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Basotho blanket meets Krugerrand in fashion first

02 August 2017 - 13:53 By Suthentira Govender
Designer Thabo Makhetha's Basotho Blanket “Legacy Cape” celebrates 50 years of the Krugerrand's existence.
Designer Thabo Makhetha's Basotho Blanket “Legacy Cape” celebrates 50 years of the Krugerrand's existence.
Image: Supplied

What do a Krugerrand and a Basotho blanket have in common?

Not very much until Thabo Makhetha‚ designer of the famous “blanket coat”‚ was commissioned by the South African Mint to create a “Legacy Cape” to mark 50 years of the coin’s existence.

Makhetha‚ best known for her pret-a-porter range of winter capes made from traditional Basotho blankets‚ will exhibit her creation at the 100% Design South Africa show next week in Johannesburg.

“The brief given was to focus on the ideology behind the coin. The words that were emphasised included value‚ national asset‚ unique‚ resilience‚ tradeable‚ timeless and collectable‚” said Makhetha.

“These are words that are synonymous with the Krugerrand coin. I was asked to work the colours of black and gold into the aesthetic of the design.”

She also incorporated semi-precious stones into the cape‚ made from a Basotho blanket‚ to show that the Krugerrand is “an item of value and is tradeable”.

In 2012 while attending the Durban July‚ Makhetha was crowned Best Dressed Female. Her Basotho blanket coat‚ designed in keeping with the race's royalty theme‚ caught the attention of socialites‚ celebrities and fashion editors.

Spurred by media interest in the “blanket coat”‚ she showcased a collection titled Kobo Ea Bohali - Blankets of Prestige - at the 2013 Design Indaba Expo in Cape Town and was soon hailed as one of the emerging creatives to look out for.

Since then Makhetha’s designs have found favour in countries like Lesotho‚ Botswana‚ Namibia‚ the USA‚ Germany‚ UK and Sweden.

Makhetha‚ however‚ is not entirely impressed by French fashion house and luxury retailer Louis Vuitton’s latest menswear Basotho blanket-inspired collection‚ with price tags around R33‚000.

“I think it would have been great if LV had collaborated with Basotho designers‚ crafters and manufacturers. I also would have loved to have seen the consumers of these shirts in South Africa spend that kind of money on locally produced goods and support and grow authentic African products rather than consuming a repackaged Africa.”

Makhetha’s goal is not for her capes to be fashion statements‚ but rather timeless products “that will be around for years and decades to come.” - TimesLIVE