One of the most iconic Basotho garments, is being sold for R33 000 – by French luxury brand Louis Vuitton.
According to City Press, the luxury brand released its Basotho Plaid menswear collection this week. This comes a few years after the launch of its first Basotho blanket-inspired collection. The collection has been well received and has sold out in Johannesburg and Cape Town – what a wow!
The Basotho Plaid menswear range includes a small cashmere and “wool version of the Mountain Kingdom’s famous blankets”, which have been used in sacred rituals for centuries.
The Vuitton blanket, which was released in 2015, references a blue and yellow version of a traditional Seanamarena design, with an exaggerated graphic maize cob and giraffe dominating the pattern. The blankets also include the yellow “wearing stripes” which traditionally designate the direction a blanket should be worn.
Designer Thabo Makheta, who is Sotho, said: “The sad part of the situation, for me, is that the African consumer would rather consume the Louis Vuitton version than support small businesses who are already offering the same products.”
As expected, social media went abuzz when the images of the items went viral, reports City Press.
Dona Soprana on Instagram said: “I feel like LV ‘plaid’ enough with our culture. Damn Culture Vultures.”
Another Instagram user, Afro_Judee added: “Damn, I hate these mainstream brands. Wowza! No authenticity… at all.”
Makheta went on to express how “unfortunate it is that a luxury European brand is preferred by the African consumer”.
She added, however, that this isn’t anything we haven’t seen before and is no longer surprising.
“I’m tired of getting offended by these things. Because so many Europeans have been taking inspiration from Africa, there is growing support for locally produced items. Maybe it’s time for us to also pull up our socks. Once we’ve done that, we can argue with the consumer about buying local products.”
Reporting: City Press