At a time when the call for diverse representation can be heard from around the world, QwaQwa-born, Joburg-based plus-size fashion designer Melo Mosase has taken matters into her own hands with a new clothing brand Mobu by Melo. The brand recently released its new collection, titled Seilatstatsi — which in Sesotho means “mother of light and fire” — and lookbook photographed by Kgomotso Neto, in Daveyton, Ekurhuleni.
“I feature the ‘normal’ African woman as my model,” says Melo about the models in the lookbook, “as a way to capture resilience, defiance and strength”.
The location, selected my Melo, juxtaposes what was meant to be gloomy matchbox houses against the beauty of the fashion and models. “I chose Daveyton as it was the first township to have electricity in the country and I also wanted to capture and tell the story of matchbox houses, how they were meant to be structures of doom and ugliness but we managed to turn that around and make them beautiful.”
The lookbook for the collection, which features mainly African wax print garments, accented with ruffles and off-the shoulder dresses, aims to accentuate and compliment the form of the models in a way that does not fetishise or hide their physique, according to the designer. “I aim to challenge the state of South African fashion, particularly how plus-size models are [only] viewed as sexy when they are sexualised and objectified,” Melo mentions.
Melo hopes that this collection can show that plus-size clothing should be regarded as highly as fashion for “conventional” body types mainly catered for in mainstream fashion. Follow Melo.