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WATCH | The designer bringing her kingdom’s heritage to global runways

What we wear carries meaning. From beaded Zulu skirts to the Basotho blanket, cultural significance is woven into the threads that clothe us.

For many people, these traditional items aren’t part of everyday dress anymore.

But through couture, designer Thabo Makhetha-Kwinana is celebrating the fabrics that form part of our identity. “Fashion can bring heritage into the future,” she says.

Born in the Kingdom of Lesotho and raised in South Africa, Makhetha-Kwinana grew up in several cities and was exposed to different cultures.

However, she realised that she had lost touch with her Sotho roots. To reconnect with her history, Makhetha-Kwinana turned to the bold and bright Basotho blanket. 

A staple of Lesotho’s culture since the 1800s, Basotho blankets are given at births, deaths, and marriage ceremonies.

Using striking design, Makhetha-Kwinana brings modern flair to the centuries-old textile.

Through her collection of capes, coats, and scarves, the vibrant fabrics take on a refreshing form.

Her garments also feature Xhosa and Indian elements, showcasing the diversity of Africa’s people.

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“When you start mixing cultures together, you start producing even more beautiful and inclusive items from it,” Makhetha-Kwinana says. 

Blending heritage with the contemporary, Makhetha-Kwinana’s ancestry is now celebrated on runways and streets across the globe.

“I’d like to see a world where our children are raised to see culture as something that can be part of the everyday – something that’s cool, something that shows off honour,” Makhetha-Kwinana says.

As a Mosotho woman first and designer second, every stitch she sews is a stylish ode to her rich legacy.