Flair Concepts Magazine correspondent Noluvuyo Hope Soyaya took time out to chat with Lateta Qojiji, designer of Qojiji Clothing, who is based in KwaLanga, Cape Town, about his career journey and what culture means to him.
Who is Latela and where is he from?
Lateta Qojiji is the Voice of the Voiceless, the Designated Hustler aka Mr Qojiji himself. Just an ordinary guy with big dreams hailing from eDutywa, Eastern Cape.
How did the love for fashion come about for you?
Growing up, my late mother used to make money through sewing clothes and that inspired me but I never knew that I would do the same for a living. Hence I studied further for clothing and textile production at CloTex Academy so I can become a pro in my craft.
You are also a Kwaito artist and congratulations on your recent award. Out of all music genres, why did you choose Kwaito?
Thank you so much (smiling)… winning that award was a dream come true. Kwaito was my first love in all of my dreams. When Mzambia burst onto the music scene in the early 2000s, I was so inspired and told myself that this is what I want; I want to shine. Then I started writing my own lyrics up until I recorded my first demo. Then as they say, the rest is history.
How do you juggle all the different roles in your life and still able to pursue your dreams?
It’s all about being creative. Having passion,drive, vision and consistency.
It’s now Heritage month. How important is Culture (and heritage) to you, and do you incorporate that into garments that you design?
I am a very deep-rooted cultural man, I make sure I follow my customs and perform rituals as a Xhosa man. I write and compose my songs in my own language. I don’t really infuse my culture into my garments since the brand is inspired by Kasi street culture.
South Africa has had a rough week especially with the recent cases of femicide…what are your thoughts on the Am I Next campaign?
I am so devastated and am ashamed to be called a South African man right now. We as men are taking advantage of the fact that women and children are the most vulnerable group that we are supposed to protect and love. I don’t follow hashtag campaigns as such, but as the Voice of the Voiceles I do try to reprimand other men via social media about this issue.
What are the misconceptions that you have heard about men in fashion?
Most men in fashion are gay but the ones that are termed ‘straight, are perceived as womanizers as if they use their profession to sleep with female clients.
What is the future looking like for the Qojiji brand and Lateta himself?
The future is so bright for the Qojiji Clothing brand and Lateta the artist. Qojiji Clothing will soon launch its online shopping website to break on to new markets, while Lateta is currently nominated at the SAIFTAAS (SA independent Film Television & Artist Awards) for his hit single ‘IMBEKO.’
Who are your top 3 fashion icons and why?
Maxhosa by Laduma Ngxokolo for his brilliant work and he showcased on the New York Fashion Week and worked with Miss SA 2019 Zozibini Tunzi as his model. The second one is owner of Women That Lead (WTL) designs, Sisipho Krewu; I recently attended her show Future and Beyond and I was blown away. Lastly, the guy behind Leaf Apparel designs, his designs are out of this world.
Any word of advice to aspiring designers?
Well I would say if you know what it is that keeps your mind at work all the time, do it. It might be God telling you that’s your purpose. Know why you want to get into the industry, work hard and learn everything you can about the industry. Don’t go into fashion because you want to be famous or meet celebrities or else you will sink before you start sailing.
©2019 FLAIR CONCEPTS MAGAZINE. All pictures by Qojiji Clothing.