Fashion line dances to its own tune
Designers often have interesting anecdotes of where they first got the inspiration to be in the fashion industry, but very rarely do we meet a professional dancer whose love for dance inspired him to design clothing.
Yet, that is the true story of 30-year-old Keaoleboga Shadrack Seodigeng from Mohlakeng on the West Rand, who, after spending years as a theatre dancer, got inspiration for a fashion line that combined the "one-of-a-kindness" that one finds in theatre costumes with the comfort of streetwear.
In 2015, Seodigeng started the Merry K brand, named after his late mother, which he describes as high fashion streetwear and says that his worldly travels as a dancer and being exposed to a plethora of different styles, cultures and fabrics were the main inspiration for his clothing line.
"Being a theatre performer, I quickly learnt the importance of the message we send out with clothes.
"With the right costume, one can communicate a message without uttering a word.
"Being a dancer, I also learnt the importance of a good fit and that it is important that clothes continue to tell a story about you even while in motion," he says.
Seodigeng's range bursts with colours and bold prints and he says this is something that he does consciously, as he is a big fan of African prints.
The line consists of colourful pants, sweatshirts and jackets, all made from a combination of materials some may find peculiar, like the infusion of lace onto a waterproof jacket.
"For me, playing with prints is like painting on a canvas. You can allow your imagination to take you anywhere, and I have found a way of using the beautiful prints we have in such a way that gives the outfit freshness and individuality.
"My main focus while designing my line is always on the creation of something that represents me as African and always making it relevant to the space and time.
"I source my fabrics from all over the country and, in some cases, I even have them imported.
"I tend not to always follow the rules but instead find an interesting way of using different fabrics, textures and colours to tell a story."
The self-taught designer acknowledges that although his range is not typical commercial clothes, he encourages people to push themselves and break the boundaries of what is considered streetwear.
"My target consumer is bold and unafraid to take risks. I know that a lot of people may be apprehensive to experiment with high fashion, but there is something liberating about wearing a garment that a lot of people do not have, or are fascinated by the artistry that went into making it.
"So, I would say that my target market consists of people who are curious about fashion and not afraid to break the boundaries a bit.
"Also, dancers would love my clothing line as it is in line with what they do already, which is telling stories."
Some of the stage plays Seodigeng has created stage costumes for and that subsequently inspired his designs include Joy of Sharing,In My End Is My Beginning and In Her Shoes.
The Merry K price point is fairly reasonable, with clothing items ranging between R180 for hats, caps and accessories and anywhere between R500 and R800 for his edgy jackets and pants.
He is available on all social media platforms for orders.