Sapelle is rolling out its Autumn Winter 2016 range with unique, timeless pieces that epitomise the brand’s commitment to fuse African heritage and design with a contemporary global chic aaesthetic. One of the first pieces to be featured is a collaborative piece between Sapelle and South African designer, Thabo Makhetha – the Basotho Blanket Poncho in 100% wool.
The blankets originate from the small “Mountain Kingdom” of Lesotho, which is nestled in the Maloti Mountains, and is one of the few southern African countries that experience very cold winters.
The tribal blankets have a deep cultural significance and history and a er very much a part of the cultural identity of the Basotho people, who wear it as part of their everyday life.
What makes the Basotho blankets unique is the layout of the design, the various symbols used, the bold colour combinations and the characteristic pin-stripe. This stripe was originally a weaving fault which has become a unique part of the design and dictates how the blanket is worn. When worn in the traditional manner, the pin-stripe runs vertically, symbolising growth.
The corncob is the most widely used motif throughout the range of the Basotho heritage blankets. In Basotho culture maize is the staple food and therefore the corncob is a symbol of fertility and wealth. The more prestigious Seanamarena design features more corncobs than the everyday wearing blankets, the Sefate and Morena.
Thabo is a South African fashion designer of Sotho descent, and she’s best known for her pret-a-porter range of winter capes inspired and made from traditional Basotho blankets. Sapelle’s in-house designer created the contemporary silhouette of the poncho, and Thabo was therefore the perfect partner to produce this range in collaboration with us.
Spurred by the 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. Thabo Makhetha features regularly in leading fashion magazines such as ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, Women and Home (SA). Internationally her work has been covered in the New York Post (USA), Wall Street Journal (USA) and numerous fashion blogs.
Sapelle’s CEO Daphne Kasambala said, “We’re very excited to have collaborated with Thabo on this product. Sapelle is all about showcasing the best of African heritage and design, therefore bringing a product that marries both the historic Sotho textile with the fresh design talent that is Thabo Makhetha is a double achievement for us. We think the cape is fabulous for the cold weather. It’s made of very high quality wool, and its unique design is stunning and yet it looks great on any urban street, from Johannesburg to London.”
Photo Credit: Aranda