Photography: Lebogang Tlhako
Forget everyone trying to get acquainted with camouflage as the current fashion trend and make yourself familiar, if not already aware of, Jozi’s Mafia styled trio Kabelo Kungwane, Siyabonga ScoobieW Mashele and Wanda Lephoto.
This dandy trio is known to easily catch the eye of the any clued-up fashionista. I would often visit local blogs where 80% of the time, I was guaranteed to find images taken of this stylish gentlemen. My first encounter was with Kabelo at an event where we were formally introduced. In following events, I was introduced to the rest of the boys, often dressed in fitted suits resembling an almost Italian gentleman aesthetic. We caught up with one of the guys, Wanda, and this is how the conversation flowed:
So how did you guys come together? Kabelo and I went to the same school and we always liked each other’s styles but never really acknowledged each other until we all (including Siya) started rolling in the same social circle. We started communicating a lot and decided to document our unique style and inspirations.
And how would you describe your style? Well, we’ve been able to document what we feel is lacking among the youth of South Africa and street culture, which is formal menswear. The style I speak of stems from many inspirations from Italy, Britain and America, mostly related to particular historical events like the civil rights movement. To be precise its a classic formal style which is then extended according to our personalities.
You speak of your style as having been inspired by political events and greats, do you think that fashion remains political? Not entirely but mostly yes. Some, if not most fashion subcultures used fashion as a form of revolt and saying something that was against another. Style is how I get to say what I want to without necessarily opening my mouth. In most parts, it either speaks of my background, how I don’t care about people’s perceptions, my financial status and views on society. Whether we like it or not, fashion will always be political.
Who are some of your favourite SA designers? Tzvi Karp
How do you perceive the future of the SA fashion industry? I think SA is experiencing, especially Jozi street culture, what happened in America from the 70’s to the 80’s- that sense of expression where people have a voice and they’re free to redefine the times. The future of fashion in this country definitely looks bright.
What can we expect from you on the fashion front? Kabelo and I have started making ties which go by the name, “K&W”, but they won’t be released anytime soon.