South Africa is really big on discovering and promoting burgeoning talents in creative fields. In fashion, it has done that through several platforms including the SAMens showcases and the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Joburg showcases. Tsepo Tsotetsi was one of the MBFWJ AFI Fastrack young designer showcase top 12 finalists. Building on the goodwill and exposure the competition provided the designer, he launched his label KNIVES by Tsepo Tsotetsi and went straight into designing men’s and women’s wear collection.
Tsepo has a handful of creative peers to inspire, mentor and challenge him, including wunderkind Rich Mnisi (Mnisi directed the designer’s new editorial campaign). He is also well plugged into the vibe of South Africa’s black designers and their explorations of self and gender through fashion. KNIVES incorporates all of this as well as an athleisure bent into a wholly fresh aesthetic. Wheat this gives us is the label’s SS17 collection ‘Invalidite’ a mix of streetwear aesthetics with athleisure attention to fit and comfort. Using plugs and yokes, Tsotetsi replicates the ordered chaos of modern life. Oversized airtex mesh sweater and structured suits remind us of the Vetements and that rebel chic movement that the label has sold us, but his take on it is wholly original and wholly South African.
But the editorial campaign is on another level entirely. Rich Mnisi proves he truly is a zeitgeist with an editorial that is as decadent as it is exciting. Using Nigerian model Bolu provides an otherness to the clothes and helps seperate them from many of the dsytopian tropes that plagues experimental streetwear. We love all of it.
Photographer: Aart Verrips www.avaphotographics.com Insta @aartverrips_official
Art Director: Rich Mnisi Insta @rich_mnisi
H&M: Orli Oh Meh Insta @Orlioh
Models: DJ Retief @djretief from Fanjam @fanjam_concepts and Bolu @blackzeus_bolu from ICE Models @icemodelscpt
Fashion by Tsepo Tsotetsi www.instagram.com/tsepoxknives