Tlhalefang Moeletsi a PhD student in Economics at Wits University and a Research Analyst at the World Bank.
He describes his journey into fashion as somewhat unconventional, and accidental. He always dreamt of owning a vintage minimalist style handcrafted backpack made from African print, and after searching and searching and not being able to find the bag he had in mind, he decided to design and craft it himself. And that is how his brand 'Mebala' was born.
Mebala is Setswana, meaning ‘colours’. It’s a premium accessories brand that is focused on handcrafting and customizing bags using genuine leather and African prints. His designs are anchored on minimalism, functionality, simplicity and celebration of culture and expression of self. Being a customized brand, he goes out of his way to meet specific design preference of clients, who are from an array of backgrounds. He fuses fashion and art, culture and identity, passion and expert craftsmanship to create timeless artistic bags that are also functional.
Moeletsi uses traditional handcrafting techniques to create the bags, constantly minimizing the use of machinery. This allows him to optimise the number of jobs that his brand is able to create with each bag he produces. Moreover, the handcrafting and human touch ultimately gives all of the bags an artistic feel with traces of expression and passion.
The brand is deeply rooted in African culture, which is its genesis and biggest inspiration. Moletsi finds himself constantly exploring the most beautiful African prints and searching for new ways to use them, and using them with leather for premium feel and durability.