Kefilwe Mabote is known as one of South Africa’s most notable fashion and lifestyle influencers, and has been able to adapt and evolve her fashion choices to fit any situation, including the lockdown.
Kefilwe Mabote’s fashion-forward style incorporates monochromatic tones and an occasional hint of colour. Her looks have inspired many of her social media followers to stay fashionable during the lockdown period, as she has showcased that it is achievable.
In an interview with JustNje today, 18 September 2020, the influencer discussed how she adapted her style to the quarantine, and how she plans on enhancing her wardrobe as summer approaches.
1. You are one of the people who have not let the lockdown affect your fashion sense – how important was it for you to stay ‘put together’ throughout it all?
You know what, the first 21 days of lockdown were hectic hey! A girl couldn’t even move to go to the grocery store because we didn’t have an understanding of what COVID-19 meant, especially for our fashion. Naturally, my clothes were very lonely in their cupboards and closets, and I decided to spruce things up a bit.
I remember hosting a lockdown challenge on Instagram with one of the many brands I work with, and my core challenge was how to look fashionably chic and comfortable at home. Now, this was different for me because my styling always entails a gorgeous pair of heels. I had to adapt to life at home, looking stylish enough for a quick trip to the store (you never know who’s watching), yet leisurely enough to lounge around the house in these clothes. It was very refreshing because it challenged my notion of “at-home fashion and living”. I had to up it a notch. Needless to say, I survived and here we are, back to a new normal!
2. Do you think the pandemic has permanently influenced fashion in South Africa in any way?
I would say yes and no. I do think that global fashion has been swayed by the novel coronavirus. With the introduction of face masks, everyone has adjusted to life with a new accessory. What do we do when we dress up? We have to factor in a new clothing accessory. We have seen how people can dress up masks for different types of occasions. I don’t think people have played around with this clothing item to its full extent. We can see various trends, such as the Vodacom Durban July, which did a playful trend on bedazzling the face masks and making them glamorous. Even local designers have caught on, but they haven’t gone the extra mile as yet in solidifying the presence of the must-have fashion accessory of the moment.
For South Africa, I wouldn’t say that the pandemic has changed anything with regards to fashion, personally. I do think that people have embraced a more leisurely and “at-home” look, and can now easily glam it up and down. In South African fashion, I do sincerely think that a certain level of creativity has been unlocked by individuals, and they have started becoming more playful and conscious of their fashion choices and decisions.
3. What inspires your outfit choices every day?
Well, many people won’t believe me, but my everyday life is literally gym wear and athleisure wear. Do not be fooled by the high heels on my Instagram feed. The lockdown has actually inspired me to dress up in more comfortable loungewear. Also, I do sincerely think that fashion is a mood. No two days are ever the same, and this also applies to fashion. On days where I feel playful and happy, I will play around with colours and different fabrics.
Sometimes, I just want to wear all-black, and this is because I was very undecided on what to wear in the morning. My fashion is dictated by my mood, the activities I need to do that day, and how long I have to wear that outfit for. But in whatever I do and wear, I always make sure it looks good because you never know who is watching.
4. How would you describe your style as a whole?
I dress for comfort, with a dash of glamour! I love wearing clothes which accentuate my figure and highlight my God-given assets. My style is very chic, modern and lady-like. I subscribe to a variety of trends, including gym wear and athleisure wear, coupled with glam looks.
My favourite colour combinations are monochromatic colours. Black and white is the ultimate colour combination because it speaks to me. I love simplicity, it’s the ultimate sophistication. I never really subscribe to a certain look, but I do try to keep trendy and up-to-date. One thing I definitely know is that a girl can never have too many shoes, purses and blazers. Those are my favourites because of how they can dress up or down an outfit. I love versatility, ease and comfort. There’s no use in wearing something you can’t stand. So that’s me.
Also, my style is very seasonal and emotive. What I wear is often dictated by my mood that day.
5. As we transition from winter to spring, do you plan on adding brighter colours to the chic monochromatic looks you have showcased on social media?
You can never go wrong with a monochromatic look. I mean, it is very slimming and just a very good colour combination. I have been thinking of adding a splash or two of colour with my outfits. Colours that I will opt for include yellow, blue and green. I will be playing around with hues of the same colour though, given that that’s what works for me. I also have noted some gorgeous trends, such as printed shirts which are on the comeback. These I am very excited to try because of the colour combinations you find them in. Also highlighter-inspired fashion is back on the rise, with the colour neon standing out. Now these are daring, so this will be me entering uncharted fashion waters!
6. What is your favourite local brand at the moment and why?
I am a lover of locally produced designer fashion! I love anything [by] Rich Mnisi, Orapeleng Modutle and Agape Designs. Those three are the Holy Trinity of local designer brands, which I support time and time again.
I love them because of how simplistic, yet chic, their fashion is. It is simple, yet bold enough to demand attention. Also, the designers are very invested in their craft and deliver excellence always. This is something I love. It’s wonderful to see hardworking men and women taking pride in their work. I mean, who doesn’t want to see a black person shine and thrive?! Seeing others succeed always warms my heart!