LESOTHO-BORN fashion designer, Thabo Makhetha, has notched another milestone with the nomination of her Basotho Blanket Classic Starburst Coat for the Most Beautiful Object in South Africa (MBOISA) 2016 award.
The award is an initiative of renowned South African online publication, Design Indaba, with the concept behind the project being for South Africans to vote for their favourite object based on their personal definition of beauty.
The 2016 MBOISA nominees were picked by 10 of Design Indaba’s chosen cultural commentators, with Makhetha’s Kobo collection jacket nominated by ELLE magazine’s South Africa Editor-In-Chief Emilie Gambade.
According to Gambade, the jacket had the “right kind of alchemy”to warrant being regarded as an object of exquisite beauty.
“It is uniquely African; combines heritage, craft and beautiful proportions; it is timeless, colourful and says a lot about who we are and where we are from, but at the same time it is exceptionally modern and very contemporary,” she said.
The MBOISA exhibitions, including Makhetha’s coat, will travelaround South Africa starting at Rosebank Mall in Johannesburg, Gateway Mall in Durban, and ending at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town where the winner would be announced at the Design Indaba Festival on 19 February.
Makhetha told the Weekender this week from her Port Elizabeth-base that it was the first time she had been nominated for the MBOISA award, adding that it was a stepping stone towards establishing her brand internationally.
“Our aspiration is to create a legacy in the same way such brands as Burberry, Balmain and Chanel have done,” she said.
“Winning the MBOISA award would be a huge endorsement for our label especially because we have our sights set on breaking into the international market, and people need to know who we are and what we have achieved.”
She said the voting process would run from 4 January to 19 February 2016, adding that Basotho could alsosupport her by voting on the link: www.designindaba.com/events/mboisa-2016.
Makhetha is best known for her Kobo collection; a range of capes and jackets made from traditional Basotho blankets.
The Starburst jacket is a classic piece from the Kobo Ea Bohali (Blankets of Prestige) range of garments inspired by Basotho culture. She said the coat was a modern interpretation of the traditional outfit.
“The inspiration for my Kobo Collection is my Basotho heritage and our culture of wearing the Basotho blanket as an integral part of our social and private life,” said Makhetha.
“I have always felt that most of the time, when we move into the big cities, we tend to leave our culture and practices behind. This was a way I could continue embracing my culture into the everyday life of the city.”
She added: “The Starburst coat is the second design I came up with. I wanted to play with the contrast line one finds that runs through the blanket itself. The Starbust Coat is a full-length trench coat, consisting of panels that come together at the back, resulting in the perceived starburst.”
In a previous interview with this paper, Makhetha described herself as an extrovert who believes in positivity and surrounding herself with ambitious people who like to have fun.
She said Thabo Makhetha Fashion Design Studio was stablished in 2009 and garnered numerous awards and accolades over the years. In 2014, Makhetha made her runway debut at the Vancouver Fashion Week in Canada, where she was praised for the quality and creativity of her work. She was listed as one of the Top 40 under 40 Business Leaders of 2014 by the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber. The Arts and Culture Trust of South Africa honoured her with the 2014 Impact Award for Design, while last year, she showcased at the South Africa Fashion Week for the first time.
In August last year she showcased at Pure London in the United Kingdom and again at the L’Artigiano in Milano in Milan, Italylast December.