In launching S1981, a capsule fashion line has been created to honour the newspaper's 40th anniversary by collaborating with some of South Africa’s top designers. These include David Tlale, Ole Ledimo of House of Ole, Fundudzi’s Craig Jacobs and Chloe Andrea Welgemoed and Lekau Sehoana of Drip.
The designers were all asked to design and create two distinct looks – one couture and high-fashion, while the other is ready-to-wear and street-wear. Both looks are keeping with the global demand for affordable luxe. The looks will be presented at a fashion show, which will be organised by Arena Holdings and The Sowetan
next year. The public will get to see these garments for the first time in the December edition of the SMag
Nwabisa Makunga, the editor of The Sowetan
, says each designer was given an iconic Sowetan
front page from the past 40 years and requested to interpret into fashion pieces. “We are so excited with what they have come up with. This project is in line with what we have been working on for the past two years – transitioning the Sowetan from just being a newspaper to a multi-faceted content platform. For the past 40 years we have played and taken our role of being a newspaper that fights alongside the vulnerable, the weak and the exploited seriously. The Sowetan is known for holding and making sure that the powerful and those in authority are accountable. We are very proud of this,” says Makunga.
Celebrating Black excellence
“But there is another role that we are slowly carving out for ourselves – that of becoming a platform that celebrates excellence – particularly Black excellence. We also want the Sowetan to become a platform that is desirable to content creators to come to for co-creation and for distribution for that content. That is why we are so excited that these top designers accepted our challenge and saw us as a platform that they can co-create with and a brand that they can be associated with.”
S1981 is the second major collaboration project by The Sowetan
this year. It is a play on the year that The Sowetan
was established (1981) as a newspaper to support the struggle for the liberation of this country. Earlier this year and in honour of this, the newspaper collaborated with streaming Netflix in a “first of its kind” project that saw the two media giants working with South African actors, filmmakers and photographers to identify 40 iconic images of the past 40 years. These were re-created using Netflix actors and republished in the Sowetan. Netflix then turned all that into a four-part 15-minute documentary series.
David Tlale says he got involved in the project because the newspaper has played a huge part in building his own brand. “This is an iconic moment because being part of an iconic newspaper that has played part in the making of the brand David Tlale is major for me… We are bringing high fashion and ready-to-wear together. It comes at a time where the pandemic has changed the language of fashion today,” says Tlale.