Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Yarn Hipster: The Eclectic Clothing Label

It took Thapelo Letsebe seeing other people live their dreams to decide to chase his own. As infant as the fashion industry is in Botswana, he decided to pursue what he is passionate about; fashion. This young fashion enthusiast, a local trend setter, self-taught stylist and aspiring fashion designer has now taken the leap to release his own clothing label called ‘Yarn Hipster’.
Describing the clothing line as eclectic, retro, sophisticated and contemporary ÔÇô something that reflects his own personal style, he found it fitting to undertake a new project beyond his comfort zone. The label was established in June 2014 when he saw a gap in the local fashion market. He sought to bring a different approach to top wear instead of confining himself to the clich├® t-shirt and sweater branding that most local labels do, and he wanted to diversify and add his own unique creativity. “Yarn Hipster comprises of mainly baseball shirts, beaters and oversized t-shirts, but I’m not limiting myself there. It’s a fresh new label and I’m excited to see its growth,” said Thapelo.
When asked about his target market, he says it’s for everyone who loves to look fashionable, elegant and relevant to today’s exciting fashion trends. “I wanted to bring my own style and fuse it with what is appealing out there, something that draws attention but in a trendy way,” he enthused. “I see myself established here but my target is going international because I want to see celebrities wearing my label,” he added. As a stylist, Thapelo has worked with some well-known local personalities such GaTsh Fros, Gaone Tlhasana, Mimi Mokgwathi and Mothusi Lesolle. He also had a radio slot with former Yarona FM presenter Carlos Makgato called ‘Pap Fashion’ and he continues to dress and style local rap artist Sasa Klaas for her performances. “I really want to get into the corporate scene and further commercialise my styling talent,” he said. He also added that he loves collaborating with designers and stylists who have the same visual sensibility as him.
He decried that Batswana aren’t really enthusiast buyers when it comes to local brands, reasoning that the downside of the local market is that people are eager to praise one’s work through social media but it becomes difficult for them to purchase merchandise. “Some people want to be styled for free, some want complementary t-shirts although they can afford it. We need Batswana to actively support the growth of our fashion industry and see it as a serious commitment instead of a hobby,” said the aspiring designer.
His mother, who was at first reluctant and wanted him to venture in a more financially stable career, now embraces his dream and is impressed by his passionate nature. “At times when I have photo shoots, my mother borrows me her car and money for props, I am so grateful for her support. It makes her smile when projects I do materialise into something I can pay my bills with,” he said.
This eager stylist has high hopes for his brand to catch the attention of an international market. He also stated that emerging fashion creatives should be nurtured by people that are more experienced in the field. “Platforms such as fashion weeks, workshops and prestige fashion schools are needed to refine creativity and they should be accessible to everyone who is keen. Our government must support such initiatives and believe that we are capable of going beyond our local market with our works,” said Thapelo.
In his pursuit to gain more experience and skills, Thapelo dreams of attending fashion school at LISOF in Johannesburg and he aspires to be an established reputable brand in both the local and international fashion industry.


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