The newly-launched collaboration between the biggest premium beer brand in Africa, Castle Lite and Mzansi’s premier sneaker design brand, Bathu is all about igniting the expression of one’s individuality through style and seeks to inspire consumers to step out of lockdown in something that gives them confidence and is representative of their personality.
To do so, the two brands came up with a sneaker that does just that. “The idea behind the shoe was to create an “open canvas” effect. This allows people to express themselves through customization as they UNBOX themselves,” said founder and MD of Bathu, Theo Baloyi.
According to Baloyi, sneakers don’t have an age spectrum, everyone has a sneaker in their closet and through the collaboration, they really wanted to ensure that the shoe was simple enough that it could fit into anyone’s style.
And if you ask any street style connoisseur in the world, that is exactly what the new age of street style looks like post lockdown. In a recent article analysing what will become of street style post the pandemic, globally-renowned stylist, fashion designer, businesswoman, and writer, Rachel Zoe speaks to writers, photographers, fashionistas and designers, and reminds us that “fashion is reactionary and historically, style mirrors cultural shifts”, alluding to the fact that the direction of street style will never be the same again.
It is overwhelmingly clear in the fashion business that the upheaval of 2020 has restructured not only the way people consume content, but also the way in which they choose to express themselves through the medium of fashion and style.
over the past 10 months, the future of street style was in flux. With no events to be photographed at, it made it hard to evolve this type of style. But now, as the world begins to emerge from lockdown and people begin to once again show off their self-expression, experts believe that the industry is in a new phase that is “unprecedented and arguably, long overdue,” said Zoe.
“One tangible way street style is predicted to change is through a revived emphasis on authenticity,” she says in the article. She then turns to the expert opinion of street style photographer, Darrel Hunter who echoes her sentiments, saying: “recent cultural shifts may have an effect on people being a lot more conscious of what they’re wearing and probably returning to a more authentic personal style”.
And to Baloyi’s point above, it is important for brands to be conscious in what they offer consumers right now. People have become highly sensitive to the things they do, the places they go, and the clothes they wear. So, it is crucial for brands, in whatever merchandise they put out, to allow consumers to express who they are in the most authentic way possible.
“One remarkable outcome from the COVID crisis is perhaps the heightened sense of consumer ethics. This historical situation has forced us to think deeper about promoting brands within the street style landscape. As consumers continue to educate themselves on the realities of the fashion industry, questions like who made my clothes? will increasingly become part of the conversation at all levels,” Coleiro continued.
And it is for this very reason that it made sense for a giant like Castle Lite to turn to Bathu for this creative concept. It was about more than just putting out a shoe for people to wear. It was about working with a brand that resonated with a truly South African narrative; one that tells a proudly, untold South African story and brings it to the world through the unique and innovative design of its shoes.
The Castle Lite x Bathu shoe collection harkens on the new expression of street style in a post pandemic world. It is a simple design geared at giving consumers the onus to style the shoe as they wish and step out in their most authentic style. One thing is for sure though, this collaboration sits at the forefront of an aesthetic shift for street style in Mzansi and only time will tell exactly how our new street style scene will look like.