"Dream Big and Go Big" - Thapelo Letsebe

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“You.. go to your closet, and you select out, I don’t know, that lumpy sweater, for instance……….
            …….what you don’t know is that sweater is not just blue; it’s not turquoise; it’s not lapis; It’s actually cerulean…..
            However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs, and it’s sort of comical how you think you’ve made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when in fact you’re wearing a sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room from a pile of StuffMiranda Priestly
Fashion is around us, we can’t deny the fact that we live and breathe fashion. Botswana’s fashion industry is on the upswing and being recognised across borders as well as internationally. Fashion Gurus are working tirelessly to grow and sell fashion from Botswana. Today on The Sopranist Blog we have Thapelo Letsebe, one of many Fashion Gurus in Botswana. Let’s get to know more about this Fashionista..

Photo Credit: Uyapo Ketogetswe
Who is Thapelo Letsebe?
I’m a very colourful 23 year old guy, who is ambitious, very autonomous, hardworking and willing to work for everything that I want. I believe that if you want something you got to go for it, that’s my mantra. I’m a stern believer of one taking responsibility of their life and doing everything in their power to make their dreams come true.

Define your sense of style and where you get your inspiration.
I wouldn’t say I really have a particular sense of style, I’m the kind of person that rocks almost everything.  My mood and feelings are reflected on my dressing. If I’m feeling sad I’d wear a black ensemble with
huge shades and maybe a hat. I might one day wake up and feel like dressing up in street style, the next day I’d want to be preppy, the following day I’d want to rock prints on prints and so on. I really get my inspiration from my surroundings, being it buildings, architectural designs, I’d visit cities like Jo’burg and see people dressed up in the weirdest way, I’d go to high end restaurants and see men in Tux and I fall in love then I’d come back and infuse that into my wardrobe.

Where do you get your clothes, what kind of shops do you buy from?
It’s very unfortunate that in Botswana we are very limited in terms of stores that we could buy clothes from as compared to other countries where there is a wider variety. So here in Botswana I would get my clothes from shops like Mr Price, CB stores, Markhams, Options and I’d also go thrifting. I’m not actually picky of where I buy.
I also LOVE tailor making clothes. I have a tailor and that guy Hooks me UP, he does my jeans, suits and anything I want. I also go to South Africa once in a while to do some shopping.

I understand you are blogger too, what is your blog about?
YES I am a blogger, I have a TUMBLR and a Blogspot, my primary goal with my blogs is to show fashion and inspire people to dress good more especially in the local scene. I’m trying so hard to feature people in Gaborone but there is not really much content in the city that’s why sometimes I feature people from across the borders.
My blogs are ALL about FASHION.

Yarn Hipster, please do share…
Photo Credit: Lorraine Binie Kinnear
Yarn Hipster is my pride and joy. A lot of people always ask me what Yarn Hipster means, Yarn is like the basic unit of fabric, you use yarn to make fabric and Hipster is basically someone who’s fashion forward, stylish and follows fashion trends. I believe that I have infused two of the most important things to me i.e fabrics and always looking good.
I started off Yarn Hipster as a T shirt brand and now I am expanding it to a full on ready to wear collection, don’t get it wrong though, I’m not a fashion designer I am a stylist who just happens to have a fashion line. I felt like there are things that are lacking in the fashion market locally, so I thought I could be amongst those people trying to fill in the gap.

What do you do as a stylist?
Let me put it this way, you know when building a house or an establishment, there is an architect, he comes up with the plan and then the real estate agent, that’s the person who is going to glamorous the house then tries to sell it to the people, that is basically me. What I do is, if a designer has pieces I’d take those pieces, style them and show them to my clients, if they like them they’d dress up in those pieces to attend events or any function of their choice. Basically I put together outfits for my clients to attend events and some on their daily lives.

Who have you worked with and styled?
First and foremost, I started off styling shoots and of course I wasn’t getting paid, we got to start somewhere ey…!! I then branched out and took my work serious. I currently dress SasaKlas, I have dressed Carlos and ZiziPanther from Yarona Fm just to mention a few.
I also collaborate mostly with photographers because I love what they do, it’s unfortunate that I’m incapable of taking pictures. I have worked with Lorraine Kinnear, known as Binie Girl, I have also worked with Cody, a big shout out to him, not so long ago he was featured in South Africa’s Elle Magazine. That means we are completely doing some things right as Batswana in the fashion industry.

Photo Credit: Lorraine Binie Kinnear
Anyone you are currently working with now as a stylist?
I’m currently working with SasaKlas, Big things are happening in her life and it's ideal for me to work with her and I’m very much honoured.
I’m also currently in talks with a couple of ladies who are in the forefront of the entertainment industry locally, I would really love to style them. I am also in talks with potential clients in South Africa which would be exciting to work with them too. I can’t reveal much now but I’ll keep you posted.

Your biggest/proudest moment in your career to-date.
It’d definitely have to be the day I had a full on spread on Gazzette Newspaper showing where I was at that time and where I’m headed, that was a highlight of my career. My other moment also was when I saw my Yarn Hipster logo for the first time, it made it more real for me and it finally registered, it said to me, "Thapelo, you are doing something and you are doing something right."

Do you consider yourself a trendsetter?
I wouldn’t particularly say I am a trendsetter, I’m the kinda person who dresses up to look good. I don’t know if people follow what I wear but if they do, believe me, I’m very much flattered and humbled and it goes to show that I’m doing something right.

What’s your favourite fashion item at the moment?
A biker jacket, this is a NEED in ones’ fashion closet, it is classy, it is timeless it will forever be trendy, you can dress it up you can dress it down, it’ll forever be here.


How is the fashion industry in Botswana?
The fashion industry here in Botswana is very small, what I love about it being small is that the likes of US get a chance to grow with it. People are only finding out now that there is a fashion industry in Botswana and that there are people who can deliver at international standards. Batswana haven’t really gotten to that peak where they fully understand and appreciate fashion, but we are definitely getting there.

Any regrets to date?
I don’t live on regrets, I don’t regret anything at all.

What can you say about social media and your career?
Social media is the bases of my work, it is a VERY important tool because every time after a shoot I’d share my pictures, when I want models, collaborators, photographers anything that’s in line with my work I’d communicate with the masses through it, the response that I always get it’s overwhelming.
Some people misuse social media though, to the extent of it destroying their career, if you know what you want and the brand you want, social media works, trust me it WORKS.
 
What does the future hold for you and Yarn Hipster?
I’m very much Optimistic about the future, a lot of offers are coming through, people want to work with me and collaborate too. That is amazing and humbling. I see me and Yarn Hipster bigger and better in the future.

What keeps you going every day?
My passion keeps me going, it enables me to want to work so hard even if my knuckles bleed. I want to make it, I want to see myself at the top, I want to walk in a room and not have to introduce myself to anyone. I thoroughly want to make it. My ultimate goal as well is to make my mom proud.

Anything you want to share with you readers?
All I can say right now is people should follow their dreams, people should set their standards really high and work very hard to realise their dreams. Be as presumptuous as possible. Never listen to people who want to shrink your dreams, Dream Big and Go Big

Photo Credit: Lorraine Binie Kinnear
Connect with Thapelo Letsebe: 

Facebook page : Pap & Fashion With Thapelo
Facebook Profile: Thapelo Letsebe

Twitter: Thapelo Letsebe

Instagram: Thapelo Letsebe

Tumblr: Yarn Hipster

Blogspot: YARN Hipster

For Bookings 
      Email: thapelo_letsebe@yahoo.com
      

Signing Out
Mr_Orsen 

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