Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Seatbelts and Open Spaces: The Eco Fashion Brand

Just like the name of her eco friendly business, Thuto Sekate’s crafting talent is nothing close to convention. Having started her business three years ago out of her sheer fascination with experimenting with patterns, techniques and colour, she has since launched a personal accessories collection ÔÇô‘Seatbelts and Openspaces’ÔÇöan ethical lifestyle brand producing clothing, home d├®cor, bags and accessories. Basically Thuto has gone and made ‘Going Green’ fashionable my mixing it with a bit of color and glamour. A huge plus considering all the climate change pleas for people to take better care of their environment.  

Thuto puts an elegant spin to recyclable itemsÔÇösomething she says emanates from her passion for creating unique things. Her crafts aim to balance nature and business. “At the heart of my business is eco-friendly designs. My ideas stem from different places such as seeing fabric, falling in love with it, draping it, wanting to learn a new craft and wanting to create,” she says. 

In her design element, she explains that her creative process involves different intricate forms: “I make handmade products incorporating crafts, such as knitting, braiding and twisting and macram├®. I love incorporating cotton, hessian/burlap, leather and any pretty fabric and I draw my inspiration from our heritage, makgabe, braids, megagolwane and so much more. For me it’s about seeing gaps and feeling like my creativity is meant to solve that problem.”

She singles out adorning Zolani of South African band ‘Freshly Ground’ and local singer Mpho Sebina as her biggest highlights to date. “They are both my inspiration so it was a humbling experience. When Zolani said both my name and brand on stage, I knew my work was only beginning.” 

Her major challenge has been funding, Sekate says: “Capital is definitely a huge issue as a startup. Also investors in Botswana usually want 50% ownership of your concepts to buy into your company and that’s definitely an unrealistic request. The issue is Batswana generally would rather buy in a store with chain stores around, rather than come to markets and buy from a local designers, however, I’m glad my fan base is steadily growing.” 

“Any woman bold enough to stand as an individual in this fashion industry and daring individuals really who don’t see the box,” states the designer on who her accessories speak to. “People here love accessories especially jazz lovers and global trotters,” she adds.

Sekate also tries to react to new trends as she handcrafts her unique accessories: “I believe design is about having fun with materials of different sorts and of material both old and new and creating a masterpiece even if it’s the only one of its kind ever made.”

On what people can expect, she mentions that she has a collection coming up: “My spring/summer 2017 collection of both clothing and accessories should be showing its head In August 2016. Watch out for kaftans, dungarees and over sized clothing complimented by accessories inspired by our heritage. My ultimate dream is to see my brand having stores on Etsy, Skymart Botswana, it’s own online shop and supplying shops all over the world.”

For more information, visit her facebook page Thuto Sekate.

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