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Sunday, 1 November 2015

GarconJon meets Wayne Chillano Swart: Johannesburg, South Africa: Model Off Duty

If you've been following my Instagram, you'll know I've been in South Africa shooting for the past couple of weeks. As we travelled during South Africa Fashion Week in Johannesburg, I thought it only right to attend and used the experience to form my shoots across the Capital and Cape Town.

In the first of five "GarconJon meets", I met Wayne Chillano Swart in Soweto, the South Western Townships in the outskirts of Joburg. We met at the Hector Pieterson Memorial, a symbol for the struggles in the Soweto uprising commemorating Hector being shot at the age of 13 during a student protest. It certainly felt like a significant location to capture and turned out to be the most memorable place in Johannesburg for me.

Wayne is dressed in Amos Tranque, a South African designer I first saw as part of Fashion Week. I was instantly taken with his confident use of structure and playing with utilitarian techniques andknew we had to work with him while over. Each of these pieces are from the Spring '15 collection and the standout look, seen in the first few images, is available to win via my Instagram @GarconJon. Head over there to see how you could win this look yourself.

Wayne Chillano Swart, Student at Wits University and model with Lampost.

When you were a child what did you want to be when you grew up? I wanted to be an actor. While growing up, I remember always watching TV and wanting to re-enact scenes right after. My poor cousins were usually roped in to role play with me. I guess it all stems from my love of storytelling and by acting it portrays a character and tells a story to the viewer. It's something that I hope to pursue someday in the future.

Where did you grow up and where do you live now? I grew up in a town called Ennerdale in the south of Joburg. I now live within the city in Braamfontein.

What do you love about Joburg? Mainly the cityscape and it's people. We're such a diverse nation with different cultures and language. I love the morning time with everyone going about their day, it's something I've never experienced elsewhere. Of course I have to also mention Jozi's nightlife, where you're guaranteed to have a great time wherever you go. 

If someone had only one place to visit in South Africa, where would you tell them to go? There are so many incredible places but I'd have to say God's Window which is in Mpumalanga. I've only been there once but the view is breathtaking and it was an experience I'll never forget

We shot in Soweto - what's special about that place? The historic events that took place here are significant not just for South Africa but also the world. It has value to all South Africans. We've come a long way and Soweto represents just that.

How did you get into modelling? Funny enough I was shooting a photo project with a friend in Braam two months ago when I got discovered by a photographer. She took my head shots and asked if I could join their shoot. I spontaneously did the shoot right there. She took my details and I got signed with an agency.

What's been your best job as a model? I'm still new to it but so far it was for a Rich Mnisi lookbook that got featured in Dazed and Confused. I was overwhelmed and thrilled to kick-start my modelling career with that opportunity. While doing that shoot people in the street would call me "Soul Man" and "Afro brother". People's reaction to my afro is always hilarious.

We shot you wearing some of Amos Tranque's clothing, what do you like about his work? I loved how fun it was to shoot in it. His work elevates you. I felt strong and confident. My favourite thing were those blue pants. I definitely need a pair - totally rad.

Do you think it's important to support local designers? Absolutely! It goes hand in hand with being proud of your country. South Africa has some incredible creatives and by supporting local designers you not only promote the brand but also showcase to the world how brilliant and authentic we are.

Describe yourself in 5 words. Passionate, creative, stubborn, reliable and goofy.

What are you biggest influences in life? Paulo Coelho's books! I've read The Alchemist and recently received The Pilgrimage as a gift. His work has really shaped how I interact with the universe and in my journey to fulfil my aspirations.

What's on your horizon at the moment? Right now I'm focusing on my year end exams. I'm also pursuing photography - I recently bought my first camera. I'm thrilled to be in front of the camera as well.

Leave us with some words of wisdom. My mantra is a quote from Henri Matisse "Creativity takes courage" so once you've found inspiration, even in the most odd places, don't be afraid to express it."

All clothing: Amos Tranque
Photographers Assistant: Alastair Nicol
Production: Leila Mountford
Transport: JMT Tours