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Bob The Stylist
Trilogy Water, Assuming Form.
A multivariate experiment layered like winter fashion, surely this is God’s way of showing us the infinite possibilities our lives can be. How would you then begin to quantify experience; ours is to seek and we shall find. This perfectly encapsulates the Life of Bob the Stylist, a well-rooted tree with many fruitful branches in different stages of maturity. A creative shapeshifter, the title seems fitting as he finds himself moving across different spaces and occupying different roles within creativity.
Making bold strides guided by his strong sense of intuition and faith, Bob the Soweto Nomad has moved through space and time fully enthralled in cultural activity. Having references for general good like his equally stylish Parents gave Bob a distinctive swagger DNA. Growing up wearing Bell-Bottoms inspired by the Focus crew an older group from Protea Glen is the seed that became Bob’s superpower once he learned how to harness this as a form of energy. This energy is what became the only constant variable in his life experiment.
As adolescence occurred, the innate desire to express himself creatively materialized in the form of a high school crew called the Formula boys under the discipline called “isibhujwa” in Eldorado Park, a typically Coloured township where Bob completed his schooling. Gaining street credibility in neighboring communities the “formula” transformed into a vibe and an aesthetic in the township which lead to the speculation of the show Jika MaJika being inspired by this crew. The speculation even grew as convincing as the actual logo for Jika MaJika being uWaWa, a member of the Formula Boys and one of Bob’s close friends at the time. A coming of age largely influenced by the remnants of 80’s -90’s Soweto culture in Dube, Snake Park & Protea Glen drawing beauty and positivity from the limitations of being black during oppressive times while seeking the face of God. This creates a very strong-willed man who understands not only himself but the essence of his surroundings and uses this understanding to build a life for himself.
“Therefore, I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?” (Matthew 6:25) A verse to hold onto during the unpredictably challenging occurrences in the life of a creative with Bob’s Parents sustaining him but also calling family meetings to navigate him towards the conservative narrative of adulthood. The core message being that of Bob getting a job in the Government because of the attractive benefits in the package. A bible verse amidst great quality friendships, family and various self-help books became the anchor for Bob finding comfort in anxiety & depression.
A popular saying in influencer spaces is “likes don’t pay the bills” but for Bob these likes, comments and sporadic direct messages became the fuel for the fire inside him. The organic perception of Bob the Stylist as a brand and not merely as a description created positive reaffirmations of him finding his way into the industry, surely. As organic as this perception was Bob’s transition from collecting suits, boasting a collection of over 200 suits at a point to designing suits on request. The dopamine shot of confidence in his craft and the overwhelmingness of uncharted territory, Bob took this new responsibility and wore it on his back! The unwarranted validation of his swagger came when Bob received brand invites from Ben Sherman and Palladium through which he got a taste of being the subject of a global campaign. Through brand collaborations, Image consulting & designing fashion items Bob successfully turned a hustle into a sustainable source of income that is far more fitting and empowered than the Call-Centre job he once had.
Familiarity breeds contempt for most but for Bob it created the need for an outlet. Having been active in the South African creative space before the tumblr renaissance Bob developed an alternative idea of what music needed to be. Outside of the negative fashion frames of rap both globally and locally Bob is releasing music under his creative imprint: Boys of Soweto. An example of Bob doing this is in increasing accessibility to strong content that awakens and appreciates women in a way that exhibits their strength and exhumes their celestial nature. Having had a first-hand experience of gangsterism & misogyny through his late cousins Bob realized the negative effects of what’s often portrayed in early 90’s hip hop.
As Japanese artist Tokujin Yoshioka experimented with water and the different forms it could assume in his “crystallize” exhibition so did Bob navigate his life trying different outlets for creative expression. His innate ability to assume form and being impressionable lead to him being in creatively inhibiting spaces like a Call-Centre or working in retail stores. As a child, the Japanese artist wanted to bring a cloud from the skies above down to earth and thus made it his life’s mission to achieve this goal. Without realizing it Bob brought his own cloud down to earth through exhibiting faith in his actions and carrying out his life’s mission.