Fashion designing can be one of the most challenging industries in the world. It is defined as the application of arts and aesthetics to accessories and clothing.
As hard as it is, Tshepo Mohlala, owner of successful brand “Tshepo The Jeanmaker” works much harder. As in producing custom – made jeans for the past few years without stop. He established his business, Tshepo Jeanmaker, in Lorentzville, on the eastern edge of the Johannesburg CBD.
From dressing famous and respected people such as Media personality Somizi Mhlongo, to award winning rapper Cassper Nyovest in such a short period of time, the proves that the growing fashion icon should to be underestimated.
What makes the Tshepo brand different from other brands we currently have in the market?
The brand is all about Storytelling. More of a conversation starter than just a pair of jeans.
What encouraged/inspired you to become the designer that you are today?
I know I have always had something to give to the world… We all have something to give to the world and this my opportunity; afterall it is all about the people.
Why the specific use of the crown as a representation of your brand’s logo?
Ayanda Mabulu, who is notorious for his political painting and also based in Vic Yards, said to me “ You’re a King, you deserve a crown”. So the back pocket symbol is ART and the funny thing is I once told myself that I wont create one (back pocket symbol) as I wanted it to come to me and it it did.
You have dressed celebrities such as rapper- Cassper Nyovest & media personality – Somizi Mhlongo. Do share the privilege of such an opportunity?
(Laughs) – I think they were privileged.
The price range of your jeans received a lot of public and online criticism. What pushed you to continue the choice of pricing despite the overall backlash?
Because we are a premium brand, we put in extensive work for each item and also our jeans are hand-made.
What brought about the decision to solely focus your brand on jeans?
PURPOSE – Denim is an everyday thing and everybody wears and loves it. It is ideal and the one thing that can unite the world.
As a young black entrepreneur, what challenges have you faced thus far in building your brand?
Building a team, access to funding and the dream being hard to implement. I actually hate the term ‘Black entrepreneur’; the challenge comes to entrepreneurs at large, our products are not for a certain group of people. It is for excellence.
Given the opportunity, which international celebrity would you love to dress & why?
Trevor Noah – he tells a story of an African child, understands it and has reached levels that are seen as a taboo for children base kasi.
What advice would you give emerging designers who aspire to become a “Jean Connoisseur/Maker?
The Devil’s In The Detail.
Fashion Style and Tips for the second half of 2019?
Denim, denim, denim.. .. Denim everything.
As Tshepo the Jeanmaker, what future endeavors should South Africa look out for in 2019?
Growth and Collaborations (giggles)
Tshepo and his behind the scenes team deserve big credit. Credit for being so authentic and creative in brand making, in an industry where people are repeating designs and sticking to the same fabric. Whenever you see the red crown logo on any denim item, you specifically know that it’s a Tshepo the Jeanmaker – Presidential brand design. That’s how strong, captivating and appealing it is to its consumers, especially on social media