Fashion: The world in a Basotho blanket

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Louis Vuitton puts its prized LV stamp on these Basotho-inspired prints. PHOTO: LOUIS VUITTON
Louis Vuitton puts its prized LV stamp on these Basotho-inspired prints. PHOTO: LOUIS VUITTON

It’s long been one of the most common garments in the traditional Basotho wardrobe, but some of the biggest names in international fashion have taken the blanket as inspiration for their more Western incarnations.

Everywhere, from the catwalks of Louis Vuitton to Superbalist’s online catalogue, the Basotho blanket has served as a muse for 21st-century fashionistas.

THABO MAKHETHA

Makhetha is a Lesotho-born, Port Elizabeth-based designer who has taken the print and texture of the Basotho blanket and revamped it into a number of womenswear forms.

From fitted jackets to full-length dresses, Makhetha presents the blanket as comfortable and versatile, and a more interesting alternative to generic winter wear. Her Basotho fashions have caused a big stir across the water, and his interview with The Wall Street Journal has inspired other local and international designers to get on board with the trend.

NOUSH

Furniture-design company Noush went in an entirely different direction and used the Basotho-blanket style as a template for an array of gorgeous scatter cushion covers. If you can’t wear the blanket, you may as well have it on your couch.

It was handmade in South Africa and used locally sourced fabrics. The range offered the option of an acrylic or pure wool version using the original template and adapting it for use in different homes.

LOUIS VUITTON

Yes, we know this is cultural appropriation at its best, but the Louis Vuitton Basotho-inspired blankets and throwovers were really quite delicious.

Used exclusively as part of a menswear campaign, Vuitton opted for muted, two-tone versions of the blanket and, while the massive blanket scarves were perfect for European winters, the almost tube-neck camel jacket also suggested that the legendary design house infused Basotho elements.

The blankets were all the rage and, following some gorgeous photos of smoking (hot) models donning them, the trend seriously took off.

SUPERBALIST

Superbalist, in collaboration with Michelle Collis, offered a range of original, authentic Basotho blankets on its wildly successful online platform.

It’s a pity that the project has ended, as it presented an opportunity for buyers to take home a piece of traditional Basotho culture and experience the joy of the ultimate blanket

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