Joburg-based conceptual fashion label NAOSERATI shares their '20 collection and lookbook – Rent an Alien. Bringing together some of the city's most exciting creative minds for a daring and forward thinking lookbook that really takes it there.
NAOSERATI is a Joburg-based contemporary fashion brand founded by designer Neo Serati Mofammere in 2014 after graduating from LISOF. The brand specialises in unisex garments that explore the margins of gender, art and sexuality, while bearing in mind their South African heritage. NAOSERATI is all about a dialogue which asks, dissects and often subverts what it is to be in modern-day Africa.
As a continued dialogue with local youth culture, pushing fluidity and rebellion in modern-day South Africa, the SS20 collection and lookbook brings together some of the city’s favourite creative heads for a daring and other-worldly collection and lookbook consisting of sequent jackets, suits, pants, jumpsuits and an alien you'd want to put your money on.
For this ISYOURS exclusive, Neo shared more about the inspiration behind the collection, and why the lookbook takes concept and collaboration and to a new level in South African fashion.
Tell me more about the process and inspiration behind this collection…
My work in general is an on going study on African culture, specifically black LGBTQI+. This collection was looking at gay male sex work and the use of your body and soul to get by.
Where did the idea for the shoot come from?
I can't take credit for this concept because I handed it over to the team. I'm so trusting of the creatives that worked on this project, I literally gave the incredible Bee Diamondhead one thing – “OnlyFans” and she got it. I found this to be such an inspiring thought, this alien in the world using their body to entice you in, get you into their safe space and then flip the script and consume you.
In the age of COVID, I don’t imagine coordinating everything was easy…
Nothing in the age of corona is easy, we have to commit to new more helpful ways of working, we need to take care of not only our physical but also our mental health. I’m trying my best to do that not only for me but the teams I work with as well. Luckily with Rent an Alien it was a really small team so I trust the team kept safe.
"This alien in the world is using their body to entice you in, get you into their safe space and then flip the script and consume you"
Do you have a favourite look from this collection? (and why?)
Thats like asking a mom to pick a favorite child. I will say that personally after lock down I do love anything with a stretching or adjustable waist band.
Many fashion designers today are starting to focus on having an inclusive approach to design, why do you feel this is important to you?
If you're not designing and creating for an inclusive and smart consumer, who are you designing for? It goes without question that you have to be aware of the world we are in and make sure we are including and thinking about everyone. We are amazing let's put that on paper, let's make our money by being amazing.
Collaboration seems to be very important to you, how do you go about in selecting who to partner up with when releasing this kind of collection of work?
Collaboration is a real joy. No man is an island, I think thats in the Bible right. Collaboration is really good for the creative soul, finding people you vibe with and are creatively on the same frequency is just such a joy, so ill collaborate over and over again.
"If you're not designing and creating for an inclusive and smart consumer, who are are designing for?"
Based on your observations, how would you describe where South African fashion is at right now?
I'm not really the right one to answer this question right now because I've been so focused on NAOSERATI PTY LTD, but from what I can see Africans are excited to wear African clothing and that is a FLEX.
This collection is noticeably different to your earlier collections, how would you say your design or technique has evolved over the years?
Lol, that makes me feel like age is wearing me down. I can see that my work is becoming a little more wearable and a little more accessible but the ideas do still come from the same place. So I guess it's just growth and warmth and being a stylist basically full time also exposes me to what people are actually wearing and wanting from their wardrobe and that changes you.
A NAO SERATI collection is highly anticipated at Mercedez Benz Fashion Week Joburg or SA Menswear Week, with the absence of these show, do you reckon a lookbook is enough?
This is actually from my previous collection that I showed at SAMW with some extra pieces that only fit our super model Nkuli but I do feel that those platforms should think about new ways of presenting because it would be a shame to lose them. As a business we will have to really think about how to show next… I'll let you know in a month how that goes.
What else can we expect from NAOSERATI for the remainder of 2020?
I dont know babes! Like literally send me ideas!
Photographer: Zander Opperman
Creative Direction & Styling: Bee Diamondhead
Model: Nkululeko Masemola
Make-Up: Tammi Mbambo
Art Director: Natalie Paneng
Text: Roger Sivuyile Lupuwana