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Fashion favourite shoe brand Birkenstock teams up with local creatives

Iconic German brand, Birkenstock launched its first locally inspired summer campaign. The brand selected a few local creatives one of them being Yasmin Furmie, a former winner of the Glamour’s Most Glamourous award. Her task, to style her favourite pair from their latest campaign.

Below she chats about her personal style and how the brand’s values resonate with her.

1. How has culture and heritage influenced who you are?

It would be unusual for culture or heritage not to play a part in who we become. Coming from a Muslim background and a mixed family has added to the strong belief system I have in relation to so many things, ranging from the personal to the political. It informs my sense of style, my sense of confidence and my strong belief in justice.

2. How do you measure success?

Success is a very subjective thing. As individuals we set the bar for our goals and our achievements. I can honestly say that I’m successful because I’m constantly in the process of moving towards my goals as well as accepting that we often fail and that’s fine. To me the maturity in that acceptance is a sense of success; never being too hard on yourself and what you’ve achieved.

Photography: Tatenda Chidora/ Supplied

3. How would you like to be known?

I would like to be described as person who cares about others, who defies stereotypes, who is outspoken and takes risks.

4. What inspired you to work as a social worker and then what drew you to step into the world of fashion?

I was inspired to do social work because of my innate sense of justice and sense of empathy. The move into fashion was not unexpected because my love for it was always present and the deep sense of how everything personal is political, isn’t far from the serious nature of what fashion is.

5. BIRKENSTOCK has 250 years of heritage yet continues to evolve and present surprises year on year. Your views on age-defying style statements?

I’m known to abhor statements like “looking good for your age”. Style to me is an evolution for some, an innate sense for others but most of all it’s a sense of confidence in whatever you choose. A sense of self-belief regardless of age, regardless of being boxed in to dressing according to societal norms. It means taking that confidence and making a statement at any age.

6. Your personal style?

Confident, unique, unapologetic, and maximalist. My personal style philosophy is truly rooted in a good idea of who I am and what works for me. I go by no prescriptions, and I’ve integrated that belief in my style. It’s beyond fashion, beyond constant acquiring and has morphed into a reflection of my inner storytelling.

Photography: Tatenda Chidora/ Supplied

7. What attracts you to being a disruptor of expectations?

I was born with the gene to disrupt. My school headmaster could probably tell you that as well. My uniform was always turned into a fashion statement, much to his disapproval. I also felt that disruption fitted in with a sense of wanting to be unique and that being told what to do rubbed me the wrong way.

8. You are known to have a “shoes-first” policy. What factors are your guide when choosing footwear?

When I choose footwear, I can honestly say that that has been an evolution as well. Initially it was all about the look. For many years now however it’s been about comfort, quality and uniqueness.

9. BIRKENSTOCK is built on 250 years of heritage. How important is brand legacy and tradition in the fashion space?

Brand legacy and tradition are incredibly important. It’s what makes our choices easy, it’s what I first and foremost go for and it means that we don’t buy into silly trends.

10. What attracted you to BIRKENSTOCK?

I’ve been wearing them for many years; long before it became the “it shoe”. My attraction has always been comfort, quality, and that sense that it goes against the traditional “fashionable” pretty shoe.

11. How do you align with BIRKENSTOCK?

My values around quality and longevity as well as not consuming more than is necessary - especially in the fashion space - means that BIRKENSTOCK fits with me perfectly. The uniqueness of the brand is exactly what I try and embody daily.

12. What does it mean to be part of the BIRKENSTOCK Summer Campaign?

It has had me doing a happy dance. It is especially poignant to me as I wore a pair of BIRKENSTOCK on my hajj pilgrimage in 2000.

13. Why is it important for global brands to bring it home and localise how they approach the way they speak to a country and its people?

Global brands need to speak a localised language for them to succeed. We can’t disregard the globalised nature of brands but tapping into people who represent the local culture and then using them to translate a unique and local look makes sense on every level.

14. Fashion is often so much more than fabric, colours and prints, it’s a way to reach people. What message are you sharing through the BIRKENSTOCK Summer Campaign?

I’d like to share a story of style. A story that says we all matter in this great big world and as cliched as that sounds; we are all connected in one way or another. Most importantly we tell our stories in the way we dress, and I hope that we can share these stories of happiness, defying stereotypes and living with a good sense of self.

15. Your favourite things about being South African?

The people, the energetic nature of daily living, the creativity, the sense of connectedness to each other and our keen sense of humour.

16. Does South Africa reflect in the way you dress?

South Africa is always expressed in the way I dress. We have a unique and defiant way of putting clothes together and that speaks true to my everyday dressing.

Photography: Tatenda Chidora/ Supplied

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