Cassper Nyovest (Photo: Supplied)
Johannesburg - Sibusiso Mahone has been propelled to the heights of notoriety thanks to the outfit he dressed rapper Cassper Nyovest (nominated for Best International Act) in for the BET Awards last week. Consisting of a striking zebra print shirt, poncho and black kufi, it screamed heritage and African pride.
Mahone, who runs clothing line Mahone The Quiet Junkie, says he first fell in love with fashion when he was just 12 years old. "I had an obsession with Fashion TV -- it was always that instead of cartoons.
It hasn't been an easy journey though. I finished high school and couldn't study fashion and was forced to study business."
He worked as a sales assistant while paying his way through fashion school.
"I opened a clothing gallery that later closed due to the expenses involved, but that pain led me to host my own independent fashion show, which later opened doors for me to showcase at AFI [African Fashion International] Cape Town Fashion Week and also a feature on Top Billing and Vogue Italia."
Thanks to a post on Twitter of his insert on Top Billing, he was able to send Nyovest a few ideas. Drawing on regal figures like Shaka Zulu, what resulted was a suave yet laid-back ensemble. The shoe game is a bit questionable, but that isn't Mahone's fault.
For this designer, the crucial element to any of his pieces is that he wants the wearer to feel comfortable and in control. “I make clothes that speak directly to your heart through the fit, design and choice of fabric. Every collection carries a message and a story about Africa and its diverse cultures.”
Even though Africa seems to be at the epicentre of cool in 2018, thanks to movie Black Panther, his clothes don’t come across as though they’ve been made simply to be a part of this wave; they have a genuine feel to them. He aims to use luxury fabrics that carry our African heritage in some way. “I don’t believe African print or shweshwe is the only way to express ourselves in fashion. In fact, the shweshwe fabric is not even owned by us.”
He’s currently working on his Spring/Summer 2019 collection as well as hosting another independent show and a couple of exhibitions. He adds, “I’m also looking forward to working with local Bains Cape Mountain Whisky on a couple of projects this summer.”