Sheer and mesh always shout Tsotetsi KL, and they screamed it well enough at the recent AFI Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Joburg (18 August). Blacklight had a chat with the designer about the collection.
By: Mokgadi Letsoalo
Images by the MBFWJ
With deep, warm yet clean colours, the Soweto-born and Vaal raised fashion star didn’t keep his audience quiet – garment after garment, each piece roused the crowd’s applause.
With women as the core subjects for his designs, every look gave a prolific approach to different types of women that embrace sophisticated fashion.
Having dressed local stars like Thando Thabethe, Amanda Du-Pont, Nhlanhla Nciza, and creating Kelly Khumalo’s over the top SAMAs (South African Music Awards) gown, the designer continues to prove that he is everything but predicable.
Tsotetsi (Full name Khothatso“Laurence”) birthed the brand Tsotetsi KL, five years ago, and has since showcased in numerous Mercedes Benz Fashion weeks, both in Cape Town and Johannesburg – also appearing at the Black Fashion Week in Paris. His recent showcase is a testament that his brand has built a reputable following in the fashion scene.
Blacklight: What would you say was the story you wanted to narrate with your MBFWJ17 collection?
Tsotetsi: The collection pays homage to the brand’s journey over the years; exposing the value of quality through the eyes of its bearer. It’s a whimsical orchestra of cloth and exaggerated features of fit and sophistication. ‘A NOTE OF LUXURY’.
Blacklight: What is the process of planning a showcase like for you?
Tsotetsi: Planning a collection for showcasing is a big process and needs my team, proper skills in planning, financing, organisation, co-ordination with a well-managed and productive schedule.
Usually, after I gathered my inspiration, I would start sketching down my ideas and accompany them with the proper fabric swatches needed to have a clear vision. With a strict time-line and the help of my team – we will financially plan, do fabric sourcing, draft the needed patterns, construct the garments, and do the required finishing touches.
Blacklight: What is your fashion trend forecast for this coming summer, and what element of it did you include in your MBFWJ17 collection?
Tsotetsi: The brand does not follow trends and our new collection is purely based on the designs and preferences of our client base.
In this seasons’ collection, we played with soft tulle, beaded veiling and nude spandex as our choice of fabric. Our trending colours are nude, purple, navy and blue.
Blacklight: How does the collection reflect where you are, currently, as a designer?
Tsotetsi: This collection celebrates August, the month of our 5th year in existence, and ten seasons of successfully bringing our client’s visions to life. The month of August is not just “Women’s Month”, but at the same time we celebrate growth in the brand and another successful year of doing what we love most.
Blacklight: Do you have any favourite pieces that you believe everyone should own, from the collection?
Tsotetsi: I do not have any look in particular that stands out, but the garments in nude take preference.
Blacklight: What is your main intention as a designer?
Tsotetsi: Honouring our women through how we illuminate their best characteristics in fabric, design and silhouette.
Blacklight: What are the lessons you have learned in the fashion industry, which you pass on to up-coming designers?
Tsotetsi: South Africa and the fashion industry we find ourselves in, holds endless opportunities for a big variety of jobs in all different circles within this industry. With hard work, dedication and endurance you will potentially reach your goal, fortune and fame.
If you don’t have the experience, you don’t get the job; if you have the experience, you get the job. One of my mottos is that your work has to speak for itself. You just provide moral support to its success.
Blacklight: Do you have any message for women, this Women’s Month?
Tsotetsi: Take care of yourself, and stand for what you believe, brands like Tsotetsi KL are behind you fully.
Check out more images of the new Tsotetsi KL’s collection on MBFW Joburg
For more on the designer go to TsotetsiKL.com