Tshepo Mohlala is a 24-year-old artist, a creator of things, a visionary, a dreamer, a self-driven and motivated young man.
Could you unpack who you are?
Born in Lydenburg, Mpumalanga, I was raised by my single mother and grandparents. I matriculated in 2009 at Brakpan High School, and [with] a love to create, found myself in a film school at AFDA. During the course of the year, I discovered my burning desire for fashion and clothing.
I then dropped out to study fashion design at UJ and, due to financial struggles I had to drop out again. It was in 2012 that my journey to becoming more than what I dreamt of began.
Could you tell us more about TSHEPO The Jean Maker as a brand? What’s the inspiration behind it?
TSHEPO The Jean Maker is a premium lifestyle brand offering a wide range of denim and cotton products. The core of the brand is firmly rooted in the ready-to-wear denim segment for men. It is my desire to create a true African premium ready-to-wear clothing brand, inspired the creation of TSHEPO The Jean Maker. TJM creates beautiful clothes for many people, aiming to inspire and reclaim the pride of many African legends.
When and where was the brand established?
TSHEPO The Jean Maker was my Instagram handle, which later became a brand (established February 2015 and officially launched 27 November 2015).
What is the response from audiences thus far?
The brand name is provocative; it forces people to have an opinion (real art inspires conversation). The response is great and growing daily – it can only get better.
Where can people get your jeans and for how much?
I’m currently selling online through the use of social media. I’m also in talks with relevant distributors for my brand. In stock, is the presidential slim fit for R650, which includes free delivery nationwide. I’m also launching a commuter range from R699 -R899 a pair and T-shirts are also available from R250.
Have you worked on other fashion brands?
I was a co-founder of a streetwear denim brand for two years, then resigned from my position to focus on TSHEPO The Jean Maker.
You’re booming on social media. What other marketing strategies do you use to get your brand out there?
Currently we have a digital advert at Randburg and Bara Taxi Rank. We also use mass media platforms to get our message across to as many people as possible.
Where to from here? Are you looking into other ventures besides jeans?
Yes, I’m planning on opening a flagship store and launching our ladies jeans.
What sets your denim brand apart from the others?
Our jeans are made to suit our target market. We focus on three elements – design, cut and detail.
What are your Five Favourite Hangout Spots in Joburg?
What advice do you have for the youth out there?
Find your purpose in life. Your network is your network, so surround yourself with people who are as hungry as you are and most importantly, don’t be scared to fail.
By Neo Sesinye
Keep up with the latest fashion by TSHEPO The Jean Maker by following him on Instagram.