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Q&A: Ditiro Mashigo follows her dreams and grounds them in nature

by | Aug 21, 2020

Fashion and textile designer Ditiro Mashigo has a quiet confidence. Born in the Limpopo town of Lebowakgomo, Ditiro moved to Pretoria in 1994 where she graduated from the Tshwane University of Technology. After losing her first job, Ditiro launched into textile design. Now, her brand Serati Ltd Label offers a surface design service, and high-craft, upcycled and ready-to-wear clothing. Inspired by her dreams, Sepedi culture and nature, Ditiro believes that young people in the fashion, art and design sector have a role to play in the development of South Africa.

We caught up with Ditiro via email.

Tell me about your brand name?

I got the word Serati from one of my favourite Sepedi idioms which reads “Mapelo oja Serati Sekgetelwa ga senyaki” and which translates as ‘One who does what her/his heart pleases’. I think when a person’s heart is in the right place, their steps are ordered and their purpose is well defined. This is what I believe to be true about the Serati brand and all those who follow and believe in it.

Why did you land up in this creative space?

I was born a designer; from very early on I was fascinated by colour compositions found in nature. Growing up around women who practised craft and design made it easier for me to visualise myself becoming a creative one day. I believe I am where I am because I always dared to live a life of adventure and at every point in my career seized divine moments.

Explain your love for textiles?

Textile surface design is my first love. My great grandmother was a proud Sotho women and I believe that I inherited her eye for colour and taste for all things textile. It is also a spiritual language which I have learnt to read and which I use for communicating the creative cues I get from my dreams, divine inspiration and from nature. My love for textile is akin to my love for beauty.

Are there any particular motifs / patterns / visual themes that you are drawn to and why?

I love telling stories through my textiles. Motifs that are in my sketchbook are of flowers and I absolutely love fringed works. Nature is primarily what I find to be creatively stimulating to work with and enriching.

Where do you fit into the sustainable fashion framework?

I am a quiet activist, every aspect of my design practice is carefully considered. Quiet, because I believe there is much more to learn when you listen.

From where do you source your materials?

The bulk of my natural fabric is locally sourced. I love Photogenics but on a daily basis I buy from Metro Home Centre in Pretoria. It’s a general store and has the best fabric business practice in this city. I have visited all fabric stores in my area and this one is the only one that doesn’t give me the chills when I walk in the store. They supply a large variety of Da Gama fabrics which work well.

Who is your customer?

My client is a bold practitioner, who values high-craft and an authentic contemporary South African story.

How do you see your brand develop?

My sense is that what I am doing with Serati is creating a story about a brand that encapsulates the essence of the 21st century South African people. In years to come it will be a heritage brand.

What is your relationship to Earth?

I am a steward to the Earth and her treasures; this includes me and my fellow humans. My every action and decision has a long-lasting, ripple effect and I keep this in mind as I journey through life.

Here is a short Design Indaba interview with Ditiro:

 

  • Follow Serati Ltd label on Instagram
  • Images supplied 
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