”]If they try to tell you that all teenagers do is hang out in malls and lie on the sofa while their brains dribble out of their ears, messaging friends on Facebook from their Blackberries, this is because they haven’t met Leah Blem. Or Leah’s friends, and her friends’ friends.
These are the 16- and 17-year-olds who compose their own music, make cool art and design objets, and can organise anything from a fashion show to a body painting expo to a blog that showcases their work, without even thinking about it.
Leah, who does Design as a subject at school, is busy designing a skirt with a sense of humour, out of loops of paper. She recently made her own full body corset with a bazillion eyelets. She designed and ran up the pink sweater (scroll up), the lace dress up at the top (which cost eighty bucks and took two hours) and the floral drawstring top, up-cycled from a random laundry bag. When she’s not designing and sewing indie fashion, or doing art and strumming tunes on her guitar, she’ll be working up quirky design prototypes, like a rad toothbrush holder that looks like T-Rex, for instance.
What makes my sense of awe spike off the page, is the prolific doodle cloud on the wall in her bedroom. See that? I love how she puts it all up for the whole world to see, and how all the bits of sketches, letters and doodlebobs add up to a wall of great joy.
I wonder what Leah will be doing in 2014, when the world comes to Cape Town to see our stuff? These are the kids we need to watch. But not for the reasons everyone thinks.
I think it’s a good idea to be open to these new young creatives who will soon be showing us the way.