We created OYOO Style, born simply from being fed up with our yoga pants not lasting + discovering shweshwe, mixed in with finding an awesome seamstress – boom, the rest is history!
For a long, long time, Rejane and I have been wanting to design and make our own clothes. Initially, it was out of the desire to wear something that wasn’t the same as everyone else, i.e. the lack of individuality in the high street and the fact that nothing lasted long. Then as time has gone on, we’ve educated ourselves about the ethical impact the fashion industry has on people’s lives, and of course the horrendous pollution it also causes.
After visiting Thailand in 2015, where we bought locally made pants, which were colourful, comfortable and a joy to wear, it was disappointing when they fell apart after only 6 months. There were similar versions in shops in South Africa, but again the quality just didn’t last. And so, after coming across an amazing and very talented seamstress, we thought it would be fun to make our own.
Rejane and I love African styles and patterns and after doing some research, she came across Da Gama Textiles and the history of shweshwe as a textile and how they are the only manufacturer in South Africa that produces original shweshwe. Their patterns and colours are attractive, colourful and the material is made from 100% cotton. The majority of the woven cotton yarns are sourced from within the SADC region and then local spinners in South Africa spin the fibre into yarn. We love that the factory is family run and that they provide work opportunities to so many informal workers so we found a local supplier and ordered our first mix of materials at the end of 2020.
We then decided to make items such as aprons, kitchen gloves, duvet covers, clothing and the list went on and on. We were on a roll and from the reaction of our friends and family, realised we were onto something that could become popular and maybe even justify starting a business!
So with Lauché, our amazing seamstress on board as a partner and our business plan in place, we’ve created a unique and high-quality selection of clothing and homeware. We’re adamant about keeping our business within South Africa. We only use Da Gama shweshwe for our products, and source everything else locally too as far as possible. We are working on our material map, so that our customers can see the journey their clothing has made and where it’s come from to make their product.
As we only make items handmade to order, we avoid wasting any material. We use our cutoffs to create our raglaces (material necklaces) and any product that’s made using the multi-colour option.
Nothing goes to waste – using the cutoff material, Maria proud of her multi-colour masterpiece after a day of training with Lauché
Supporting local skill
As we grow we plan to find local people who have skills in making clothes or have a desire to learn, to join our team. We have already found an intern, Maria, who is learning fast and is very talented on the sewing machine!
Quality and made with love
Every item we make is made with love and pieced together so that the finished product is quality and will last. We believe in slow fashion and that one day fast fashion will die out, to make way for the artisans who take pride in what they create, and not just all be about the bottom line. By supporting us, you’ll be creating work within South Africa, and avoiding the mass production sweatshops that plague the fashion industry around the world.
We decided it would also be great to be able to help the environment through our venture, so we have partnered with Greenpop and will be donating 2% of every pair of Afrika pants sold to raise money to plant trees in South Africa. We’ll be launching this initiative very soon – so watch our shop for Afrika pants!
We named our venture OYOO Style, as we want it to stand for everything we’ve created OYOO for – to build a community that is about supporting small businesses, that craft products to endure and is created without taking advantage of others and without detriment to the planet.
If you decide to buy anything we’ve made, please let us know what you think and we’d love to hear your feedback! We currently only ship within South Africa and lead times from receiving your order can be up to three weeks including delivery.
As an OYOO Trader you can buy and order our items from our shop! See our recent items below: