While the world looks to streetwear trailblazers in New York, Tokyo, London and Seoul to keep up with trends, it’s SA’s own urban culture tastes that are driving much of this brands identity.
Endorsed by both Brand South Africa as well as Proudly South Africa, RSADOTCOM, stylised RSA.COM, ensures integration into the local fashion scene by partnering with market-specific designers and local manufacturers who share in their ethos on labour and cotton being locally sourced. Undoubtedly a strategic monetisation model of selling exclusively on Proudly South Africa’s e-commerce website RSAMADE as well as at notable local brand stockist such as The BoxShop located in Midrand and on Vilakazi, attributing to the rise of local consumers supporting homegrown labels.
The burgeoning Mzansi-based fashion label recently took to the runway to exhibit its’ first showcase of their 2020 Winter Collection. The concept behind the show explored the nuances between representing domestic streetwear and the definition of pop culture among plugged-in, post 90’s generation. The excitement was especially high with a performance from American musician ElleB, also donning the brands’ sports LBD with white trim and detailing, and whose presence introduced an international cool factor to the event.
The street style collection features a unisex range of streetwear staples such as hoodies, T-shirts and sweats all of which incorporate modern abstract designs dominating in tones of:
- Charcoal grey
Striking geometric patterns in yellow, blue and green and utilising in the construction of bottoms, it offers a jarring contrast creating a layered depth to the series of looks. This reintroduces the creativity of the designs in the progressive garments.
Additionally, the patriotic colours complimented outfits and highlight the bold flare found in this range serving as an ode to RSA.COMs’ artistic work and visual language as models dazzled the audience.
With all that said, following the showcase of their winter 2020 apparel, I caught up with RSA.COMs’ founder Ntombezinhle Modiselle to discuss the creative movement and get insight on their range.
1. Is there a specific design from the latest collection that you’re particularly fond of?
“The tracksuit, top and bottom with the print on the sides of the garment. The design team digitally modernised a pattern inspired by the South African flag to fuse into the sides to create the aesthetic”.
2. You showed maturity in design with the launch of your winter collection. Can you go over what aspects of your design process has changed over the years?
“Initially, the first garments were to really just get the concept of the brand RSA known and now what we’re trying to do is create something unique and recognisable to brand RSA.COM. It’s been an evolution of moving away from just teeshirts to finding fresh looks making sure it’s very current, with it being our first winter range”.
3. What is your take on SA’s current street fashion market and the direction it’s heading? Would you say there’s mainstream acceptance of streetwear aesthetic?
“Absolutely! That’s why we’re so inspired. What’s even cooler is streetwear moving beyond the streets and becoming the aesthetic of what people wear and how they identify with themselves – not only in corporate settings but in daily life across the board. Resonating with all ages. As a country with such specific style and print the challenge becomes remaining true to ourselves while ensuring we keep up with the global trend”.
4. Since making your switch from corporate to fashion, is the reception of RSA.COM by local consumers what you perceived and envisioned?
“My whole career has been in marketing and build brands. With the experience and network that I had, I felt it was time to build something homegrown and a legacy for the country. We’ve had a really overwhelming response. My partners and I have worked hard to contribute into building this global brand and I’m fortunate to have the corporate discipline to create its’ credibility, even as a startup. People invest into products they’re proud of especially when they can see who and what was involved in the process of its’ making and now what’s important is to remain true and consistent on this journey”.
5. You pride yourself on being an authentically South African brand. With that being said, with opportunities all around the world, is there a specific reason why you continue your operations in South Africa?
“There’s still so much opportunity here. It’s my belief when we create sustainable concepts that contribute to the economy, we all win. To build an ecosystem here at home that supports each other because we have a large market that can grow our local economy not just in South Africa but the whole continent. The real opportunity for my partners and I was building something that brings back the credibility of what South Africa produces, even if we do something overseas it will always be to showcase what South Africa can do. We want to be and continue to be a Brand South Africa ambassador in terms of creativity, production and capability”.
6. As a brand, was it a conscious decision to offer a genderless range?
“As RSA we want people to wear out clothes to identify themselves. The clothes are made in such a way to mix-and-match and create a unique style for yourself. That’s the thing about streetwear when it comes to defining your personal style, and we hope to be apart that moment of people being authentically themselves in how they make our pieces work for them. It’s a privilege, as a brand, to be part of people using street culture to build their self-identity”.
7. What’s next for RSA DOT COM?
“Our vision is to see our leaders, public figures, sporting heroes and every South African that are really part of the culture in this country to want to identify with the RSA brand and to proudly display it here at home and when travelling overseas. We want to not only digitally revamp our brand but to become the brand to make South Africans support and want their own”.
Cementing themselves as the people’s brand, RSA proves there’s a freedom to streetwear outfits that allows for true style, authentic self-expression and patriotism.
RSA.COM will also showcase the collection at Botswana Fashion Week and Zimbabwe Fashion Week later on this year.