STRATO-

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Maloti Mothobi is  the founder of  Strato, a South African unisex sportswear brand.  While she graduated in 2004 at CPUT where she studied Fashion Design, she does not want to be called a designer – “People will put you in all sorts of boxes and they will perceive you in a certain way”.  She took her […]

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Maloti Mothobi is  the founder of  Strato, a South African unisex sportswear brand.  While she graduated in 2004 at CPUT where she studied Fashion Design, she does not want to be called a designer – “People will put you in all sorts of boxes and they will perceive you in a certain way”.  She took her passion  further and turned it into a profitable  career. One she did not plan for, it just happened. 

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She  started the brand in 2006 while she was working at The Foschini Group (TFG) where she was employed for two years. There, everything was mass-produced , and she noticed  a gap in the local street wear market. She then decided to create her own label , which initially focused on women’s wear  and eventually evolved to include menswear.

Strato is relaunching this year as a  men’s wear brand. They will no longer be a unisex brand (breaking news) . Mothobi feels the ladies wear is so saturated in the market and men’s wear is quite a niche. She needs to fill the gap. She also moved as a brand as it’s being a distinct sport wear brand into more casual holistic  lifestyle brand.  Within the product range customers will get a bit of sport wear, semi-formal casual  as well to create a store were you can find everything for the Strato man.

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There will be an online store that will be launched in a couple of weeks, “ it feels like we are opening a brand new store”. She feels that the South Africa consumers is warming up to buying online so she think it is such and interesting economic  space to tap into.  Stato’s distinct  signature is the colours  they use, “it is every colourful brand” said Mothobi. That simply translate the consumer or the person  who is wearing it, a person who is vibrant, unique, trendsetter that know what they want .

She said being a young black female   in the business world is  challenging. Mothobi said you just have to push bigger boundaries and  trust yourself, and as much it is a challenge to her is a test how committed she is to the industry . “ It is not about making the money it is about changing the industry” said Mothobi.  She is creating a brand that will live long after she is gone. 

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She always wanted to have a outlet because she wanted to create a very distinct brand and she always felt  her brand have to be seen.  The reason why she opened her own store is the fact that she did not want any limitations when it comes to her brand, and how it will be merchandised.  The background she has on retail made things easier because she knows the dynamics of the industry. 

Images: Ashleigh Swartz

Twitter: @Strato _Africa

Facebook: Strato Concept Store