Clothing brand Neotsentle has launched a brand new range of cool sweaters and hoodies that represent and highlight the Southern Sotho culture. The brand was first introduced through its workwear range designed in the well-known shweshwe print and has evolved after rebranding this year.
The rebranding was introduced through the Underground Gang series, a series meant to tell stories from the past for future generations “my work is inspired by the Basotho people and the rich culture that comes with them,” says Nthati Machesa, founder of Neotsentle.
We got a breakdown of Nthati’s rebranding journey here:
“I have always been rebellious in nature, especially when it comes to things that are deemed as “normal”. My first thought when I started the brand was to come up with professional wear that’s made in South African traditional material. I didn’t understand the concept of black and white clothes being regarded as professional in the corporate space, especially in corporate South Africa. So I played around with shweshwe material to come up with professional wear concepts that I could wear to work. The concept was amazing but it proved to be difficult to sustain as costs associated with creating your own clothes are a lot, especially when it comes to labour costs. So I went before I gave up on the business in its entirety, I went back to the drawing books and consulted with my ancestors. My prayer changed to ask for guidance in the brand and to give it more purpose. Then it hit me, one day it just hit me. I have always wanted to preserve my culture, that’s the reason I used shweshwe material with the first collection. My purpose has always been about preserving the Basotho culture as I want my future son/daughter to know who he/she is. I want my kids to know who they are. So I went and created concepts that the modern mind can relate to. Concepts that relay the story but is also relevant to the time we live in. I believe the only way to teach a modern generation about tradition is to relay the message with the current buzz. We need to evolve our traditions and culture to fit the current day’s problems. So I started with the underground gang series which narrates the story of the Basotho clan. This series is meant to help those who would like to know who they are and to help us own our stories. I want my kids to know about Senanapo before they learn about Cinderella, I want my kids to know their clan praise so they remember who they are in case life throws lemons at them”
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