Like the famous saying, ”Nothing is constant except for change!” Fashion is nothing but a constantly changing trend and threads. This term is associated with clothes and accessories most of the time.
People relate fashion to what they wear.
The fashion industry is all about making fashion statements,almost like a language. One has to be different , stylish and edgy. When the fashion industry is concerned , culture is also an integral part of it. Fashion and culture goes hand in hand. Overall, fashion is a way of expressing ourselves through our clothing and our accessories.
In today’s world ,African fashion is no longer seeking approval of the global industry as it is becoming its own force to be reckoned with.
African fashion is finally having its deserved moment and a major catalyst in this revolution is the trailblazing Refiloe Mapitso Thaisi. The beauty and brains behind the ShweShwekini brand who has taken charge to create revolutionary bikinis that tell stories that break stereotypes whilst building a sustainable fashion business.
Apart from its colourful and eclectic patterns what other better way is there for one to tell a story and a dream of ones culture.
ShweShwekini’s brilliant designs shines through how they effortlessly yet deliberate channel the rich Basotho culture.
At a glance at the ShweShwekini pieces you can tell why its a favourite with its vibrant aesthetics that are very directional yet vibrant. For Mapitso the creative process is more than just the novelty of working with Shweshwe fabric that has such a strong history, its also about preserving the techniques and empowerment.
Since launching her brand in 2017 there wasn’t and still isn’t a brand like this in South Africa and has been making exquisite creations for her global trotter clients who flaunt the ShweShwekini brand in all parts of the world.
What made her want to get into the business of fashion and especially swimwear would be an almost reflex question that one asks.
Then she gushes when she speaks highly of her mother who she says played a very profound and pivotal role in this journey. It is above all my her mothers’ love for fashion and making her own dresses from the Shweshwe fabric and any African fabric for that matter which also brought some sentimental flashback and inspiration to delve into the fashion industry.
Another odd yet interesting push to design bikinis was that she couldn’t find a perfect fit and one that also had enough prints so she decided to put matter into her own hands or threads rather in this case and came up with the shweshwekini idea. She then created the availability of swimwear that fitted and represented the African figure and roots.
Her current collection which is called Mamello in Sesotho and means ‘to have patience and perseverance’ which was named after her mother who instilled these values in her life. Each piece has a Sesotho name attached to it which is her way of educating people of her culture.
Mapitso was recently showered with applause at her début show at the African Fashion International show where she also got the privilege to walk the runway with her beloved mother which she states it is also one of her highlights in the fashion industry.
After speaking to Mapitso you cant help but notice this business -savvy woman’s plans to help build the African fashion industry through her advocacy as she is not only a Fashion designer she is also a Masters degree holder in Human Rights.
She is indeed a fashion trailblazer and who is enjoying the wave and slowly becoming iconic.