Street culture’s only recently started taking off on the streets of Gaborone – ushered in by the “90s babies” who’re privy to Tumblr and their imitators. Crop tops – for the brave and skinny- military boots, beanies all year round and shirts tied around the waist are a common sight, a staple, if you will. Over the past few years we’ve seen the peplum tops/dresses come and go, the leggings and sneakers emerge victorious in the fight for relevance, and personalized t-shirts become the In Thing.
Most of these however, are mass produced by large companies who specifically have people trolling the internet for the next big catch phrase. “WE OUT HERE!” “SLAY!” “THROWING SHADE!” “BARBIE”
There’s a plethora of them floating around in our department stores – easily sold across borders because “Swag is universal” as the kids would say, but whereas Botswana’s neighbouring countries might have their own, personalized streetwear brands , Botswana’s been slacking on that front.
Sure, we have plenty of t-shirt brands – Many of which look more like something that would be passed around a sorority house than sold to the common man – but that’s beside the point, they exist.
What we’ve been lacking however is a label that neither duplicates nor imitates, but creates something of quality that fits right into Botswana and the minds of its youth – Something like BRAVE WORLD.
Initially I can’t really say I was sold on the idea. Understand that what I mentioned earlier about everyone and their cousin having a “label” is not a joke, there’re literally hundreds of them around. The fact that I know the founder, Loago Mosielele, personally and have found him to be a rather level headed, lovely young man only slightly soothed my Spirit – Anything could go wrong, still. Should he work with the wrong team of people, or not afford the high quality merchandise, the idea would have gone to the pits and it would have been just another label with a Facebook Page.
That, fortunately, did not happen.
With dedication and an eye for detail Loago’s taken BRAVE WORLD, in a matter of months, from a concept to a brand associated with quality, simple yet captivating designs and patriotism.
“I was unhappy with what I saw at the Main Mall and places like Botswana craft –the merchandise that was being sold wasn’t up to par – it wasn’t good looking or in any way appealing and I thought ‘This is a problem’. So, with me being a problem solver, I decided to start making what I think is good looking Botswana merchandise and share it with the people.”
And what made him decide to take the plunge? Considering that many others have tried and failed, dismally, before him, one would think he’d be weary going into this – but he maintains that as far as he’s concerned, BRAVE WORLD is the first of its kind, proclaiming “Most of those other supposed labels were just t-shirt labels. That’s it. They’re in no way similar to what BRAVE WORLD has got happening and where it intends to go.”
Everything’s been messy, but a good messy, he assures me. “I wasn’t even supposed to be selling t-shirts at this point. Initially they were just gonna be produced for the African Youth Games and I thought that the visiting teams and whatnot would be the ones to buy them but in fact Batswana bought most of them.”
His affiliates and friends – members of Fr3shm3n Entertainment, have been vocal about their support for the brand and the man behind it. The self-proclaimed “267 King” Mane Dilla is apparently the face behind the brand and he can often be spotted around town rocking his Gaborone beanie or Botswana t-shirt.
Image courtesy of Gino Pryce for BRAVE WORLD
After going through their first photoshoot I tell him how I noted that the women weren’t put in typical “provocative” positions – in fact everyone was all dressed and comfortable! For a streetwear brand I was expecting Jordans hanging around someone’s cleavage and poses akin to Nicki Minajs’ Anaconda cover art. I ask him why he didn’t go that route, considering that sex supposedly sells and plot twist, the main lady on set was, in fact, his sister!
Image courtesy of Gino Pryce for BRAVE WORLD
That however, is only a fraction of the reason why he kept the objectification to a minimum. “I guess I’m just very cautious of where the country is, when it comes to their views and their conservatism. Plus I don’t want the brand to be like that – I don’t want it to get overshadowed by things that would cause controversy.” But any kind of publicity is apparently good publicity, I remind him, something he agrees upon, but isn’t necessarily buying. “The brand represents me. I can’t have it be associated with certain things. I don’t want to be considered a person who sells sex to get anywhere.”
And on that note I take the conversation back to a few years ago when Loago was better known as “Young Wayne”. Before he got level headed and business minded, he was a rapper with long dreads and constantly bloodshot eyes. What happened? Did he find God, as many tend to do? Or was it something else?
“Growth” He tells me. “I got to a point where I started wondering who I really was and I realized I wasn’t that person. A lot of the things I’d taken on were more out of influence than anything else. Letting go happened naturally. I’m happy right now.”
BRAVE WOLRD’S already working on the second line, to be released in September, keeping in tune with Botswana’s Independence Day.
“I don’t believe in stagnancy. Life’s about growth, you have to keep moving. BRAVE WORLD is more than just a brand it’s a lifestyle. We’re trying to encourage the youth to go out there and conquer the world. We’re trying to teach them to not fear anything! We’re all about the young people – that’s where the future is. I believe in us. That’s what I want the people to know. I believe in us and I would like all of us to come together and make things happen.”
The line isn’t in stores because his dream is to one day have his own retail chain and so at this point, BRAVE WORLD is currently being bought directly from him.
I ask him, knowing that he knows how most young Batswana are ashamed of our country, whether he never considered the fact that that might possibly hinder him and he responds enthusiastically with “No! I saw it as a challenge! Listen, I know they’re not happy because I’m unhappy. The goal was to give them something to be proud of. I think we’re doing quite well on that.”