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Young South Africa: Maitele Wawe | Rebels With a Fashionable Cause



The Fashion Rebels are a post-street style Pretoria-based fashion crew united by a shared love for OTT customised thrift wear. The crew was founded by Maitele Wawe and Thifhelimbilu Mudau, with Sizophila Dlezi joining shortly after to complete the trio. Sick of having to travel to Joburg to be part of the scene, the Fashion Rebels decided to bring the scene to them, by starting The Social Market off the back of their self-styled image. On the first Sunday of the month fashionistas flock from near and far to preen, be seen and flaunt their style at what’s quickly become Pretoria’s most fashionable social event.


Rather than looking to brands and labels for street cred, Maitele and his crew favour originality and innovation when it comes to style aesthetics. As part of our Young South Africa series this year we caught up with Maitele to chat about street style and trends, and learn more about how young creatives are using fashion to shape new identities.



Who are the Fashion Rebels, what brought you together, and what are you all about?


Fashion Rebels was founded in 2012 by myself and my friend and partner Thifhelimbilu Mudau, we were later joined by Sizophila Dlezi, making us a trio of fashion forward individuals who share the same vision and eye for fashion. What brought us together is our love for style and uniqueness and wanting to embrace the aspect of being different among other creatives.


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What prompted you to start The Social Market and where do you hope to see it go?


There has always been a gap between Johannesburg and Pretoria in terms of the creative industries and more than anything we always had to travel in order to be part of the creative sessions and gigs. So we decided that with our influence and creativity we can start a pilot project and see how it would be received, and since then we’ve had 8 successful markets already.



What’s so important about fashion?


What’s so important about fashion is your style as an individual and how it makes you different from 10 billion other people…



Do you see yourself as an entrepreneur, a creative, or a hybrid of the two? How do you make a living and what skills do you use in order to do so?


I’m definitely both hahaha and also people are not aware that I’m a final year logistics student at the Tswane University of Technology.


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Do you think that young peoples’ attitudes towards work and what they do for a living has changed? How so and why?


It has definitely changed because more than anything young people are not conforming to the typical trend of being a doctor or an accountant anymore because of creative arts. I just mentioned that I’m a logistics student but I don’t plan on going to the office after I’m done with my papers, I’m all about the streets.



What influences and inspires your style? How does it reflect current South African youth and street culture trends?


What influences and inspires my style is definitely the future or street style. Street fashion in South Africa unfortunately doesn’t reflect much of the current South African fashion and street culture trends because people still want to see someone do something so that they can copy or duplicate. So before we start creating and stop just duplicating we still have a long way to go.


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What would you say characterises ‘Young South Africa’ now?





How does South African youth culture and style reflect or differ from what’s going on internationally?


More and more South Africans are duplicating and not creating and that’s what differs from what’s happening internationally. #ButThatsJustMyOpinion



Which young South Africans are on your radar and why?


My team and that’s because we share the same vision and drive, something I haven’t seen in SA.



Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?


I have a lot of collaborations and foreign work I still need to do but in 10 years’ time I’ll be on my way back to South Africa and I’ll leave it right there.


Follow Maitele and the Fashion Rebels on Instagram @maitele_wawe and

Keep updated on The Social Market events via the Facebook page.


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See more Young South Africa! 


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