15 Jan 2024 ///


South Africa’s favourite multi-faceted retail destination, Woolworths, were among the first brands to build a synergistic relationship with creatives – as wayshowers of style, fashion and trends. In 2014, their series ‘StyleBySA’ forged a legacy of creatives as embodiments of Woolies’ curated essentials – check out the Spring Summer 2017 iteration, here. A decade later, the series returns as #STYLEBYSA, with Woolworths revisiting their focus for their New In AW24 January collection, inviting a selection of South African fashion’s most important voices to curate their own edits.   

In this campaign, we see legendary creative director, stylist and fashion editor Bee Diamondhead articulate her vision for Woolworth’s seasonal suit offering; harnessing, literally, the power suit in an incredibly conceptualised and self-initiated series of images alongside  sleek luxury cars and motorcycles. The suit remains an emblem of aesthetic authority for women, often transcending its sartorial function as a symbol for strength and confidence. As Bee describes, “Woolworths does a great suit – because I’m in my power in their suits, I feel like this badass machine that is so well-oiled and so shiny, and so taken care of. I wanted to bring in these beautiful machines – like the Porsche, the Harley – and draw on their aesthetic beauty and their function, for moving forward, moving up – because every year, we’re levelling up.” This thematic interplay between concept and materiality is a precise example of Bee’s incisive vision for fashion and her ability to execute it; no wonder, then, that Bee remains one of Africa’s most important creative visionaries.


Critical to the launch of #STYLEBYSA in 2024, is its roots in encouraging the self-initiated skills of creatives. The ability to self-initiate is a key thread among creatives and artists since time immemorial; hence, it remained a focus for Woolworths for this moment in time in South Africa. As Brigitte Arndt of INHAUS AGENCY says of the campaign, “I think what has been really important for us in re-ideating #STYLEBYSA is to stay true to its essence, which has always been to spotlight/provide a platform for South African trailblazers – historically they were designers like Rich Mnisi, Thebe Magugu. So, we’ve brought it back with the likes of Bee and Oli as they are both doing epicand disruptive work in their respective fields. We wanted to highlight that and hoped that their creative visions for January would also encapsulate this feeling, which we really feel it has.”

In an array of suits for Woolworths AW24, Bee describes the absolute necessity it is to own a suit, “do yourself a favour and get yourself a classic, black suit. It’s one of the most versatile items you can have in your wardrobe. You can dress it up and dress it down – with simple adjustments, it can be worn totally differently. I am currently doing a lot of travelling and it’s the one thing that has been in my suitcase, consistently.” For the linen suit, which is trans-seasonal and can be worn across the the colder and months, Bee explains what caught her eye, “a lot of people don’t know this about me but I’m quite short – so, the pinstripe detail on the linen suit is great, because a pinstripe can elongate me and make me look a bit taller.” 

Then, in a 90s revival of denim as a set (but made chic and clean by Woolworths), Bee advocates for denim as one of the most interesting fabrications, saying that “denim is one of the oldest and most durable fabrics that can live forever in your wardrobe, especially when it’s treated correctly. I love that denim ages so beautifully too – I love the idea of denim growing and ageing with me. I love that I styled the denim suit as a ‘Canadian tuxedo’ for the campaign, which is such a statement, but it can be remixed any way that I want, too.” 

Embracing the essence of ‘newness,’ this campaign channels a dynamic pursuit of experiences and ideas, envisioning 2024 as a year abundant in innovation and freshness. Woolworth’s unwavering commitment to constant reinvention and evolution takes centre stage; as a leading retail destination in South Africa and as space that has continually archived and developed creatives in the last two decades. Led into an era of freshness by Bee Diamonhead; consider this drop as a short lesson in style by one of South Africa’s greatest sartorial minds. 


Written by: Holly Beaton

For more news, visit the Connect Everything Collective homepage www.ceconline.co.za

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