Woolworths announced on Thursday that US superstar Pharrell Williams would be joining hands with the brand to create projects aimed at promoting sustainability.
At a glitzy event held at The Westcliff Hotel with the who’s-who of SA’s fashion and media industry, the retailer explained the intention of choosing Pharrell for the “Are you with us?” campaign was to get young people involved and interested in sustainable living.
“We hope Pharrell will help us make sustainability cool for the next generation of South Africans and help us create a better future for our children, our country and our planet,” said CEO Ian Moir.
But internationally acclaimed fashion designer David Tlale told NOW he had mixed feelings about the choice of celebrity.
“I think it’s great what they are doing … and getting global icons. But I think it’s time we also get South African brands and retailers trading in South Africa to start appreciating South African faces who are doing groundbreaking work,” he said.
“Yes, they have their reasons behind their campaign but I think it’s time that we start promoting our own,” he said.
Some young people speaking to NOW dismissed his comments, saying “South Africans like to complain.”
Tlale explained that he thought we should be celebrating our own in the way we do international celebrities.
“In America, would they take David Tlale to be the face of one of its biggest chain stores?” he asked.
But SA’s self-proclaimed prince of rap AKA told NOW that he thought the idea was great, and shrugged off suggestions that a South African may have been a better fit.
“I do feel that way about music and concerts and stuff like that, but this is more than just a concert. It’s a social responsibility. So we have to give props to those celebrities,” he said.
When asked if he'd be involved in the project in any way eventually, he said "who knows". Hint: it wouldn't be premature to look out for a Pharrell-AKA (fashion) collaboration.
This story was originally published on now.co.za