Originally from a town called Kuruman in the Northern Cape, Johannesburg based fashion artist and owner of No Modern Slave Clothing brand, Gift Phetogo Kgosierileng is committed to empower and inspire the youth in the Northern Cape and across the country. He uses this platform of fashion designing to represent the indigenous people of the Khoi San. At first glance, one will notice the colossal representation of African prints in his designs, the rich combination of various African cultures, and the blast of colours with a fusion of modernity. The artist’s love and appreciation for the Afrocentric perspective in his garb designs is unmistakable.
“His energy and passion for the arts is what drew me to him, his art spoke volumes about the African culture, and dealt with a lot of teachings that Africa has lost over generations. His work gives a sense of the unity of various different African cultures and their doctrines, “As an agent I had to have him by my side,” comments Sibusiso Mahlangu, Kgosi’s manager.
Kgosi has always known that he wanted to be in the fashion industry, “I have always known that I meant to be a creative. I love creating things from scratch and see them mould into something beautiful”. Inspired by his late mom who was also an artist, Kgosi emphasises that she is the driving influence in his journey as an artist, “I am also driven by the calling to advocate and stimulate pride in the African identity through clothing,” he adds.
He established his clothing brand in 2014. The trademark; No Modern Slave is a movement that carries a social consciousness element with a corporate mission of African culture preservation with specific regard to especially the Khoi San indigenous group. The brand’s name comes as a retaliation against the standards of fashion in the industry, “I was asked to commercialise my work in order for it to fit the “scope” of fashion but because my work is so personal to me and I bare my soul in it, I could not abide to this. I also saw how cities can influence one’s identity and I always feared becoming a slave to the western pop culture. This is a very common trap that a lot of designers fall into,” he adds.
Kgosi took part in the South African Project Runaway Season 1 which proved to be a great highlight and stepping stone in his career. He made it to the top 10 fashion graduates in the Western Cape and was also nominated for the Mercedes Benz Bokeh Fashion Film. The innovative designer will be showcasing his work under the theme THE SLAVES TRUTH at the Namibian National Arts Gallery in August 2019, and in Cape Town followed by Johannesburg in September 2019. The exhibition is a theatrical piece which depicts the creator’s lineage through his costumes encompassing speech and physical movements.
The artistic person has dressed well-known singer and song-writer Msaki, “I met Msaki in Gauteng, Maboneng to be exact. I had no idea that the person I was talking to was the actual singer of the hit song, “Dreams” that I really liked listening to. We then had a conversation about dressing her and I had the honour of dressing the vocalist for the 2019 South African Metro Awards (SAMA’s). I hope to use my work to adorn the purpose and spirits of other fellow artist, I think it is my duty to do so”.
“I love his bubbly personality, he is a man that lives by his own rules, and his appetite just rubs off on you,” says Mahlangu., I really foresee him exhibiting in art galleries, museums, being a costume designer for productions and ultimately being a prominent professional in both the local and international the fashion industries.
When Kgosi is not creating his African inspired garments he dances and gives motivational talks. When asked what he does for inspiration, he expressed that he likes spending time in his place of birth, especially at The WorkShop Ko Kasi in Kuruman, “I find the environment to be undiluted and I enjoy the rural, natural outlook in my ancestral village,” he remarked.