We live in a time where local influencers are everywhere, sharing opinions and making waves in every aspect of our lives. These are people with specialised knowledge and see themselves as artists, tastemakers and disruptors. They come in all ages and have one thing in common; they want to see and be seen. They live to create and break boundaries, share stories and help regular people like us see things the way they do.

Today, we want to look at the big names in Vintage Fashion and maybe understand a bit more about what makes them shine. There are so many great visionaries we could shout out here, almost too many to list! So, we stuck to just a few of our favourites.

Firstly, let’s look at Wanda Lephoto. One of our favourites, Lephoto is all about ready-to-wear apparel that tells a story. His design inspiration stems from a great love of traditional African culture and a need for that culture to step into modern styles anyone can wear. His brand of fashion mixes creative story telling elements and modern contexts in a way we simply can’t get enough of.

His style originated from thrifting and since then has evolved into something that shows a deep connection between his history and love for street wear. As he grows as a designer, we can’t help but admire what he’s doing by staying true to who he is for the world to see.

Check out his Instagram page here.

Secondly, we must talk about someone who is simply the definition of expression. Azania Forest calls herself a visual storyteller, using her in-depth knowledge as a creative outlet to showcase her experiences. Like any true artist, she uses many mediums to express herself, all packaged together – she is truly a creative director.

Also known as Lesego Seoketsa, she uses her platform to give an understanding on black womxn, what they have been through and where they can go. Her work stands as a challenge to Africans, asking us to denounce European standards and fully embrace what makes us who we are. She views fashion as an expression of how best to preserve culture for new generations and the future of South Africa.

Get inspired by Azania Forest’s Insta feed here.

Third on our list of trailblazers and must watch fashion minds in South Africa is Kuruman born Tsepo Kgatlhane. Tsepo’s hometown, its people, culture, music, fashion and trends all cultivate his passion for fashion, and for the social advocacy work he is involved in. Tsepo describes his style as urban, liberal and shapeshifting. He always looks to his childhood and the way his mother dressed for inspiration. Fashion to Tsepo is beyond just clothes, it’s a medium to inspire, induce conversation and bring a positive impact to change the perception of exclusivity existing in mainstream culture.

Scroll through his feed here.

Lastly, but definitely not least on our list of must-watch local vintage style influencers is non other than The Sartists. Established in 2014 by visionaries Andile Buka, Kabelo Kungwane, Wanda Lephoto (you’ll remember this name from the first vintage visionary applauded in this article) and Xzavier Zulu, The Sartists have built a reputation on being considered Joburg’s best dressed crew. And scrolling through their Instagram page is like therapy as they are able to perfectly marry radical thought with street-wear. A singular focus from 3 forward-thinking individuals has resulted in a brand that is unmatched both locally, and globally, take a look for yourself here.

For some time now, influencers have had to be creative with their craft. Suddenly, their process and usual spots for creating content are not so readily available. With everyone making sure to mention in their communication that this is an interesting and unique time to live in, now more than ever we need to appreciate dedication to creativity and originality.

We tip our hats off to these visionaries and want to say that we recognise the hard work and sweat that goes into their craft. Perhaps it’s time for people who are not just influencers, or artists but as mentioned before, disruptors of the norm. Those who see this lockdown and this time to social distance as an opportunity to create beyond what we know and beyond what is usual. We recognise that history shaped their present, but perhaps more importantly we see and appreciate how their present will shape our future.