I’m always a little stumped when people ask me “so what do you do?” If I were to answer honestly, it would take a good ten minutes to cover all ground, as I seem to have my finger in a whole bunch of pies. So, I’ve decided to write a blog post about exactly what it is that I do and how I got to where I am today. I hope you enjoy it! 
Julia - Buchanan family in Cape Town
I’m incredibly lucky to call myself a graduate of the University of Cape Town (UCT). After completing a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Painting from Michaelis School of Fine Art, I continued my studies and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Entrepreneurship (PGDip). When I first applied for the PGDip, I didn't get accepted, but after a few visits and numerous calls to the man in charge, I was finally enrolled into the class. Today, I like to think of myself as an aspiring entrepreneur who enjoys exploring the intricacies of creativity, including fashion, fine art and culinary experiences.

Julia - Swimwear collection in Cape Town 2020
The idea to start a clothing line began while I was doing my undergrad (putting R5 petrol into my car every day had to stop!). I started making limited edition kimonos. After my four years at UCT, I was accepted to do an internship at a gallery in New York but was unable to go when my visa got denied. There seemed to be another plan for me. Shortly after the visa trouble, I set off on an adventure to travel and work in Barcelona with my dearest friend, Brontë. While Brontë cleaned the boat we were working on (despite not knowing how to put a vacuum cleaner on), I was cooking (i.e. throwing pasta against the wall to see if it was properly cooked). On our off days we would roam around the small boutiques and it was during this time that I realised that there were few places in South Africa where ladies could buy locally made, affordable swimwear. When I returned to Cape Town, I started JULZ SWIM, now called JULIA, which is focused on providing women with comfortable and unique swimwear and apparel.

Julia - Swimwear and kimono collection in Cape Town
For the few years that followed, JULIA was a “side hustle,” my “night-time job,” as I had the privilege of interning and working at two of the greatest museums of Contemporary Art in Africa, namely Zeitz MOCAA followed by Norval Foundation. I am currently completing my Executive Masters in Cultural Leadership at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, an 18-month programme which brings together cultural leaders, practitioners and academics to give participants a 360-degree view of the global art industry. Our continent has the most vibrant and exciting energy with so much talent still to be explored! Africa has always been a great source of inspiration for my creations.

As a result of my interest to explore further, I introduced the CREATIVES' COLLECTION, which is an annual collaboration that I do with a selected artist from South Africa. Together, we create a limited-edition range of swimsuits, designed by the artist. As with art, fashion is a reflection of our times and provides a platform for young designers to have a voiceThe fashion industry has been named the second most wasteful industry in the world, so it is up to young designers to build awareness around this issue and make the necessary changes towards sustainability. This is a key priority for me, and I aim to make all my garments locally and out of recycled materials. 

In 2019, I was announced as one of the young designers to collaborate with Pick n Pay Clothing. This was an incredible opportunity to extend my ethos into a much broader arena and to design for a wider audience. Shortly after, during the global lockdown, I launched the IN-CONVERSATION SERIES which is a series of conversations with entrepreneurs and business owners within the creative industry in South Africa. It has been a busy time, and I have loved every moment.

Julia - Designer collaboration with Pick n Pay

I’m so grateful for all the opportunities that have come my way, for the incredible mentors that I have in my life and for all my friends and family who have supported me along the way. On top of it all, in May next year, I get to marry my super chef soul mate, Ollie! I can’t wait to share parts of this journey with you all!

Julia - Julia & Ollie engagement shoot in Cape Town

Much love,