter how big or small your dream is, if you put your mind to it and you really believe in what you want to do then you can make it happen. She believes in using the materials you have; do not focus on what you don’t have. Focus on what you have and how you can utilise it.
You can learn more about this great artist on her blog; tonygum.blogspot.co.za. She is Tony Gum on facebook, @tony_gum on Instagram and Naairobi (@tony_gum) on twitter.
And if you didn’t know Tony Gum, now you know her.
In my own words… featuring Tony Gum.