Basotho blankets go north

Emerging fashion designer Thabo Makhetha launched her modern take on the Basotho blanket at Vancouver Fashion Week 2014.

From the Series

Canadians may soon be warding off the Northern Hemisphere chill with Basotho blankets courtesy of up-and-coming fashion designer Thabo Makhetha. The South African made her international debut when she presented her Kobo Ea Bohali collection of Basotho-inspired fashion at Vancouver Fashion Week 2014 recently.

The organisers invited her to participate after seeing the collection online. The Kobo coats and jackets are a modern take on the traditional, patterned blankets of the Sotho people, which Makhetha launched at Design Indaba Expo 2013.

At the age of 21, immediately after graduating, Makhetha established her own fashion company in Port Elizabeth. “We started off as a brand that produced once-off made-to-order items, which meant that my approach and design style where to an extent influenced by the client’s preference,” she says. “However, as our brand has developed I’ve shifted towards more ready-to-wear items that are a full expression of what has influenced an inspired me.”

Her Canadian show was received positively with the collection listed as one of the Top 30 presented. “They complimented me on the use of colour and the quality of the clothing, as well as the Basotho blanket which, as you’d be right to point out, they were totally unfamiliar with,” she notes.

The Kobo Collection presented in Vancouver included new designs for sleeveless items, satin tops, shorts and skirts for the spring/summer season. The Kobo jackets now also feature pockets and zip details, for garments that are more user-friendly.