Cape Town-based unisex streetwear range Merwe Mode is clean-cut and androgynous. Here and there you’ll see a flare of acid print and other bold details complimenting the simplistic lines. We spoke to founder Deeva van der Merwe and her partner Sarah Wocknitz, to find out how the label came about.
A first-class student
The idea of Merwe Mode came to Deeva in 2013, but the label officially launched in August 2014 at Boaston Society concept store, on Long Street, Cape Town.
Deeva graduated from FEDISA (Future Excellence Design Institute of South Africa) with a BA degree in fashion design and business management. For her final collection in third year she was awarded two of the four ceremony awards, Best Technical Ability and Most Creative Collection. She then left for a two-month internship at Tom Ford’s studio in London. “It’s part of FEDISA’s curriculum, one has to get work experience within the fashion industry before graduating.” The experience at Tom Ford’s studio, says Deeva, really grew her love for menswear tailoring and technical pattern-making. “Pattern-making is the most technical part of the garment construction process, it’s also my favorite part of fashion.” Her experience at Tom Ford also influenced the visual elements; the clean lines and subtle details, along with the androgyny.”
A brand is born
Before Merwe Mode, Deeva owned her own production and pattern making company, producing custom-made garments for various clients, from bridal to costume design for the film industry. When Deeva conceptualised Merwe Mode, she wanted a Euro street style fashion label, and it wasn’t until Sarah Wocknitz, a graphic designer, came on board that the brand truly came alive. They concentrated on a couple of designs that were sold over social media. When they noticed their items selling well, they pumped more social media marketing and sourced a couple of well-known people, like rapper Ben Caesar, to be their brand ambassadors. Soon, they will soon be launching the Autumn/Winter collection.