Tsepo Tsotetsi decided to take his love for fashion to the next level after high school. Welcoming the guidance and refinement that was offered while studying fashion, he started his self-titled label in 2015. “It [fashion] has taken over my life now. It’s a big part of who I am and most importantly how I choose to express myself.”
For Tsepo fashion is about being able to find yourself and not being afraid to make that known. This is how he approaches his work. With a focus on detailing and deconstruction combined with a love for simplistic sportswear lines, Tsepo has been able to elevate his garments by adding in a dark element to how he conceptualizes he pieces. He uses his surroundings and experiences to communicate with a “strong, honest African, and potentially global, outlook.”
The beginning stages of his collections start off with writing down words, which he then filters down to what resonates with him most at that moment in time. Responding to the feelings that these words evoke, his sketches and garments become visual representation of these feelings.
His SS18 collection was inspired by the idea of visiting a dreamlike place, a story that continues from his previous collection. Explaining the story and how this was translated into garments, Tsepo stated that, “He [the character] has to adapt to his surroundings and find a way to make his purpose mean something. A man in a place of desolation. [In the collection] there are elements of dreaming, poeticism, romanticism, darkwave, sportswear and twists on menswear. There are also deconstructed elements.”
His love for experimenting with contrasting fabrics and deconstruction was made clear in the SS18 collection. This includes a deconstructed quilt, which involves quilting in patches. “I like to translate transparency as well. This involves using fraying technique to expose, but as a decorative element too.” Crepe also makes an appearance as a fabric that he has added to his list to experiment with.
Reflecting on the direction he sees South Africa’s fashion industry going and how he would like to contribute to it, Tsepo expressed that, “I love what’s happening menswear, for womenswear as well. I love what young designers are doing now. There is a lot of energy and vibrancy. We definitely are a competing force. I think our industry is still on the developing side but I love the direction it’s heading towards. I’m still young, still developing my own aesthetic and how I want to communicate my voice.”