DYNAMIC AFRICANS: Teboho Mahange.
We may be going out on a limb here but we think we’re pretty sure of ourselves when we say that Tebogo Mahange is undoubtedly one of the most stylish people in South Africa, at least as far as our exposure to social media is concerned.
Tebogo first came on our radar through a previous Dynamic African we’ve featured, photographer Cedric Nzaka who’s behind some of Tebogo’s photos. Although we couldn’t quite figure out how to define his style, that’s exactly what we love about him. Beyond boxes and beyond barriers, we couldn’t help but want to know more about the mind behind the threads.
In a few words, how would you introduce and describe yourself - who is Tebogo Mahange?
Tebogo Mahange is a 21 year old Marketing Management student and an Urban Street-Wear Model. I am a creative. A visionary whose had a critical eye and my own opinion regarding aesthetics and design, particularly clothing.
You’re someone who wears many hats, literally and figuratively speaking. Describe a day in the life of Tebogo Mahange.
A day in my life would involve seizing the day ‘Carpe Diem’ - whether it be attending classes on that day, shooting, going to meetings or just hanging out with friends.
Africans often find themselves defined largely by their “African-ness”, both a positive and a negative depending on the context, you’re never just what you do. Does your South African, or perhaps even African, identity play a role in your style choices? Is it something that you remain conscious of when sourcing inspiration?
To a certain degree, yes. No matter where you go your style will always be inspired by your roots. No matter the amount of influence the Western Culture might have on us it all traces back to where I am from, who I am, and where I’m yet to go. It’s something that happens subconsciously because I am an African.
How do you think South Africa rates on a global scale when it comes to fashion? Who are some local leading fashion and style pioneers you’re aware of?
South Africa is a country that has originality and diversity in its fashion industry. While fashion brands and other retailers appear likely to expand organically, we are on the right track of growing and expanding into bigger, wider markets internationally.
When it comes to fashion pioneers, I would have to go with Dion Wang who is a South African fashion analyst and has been for 20 years and counting.
Designers, none other than David Tlale. He has played a vital role in the country’s fashion and is still continues to break barriers that African designers often face.
Bloggers, believe it or not but I hardly visit blogs unless it’s to check myself out, haha (inside joke). But from the ones I’ve checked out locally one of my favourites would be from Cedric Nzaka of Everyday People Stories. The way he captures South African street style whilst simultaneously paving a way for future movers and shakers in our local youth community is honestly amazing. I love his work! Cedric is also one of my favourite photographers to work with.
As for brands, we have quite a few that are still on the rise and other that have a good standing position in the game, but we are still growing in this highly Westernized fashion industry.
How important is personal style to you? How much does your look define who you are?
Personal style is very important to me. Although they say ‘imitation is a form of flattery’ I strongly advise people out there to always find their own personal style so that you don’t go around looking like a duplicate of someone else. Whether it be someone you look up or just taking what you see on social forums like Tumblr. Be different.
My look defines everything about me. It’s who I am. It’s how I actually started modeling for street-wear brands in the first place. It was my personal style/look that attracted the public to me and here I am now using my personal style as a tool to inspire and create for the youth.
You have some pretty visible tattoos, can you tell us a bit more about them? How are they usually received by people?
Man, my love for tattoos started at a very young age although I started filling myself up with them last year. Basically, the pieces I’ve got up until now are creations my tattoo artists and I come up with together. I could have easily searched the net and copied and pasted someone else’s work onto my body but that wouldn’t differentiate me from the masses.
The way my tattoos have been perceived can easily be broken down to how the younger generation and the older generation see it. The youth sees them as cool, new, hip, different. The older generation, our mothers, uncles, elders in malls see the artwork totally differently because of the stereotypes that come with it. There’s always the good and bad side of everything.
Are there any current or future projects you’re working on? Can you share some info about them with us?
At the moment, our team of creatives and I are currently working on a new personal project called RepublicCouture. It will be launched towards the end of this year and it’s something I’m really excited about! It’s been over a year in the making. I’m just glad we are almost at the end of the road before dropping our first line of products.
Lastly, what are five things you can’t leave the house without?
1. My iPhone (that’s like my life companion, haha).
2. Clean pair of sneakers, mostly my Vans (I hate dirty shoes)
3. My shades
4. Earphones. (I enjoy listening to music no matter where I’m going)
5. Any of my oversized garments.
Thanks so much Tebogo!
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