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Cape Town - Can you feel a deep affinity for a place you have never seen?

Apparently a New York designer can - but it hasn’t earned her many admirers.

Nicole Hanley Mellon told the New York Times in a feature interview published on on April 11: “”I’ve never been to Africa, but I feel like I have this deep affinity for it. I’ve read every Hemingway, we collect Peter Beard, I’ve watched Out Of Africa. It touches your soul to visit and smell the smells, and you can’t recreate the experience without immersing yourself.”

She and her husband Matthew Mellon are planning a clothing line which will have 10 pieces of clothing. According to the NY Times, each collection will be inspired by a different place in the world, with New York City being the first.

Mr Mellon is quoted as saying: “In the old days you’d have to travel to India or China for inspiration, and these days you’ve just got Pinterest boards and you can create looks from home”. NY Times notes that he does have an Instagram account, despite believing that “technology has made us lazy.”

The issue has now gone viral on Twitter, with the hashtag #deepaffinity. Some samples:

* David V. Johnson @contrarianp: I've never been to South Africa, but I've heard Paul Simon's “Graceland” and watched “Invictus.” #deepaffinity

* halavais @halavais: I have a #deepaffinity for being fabulously wealthy. Never actually been there, but I've seen it on TV.

* Dick Powis @dtpowis: Having seen Pocahontas, I have a #deepaffinity for Native American cultures,

* Sheena Sproule @sksproule: What would happen if Hanley Mellon developed a #deepaffinity for #conciousuncoupling ? These are the questions that keep me up at night.

* JMcam @Mcx2Mcx: I have a #deepaffinity for jeans with holes in the knees that cost more than your monthly rent! I hear they're ALL the rage in Africa!

* Jessica Benassi @loveheylola: I don't actually leave my house, but pinterest and twitter have given me a #DeepAffinity for the rest of the world. PS - I hate technology.

* Katelyn Galbraith @theKatelynG: Well, damn. Apparently I didn't need to travel to China to visit the Forbidden City. I could have just gone on pinterest. #DeepAffinity. - IOL