Love inspired fashion
Abongile Myeki, 25, formerly from East London is one of the designers that will be featured at the East London Fashion Week on September 13 – 14, 2019.
His urban street label, Fotrh – Feelings on the red heart, has grown in leaps and bounds over the past three years and a subtle and yet direct representation of love and feelings often unspoken.
The artist, a marketing graduate, stylist, painter, model, and fashion conceptualiser fell in love with fashion as an expression through a Joburg based clothing line and together with a close friend they forged relations with the designer and started selling the brand in their hometown, fusing it with the hip-hop culture.
After his six-year relationship with his girlfriend, Myeki ended, he was inspired to start his own label. “I was heartbroken. It is only then, that I realised that people love being in love, but they hate speaking about their feelings. It is as if they are not real or are taboo,” says Myeki. The signature of the brand started as a small but loud red heart that is embraided in caps, hoodies, shorts and vests.
As a young man would, Myeki fell in love, again, and decided to voice out his feelings through the collection, instead of lovey dovey sms’, starting with a cap he designed and sent to his new love interest embraided, “I think I am in love”.
After working at a supermarket in East London for a few months, he saved money, quit and pursuit his dream.
This has grown into a love story that speaks to siblings, social and gender violence, all the way to a children range. His most popular campaign has been, “I am hurt, but….”
His measure of success has been collaborations with other brands and artists in his hometown.
He has set-up a shop in New Brighton, Port Elizabeth, in a burnt down building with rusty walls. He mounted nails to which he hangs his merchandise and spends the day with similar minded young people.
“I am pushing hard, all the money I make from the merchandise, I use it as capital back into the brand. However, I am struggling with the upcoming Fashion show as I have to dress 37 models, and I do not have enough merchandise to showcase,” he said. Myeki is hoping to sell ahead of the show or appeal to a funder who can help take his collection to the runway.