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Designer Focus – Thabo Makhetha

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If one had to describe South African fashion designer Thabo Makhetha’s fashion label in a single word that word would be ‘INNOVATIVE’. Producing unique designs incorporating traditional Basotho Kobo detailing, the young designer is certainly making herself seen on the South African, and African, fashion scene.

Thabo Makhetha

Thabo Makhetha – Deity Losha Dress

Halter-neck dress with chiffon overlay; including short underskirt with chiffon full circle skirt and Kobo neck and waist detail.

Recent designs created under Makhetha’s eponymous label, which was founded in 2009, are characterised by the juxtaposition—yet seamless integration—of modern silhouettes with traditional African details. The incorporation of the Basotho blanket, called Kobo Ea Bohali [“Blankets of Prestige”], into ready-to-wear fashion could easily look either exceptionally kitsch or unflatteringly matronly, but Makhetha manages to make it work with high-fashion flair.

Thabo Makhetha – Autumn | Winter 2016

Showcasing at South African Fashion Week in October this year, Makhetha’s A/W 2016 collection featured structured, functional capes and jackets made from, you guessed it, Basotho blankets. The designs have a Burberry-esque feel, but with definite African overtones.

Thabo MakhethaThabo Makhetha

Thabo Makhetha

Photo Credit: SAFW

About the Designer

Thabo MakhethaThabo Makhetha

Born in Lesotho, Southern Africa, Thabo Makhetha-Kwinana completed a National Diploma in Fashion Design at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, with her eastern-inspired final year range being awarded the coveted Most Creative Range Award. In 2009, at the time of launching her fashion label, Makhetha was freshly graduated and a mere 21 years old; with her desire to create her own label inspired by the aspiration to create garments that are beautiful, sophisticated, and unequivocally African. For her efforts, Makhetha’s list of accolades includes being named as one of House & Leisure Magazine’s Top 51 Rising Stars of SA Design and as one of the Nelson Mandela Bay Chamber of Business’ Top 40 business leaders and entrepreneurs under the age of 40, as well as being titled Designer of the Year at the Impact Awards.


With a unique eye for detail and a finger on the ubiquitous pulse of fashion, Thabo Makhetha is certainly a young designer to watch.


Words by Illona Meyer