Aldene Johnson was born in Zimbabwe and grew up in Durban, South Africa, before moving to London in her early twenties. Beginning her career as the fashion editor of youth culture bible VICE magazine, Johnson first worked with Florence Welch on the now-iconic album cover for Lungs, Florence and the Machine's debut release. Four years later, Johnson is still side by side with the high priestess of pop, dressing Welch in her now-trademark dramatic and textured silhouettes for stage, red carpet and camera. Between styling 'Flo' and other acts including AlunaGeorge, editorial and commercial work, and consulting for London fashion designer Georgia Harding, Johnson still finds time to regularly travel back to South Africa for downtime with family. Below she talks about the power of creative collaboration and all things (African) fashion with KISUA.
Your signature look is romantic, even mystic. How has your African heritage influenced your style?
My style is the result of a combination of influences: my formative years spent in South Africa, my creative grandmothers and these last 10 years in the UK. Ultimately it's about expressing myself. Florence is my muse. Our aesthetic goes hand in hand.
How would you incorporate the bold prints of KISUA into a modern look?
It's all about the right combinations and contrasts. Depending on the pieces, I would style the KISUA prints with clean block colours or clashing prints. And—of course—great accessories.
You often work with the same female photographers and creative talents. What is the power of collaboration between women?
I do find strong connections with other female creatives. For me collaboration is such an exhilarating process, a coming together, to create something bigger than our individual selves.
What advice would you give young African designers hoping for recognition on a global stage?
As with any creative endeavour, you have to stick with it. Complete dedication, hard work and belief in your work are essential. A project like KISUA lies close to my heart. I think the talent in Africa is relatively untapped and KISUA is an amazing platform for African designers.