Working on the brand starts the day you realize you have a passion. That is when you know what you want and you have an idea of the direction in which it should take.”
Khothatso Laurence Tsotetsi’s passion is marked on the sew lines of each of his garments.
Bold in its elements, yet sensual in its structure a TSOTETSI KL garment is a manifestation of both grace and playfulness made for the body.
Once the sensation of a certain fabric piece is understood, a common thread for inspiration is found and that dynamic is communicated onto the final garment. The Spring Summer 2015/16 collection is an array of vibrant, rich colours of teal blue, canary yellow, bronze and lavender. Some garments are rendered in solid colours and silhouettes, whereas some are dotted in patterns and shapes moving in various directions.
“When working with fabric, I am mainly interested in how it responds; I then begin to explore what silhouettes can be created out of that fabric in relation to the human figure. [...] This then makes it easy for me to start coming up with sketches that relate to my emotion for that particular collection,” says Khothatso.
“To me, this is the whole creative facet of being a designer.”
For the woman who is drawn in by cheek and romance, through her personality and taste in sophisticated fashion, the TSOTETSI KL clothing line is one that confidently portrays stature, transparency and colour.
With a passion that primarily began with his family’s constant fascination with clothing, Khothatso would admire the way his loved ones would continuously switch up their look. From then on, there was always a focus on his interests in exploring fabrics and clothes. “This continued until I bought my own domestic sewing machine to even further my quest,” says Khothatso.
“When working with fabric, I am mainly interested in how it responds; I then begin to explore what silhouettes can be created out of that fabric in relation to the human figure.”
Once he understands the reaction and relation of the fabric, he ventures into finding a common thread for his inspiration, making sure that any dynamic inspired by the fabric is communicated through to the final dress piece.
“This then makes it easy for me to start coming up with sketches that relate to my emotion for that particular collection,” says Khothatso, “To me, this is the whole creative facet of being a designer.”
So far TSOTETSI KL has been warmly welcomed in the fashion industry and the consumer, especially by women with chic distinctive sophistication. Through her personality and taste in the aesthetic of fashion, the TSOTETSI KL woman is one who confidently portrays stature, transparency and colour.
But the brand has only been on the fashion week platform since its establishment through tough measures.
“The planning stages and the organizational part of the business officially took three years. I took all there was to my findings to perfect my ways of working and maintained a work in progress craft that got to its distinctiveness. I had no direction yet but had my mind filled with many ideas, which narrowed to one for a sense of direction,” says Khothatso, who also points out some of the learning curves he had to experience as a beginner in the industry.
“I fell into the trap of dressing individuals for free all in the name of publicity and to get my name out in the industry for recognition. I was not aware that it will not work in my favour when establishing a brand. Since then I have learned that giving free clothes to people do not pay any bills, help grow a business or help you build the name of your brand.”
Khothatso stresses that experience is what plays a major role in how a brand is received by the industry; if you don’t have the experience, you don’t have the job, highlighting that every part of starting and establishing a brand is a big challenge. In this industry – in any major industry, for that matter – there will always be a few obstacles that you might not always anticipate, but the strife toward your passion is a rewarding process.
“Currently in time, it’s the smile on the clients' face that inspires me to continue what I do. There was always a focus on my interests in exploring fabrics and clothes. Our consumers favour the emotion [that is reflected when purchasing a garment] and its relation to whichever piece they own from our brand. Through hard work, dedication, proper structure and a working business model, as long as you have a passion for what you do, you will make sure that it succeeds.”
Model @Retha Lethoko of ICE Models JHB
Written by Ibilola Odunlami
Images by Elijah Semosa of @72_photography