FEAST YOUR EYES ON BEAUTIFUL BASOTHO-INSPIRED GARMENTS BY THABO MAKHETHA
Celebrate the Basotho heritage with designer Thabo Makhetha who built a business on garments inspired by her roots.
Meet Motheba Thabo Makhetha-Kwinana, the designer who’s journey into the world of fashion started as a teenager when she’d sell sketches of dresses to her friends. She’s since worked hard to build her own business inspired by African heritage, in particular the Basotho culture.
“Design has always been something that was in me. It was natural for me to study fashion design after I finished matric, which I started in Cape Town but finished off at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU),” shares Thabo.
PHOTOS: THANDAZANI NOFINGXANA
Her label is recognised for taking inspiration from authentic Basotho blankets – a symbol of status with deep cultural roots dating over a century in Lesotho – and creating a collection of jackets and coats.
When asked about the inspiration behind her work, she responds, “I always enjoyed the stories that we were telling through clothing, and loved to use garments that had a cultural reference to them… I find that garments with a cultural reference are more timeless.”
“The idea for the Basotho culture that I’m taking across, is that I want my designs to be an item that can be worn everyday, while still having those beautiful traditional references to how it’s worn, and the actual material that’s used by the Basotho people.” adds the creative entrepreneur.
Being an independent designer is not without its challenges. Thabo has had to work exceptionally hard to carve her space in the market and has surrounded herself with people that support her journey and are able to impart sound advice and encouragement.
PHOTOS: TANDO GUZANA
For one, she credits her husband, friend, and business partner Kevin Kwinana for his support all along the way. More recently, she takes inspiration from friend and contemporary fine artist Muso Masoabi for encouraging her to expand on her creative abilities that include art – a skill she dabbled in while still at school.
“For me, heritage day is really important because it’s not just about showcasing heritage once a day, year or at cultural events we see happening, but to actually make your culture a part of your everyday life.”
It has been a culturally enlightening and encouraging time spent with Thabo who reminds us of the value of heritage and prioritising the things we love. We hope you seize the opportunity with us to do just that!
PHOTOS: NATALI FIELD
PHOTOS: TANDO GUZANA