Have you noticed how we get dressed in the morning, then once we’re done, there will be that one person at home you ask if you look beautiful or even sane enough to step out of the house looking the way you do? Well, FYI I do that a lot. But isn’t that a sign that says I am in need of a fashion stylist? I’ve even lost count at how many times I’ve went back home from the taxi’s because I just didn’t feel the va va voom in how I’ve combined the pieces of my outfit. Well, it doesn’t necessarily mean I have horrible clothes, no one does. It’s about putting everything together right?
It’s inevitable, fashion stylists are known to be the gurus in giving advice about what to wear. They are known to be the fashion police for our country. Luckily (for me) I’ve known a lady that has always looked good, even in school uniform. And I wasn’t surprised that she became a fashion stylist and worked with her partner in making it possible. The ladies that are known as Botshelo and Tokelo go by the name of sixth sense apparel. Their funk and style relates to every woman. And most importantly it motivates them to become more confident in their own skin. I got a chance to talk to the ladies that go by the name of Sixth Sense.
“Botshelo Letsoenyo and Tokelo Setai are from the Vaal. We had pretty different upbringings but there are also a lot of similarities in terms of our childhood experiences because we’ve known each other since Grade 4. I (Tokelo) grew up with four sisters and both parents. There was never a dull moment at home and I had to share everything with my siblings which explains my compassion for others. I was (and still am) a very shy child and expressing myself was not something I was familiar with which made making friends a bit of a struggle for me. I always pushed away from any attention (good or bad) until I was granted the freedom to choose my own outfits and that’s how the love for fashion came about. Botshelo on the other hand was raised by a single mother, grew up as the only child in her family. She never felt alone because she was always around her cousins and due to her talkative character, she never struggled to make friends.”
A platform to overcome obstacles
“The obstacle we have overcome is being young women in a conservative community, and fear. Fear of pushing the boundaries in terms of expressing ourselves. It was very uncomfortable walking in town with a really dope outfit and having people stare at you because it was different. It’s hard to be taken seriously when you have a different perspective to everyone else but when you stick to that perspective, people start believing in it too. So, now we aren’t afraid to push the boundaries and be different because we realised the importance of expressing ourselves as young women. We express ourselves through the clothing we sell and we use that as a platform to empower other young women to do the same.”
We do not conform
“Our brand symbolizes the courage to be yourself. In this “era of fashion urban explosion” it is very easy to get consumed by all the trends and the hype which also makes it very easy to conform to because you want to be like everybody else. The items that we sell are one of a kind, rarely replicated and that is how we encourage and express individuality.”
The voice in fashion
“Fashion is one of the platforms that really allows women to be great and to thrive. The empowerment of women in fashion is on a grand scale when we look at the fashion industry. However, when we observe places in the world where women empowerment is generally not a priority – fashion could be used as one of the ways in which these women find their voices. Thus, it actually brings massive power shift in their societies.”
Our senses connect with women
“Sixth Sense Apparel sells thrift, vintage clothing. Our clothes are also on the retro side which makes them wearable when you look at today’s trends. Styling a vintage item in a modern and trendy way is how we connect with our audience. Our styling enables them to see themselves in the clothes.”
Founders Taste in Fashion – History
Botshelo – “As typical as it may sound…”I got it from my mom”. My mother is very stylish. So stylish to a point where I started preferring her vintage clothing than my modern clothing. That’s where it all begun. From there on I started playing dress up and putting outfits together. Since then, it has never stopped.”
Tokelo – “I thank God for television! And having older sisters (whom I thought were coolest thing since ice) also influenced my love for fashion. My younger sister and I had a lot of similar clothes so when I was old enough to choose my own outfits, I just had to make sure that I stood out by putting together my own outfits that were different from hers. I was also able to draw inspiration from my older sisters and the fashion trends I saw on TV.”
“Every year we go through whatever is left over from our stock and give the clothes to women in nearby communities that really need them. A beautiful piece of clothing really goes a long way.”
Best way to describe the material we use.
Their work is obviously noticeable and they keep up with the trends in order to keep their consumers happy. This is of course something that we all need to do. But, people always need someone to guide them, like these ladies. So, just in case you see me cruising in the street of braam looking as fly as I can possibly be. Just know that my style has developed a sixth sense *winks*.
Photographs Pretti Piktures