A New Perspective On The Basotho Fabric

Being the first fashion movement of its kind to stem of out of Lesotho, thefabricera’s quartet aims to use fashion as a pneumatic tool in chiseling a fresher and more accurate narrative of their home on the global landscape.
When  google searching general information about the mountain kingdom the results will probably include, how it is fully encircled by South Africa, that out of a 2.2Million population 49.2% are males with females standing at a warping 50.8%, but never anything on their gradually growing pop culture or the emerging artistes that carry authentic Sesotho signatures.
Some narratives go as far as stating that “the mountainous fortress is made famous by its beautiful mountains that tower over the fertile grazing lands of cattle, sheep, goats, as well as their (Basotho) main mode of transport horses and donkeys.
This is unfortunate because it is a mixture of half truths and misunderstandings that birth absurd misconceptions. It goes without saying that there’s more to Lesotho, like the fact that they supply South Africa with well over 8.9 billion cubic meters of water that sustain 6 of out of the 9 provinces , or that they’re in the world’s top 5 diamond producers.
Mpho Manare, Natan Makhalanyane, Thoko Phooko and Sobukwe Thulasizwe Mapefane are the four members of thefabricera, a fashion and creatives’ blog who’s objective is to tell authentic stories from Lesotho through various art mediums whilst building cultural bridges and affecting positive social changes by utilizing their love for fashion.
Blacknation sat down with the fashion enthusiasts to get insight on the blog, them as a collective and what fashion means to each of them.
“ To me fashion is everything that covers one’s skin, from scars, tattoos, beads , animal skins, to cloths and finally clothes. I believe it is an extension of my character, thought space, ideologies and a strong expression of the inner workings of my being.
I also love how I can use fabric as a teleportation mechanism and mode of transportation to travel into both the past and the future whilst  functioning in the present. Another important factor is that like food, music and art it grants me the opportunity  to experience other people’s cultures without necessarily traveling to those places  physically”. Sobukwe Mapefane stated
He went on to say that changing the “ blankets and horses ”  perception the world carries of Lesotho is key and it’s important  for all Basotho artistes to participate in crafting a new story the world can share and recycle.
Using thrift shopping as one of their ways of acquiring affordable  high quality clothing, they also collaborate with designers from Lesotho by not only wearing their clothes, but also by participating in the creative processes of some of the collections. Amongst their fashion philosophies is that “it’s not about  the clothes , but rather about the energy that one hones as a result of firstly being comfortable with self”, which is something they  think  is key for anyone  looking to step Into the fashion space
“To me fashion is strongly connected to being really comfortable in my own skin first and building a strong internal base, which fabric then serves as an outlet for expressing. Then again looking at my environment I’ve seen that Basotho are very conservative, to the point where people dress very similarly simply on the basis that they are afraid of how people will receive their out of the box approach to fashion and that’s why for me it also about showing that it’s okay to be different” .Mpho Manare on his part.
Natan Makhalanyane also coming with his own approach to fabric sees fashion as a universal language that is spoken by different people from various parts of the world.
“To me someone’s fashion sense or style speaks volumes on their cultural  and sub cultural background, the kind of environment they grew up in, their creative approach to life and the simple fact that each individual has a story to tell. With that being said, I aim to use my love for clothes as a plug that connects me with people around and their cultures. Natan Makhalanyane added.
“To me fashion is a platform I use to project and embrace my uniqueness, it gives me a voice to tell the world what I want it to hear about myself  and reject all the suggestions it imposes on me about who I could possibly be in order to fit in find acceptance in it. I’m aware that I carry a unique texture of energy the world would love to experience and I find fashion to be an appropriate medium to use in sharing that”,
“I also feel thefabricera has more than anything paved a way for me tread on boldly, with confidence and comfort in my being different. In the context of Lesotho my wish is that we become an influential movement that not only educates people on fabric, but who’s philosophy on fashion sort of empowers people to loose societal filters and choose to live in their full capacity.” Thokoa Phooko said in closing.
Some of the major projects they have in the pipelines, are fashion instillations/ exhibitions, collaborations with artistes that come from different art discliplines, exhibitions of fashion concept shoots, fashion films, giving away clothes to orphanages and  documentaries that touch on cultural similarities just to mention a few.
Instagram handles:
The Fashion Creatives Blog: @thefabricera
Natan Makhalanyane – @boomshakuurr
Mpho Manare – @mpho_manare
Thoko Phooko- @tp_kool