Denim art collection has gained huge popularity as an idea of wearing one-of-a-kind piece of art appealed to many customers.
A splash of colour can inject new life into anything. So are artists, if you fancy, creative designers. We are captivated by the meticulous paintings they create on vintage denim, demonstrating their ability to fuse art and fashion.The lines that define what art is these days are so blurred. Some artists are popular because someone sees potential in them, and it is all very subjective. The same goes to fashion. Some people dress practically, and that is not art. But other people dress for fashion and to express their personalities, and that is art!
These artists do custom, hand painted denim jackets bringing art to the world of fashion hence creating the ultimate unique and expressive look. Some jackets are painted or painted and hand stitched embroidered. We are now far from the times when a piece of denim was just some durable jeans that the last centuries workers used to wear. Now denim, like most of the fabrics in the industry, it used to make a statement, and goes far beyond that concept: so far that we can talk about artistic denim. When we look at the origin and history of denim, we realise that it was indeed designed to be a durable piece of clothing. Made for the working class, it had forcibly to be that way. What no one probably expected, at that time, was that the piece of clothing that Levi Strauss made popular, would be such a fashionable fabric.
In the last century, from being used in cowboy movies, to its importance as military clothing in the Second World War, or its association to the hippie movement, jeans popularity has always risen. It was a people’s fabric that was later reutilized by designers all over the world. More and more people started to use denim due to its durability, but also due to the cool effects they could do in denim. After world war two, the use in Europe increased dramatically. This fabric was so great that, even when it ripped due to the hard conditions that it was used for, the effect that those ripped jeans produced, was just cool. â€¨When fashion designers started to look at denim as a great fabric that they could use, all the game changed.
They started to see which things look good, such as the ageing processes, how to replicate it. They found out how denim could be used, not only with a great sense of durability, but also with a great sense of fashion: and that’s how artistic denim started to get shape. Artistic denim refers to the art of using denim and appeared several decades after the first denim examples were made. The constant learning about how a piece of denim could be worked, coloured and shaped into different forms by denim innovation specialists that made denim artistry possible. That can make jeans amazing pieces of art.
That and the creator’s innovative ideas using denim. And the result couldn’t be better: something with fashion sense, that shows your personality, durable and that you will love. I came across one designer who I feel is dynamic, spontaneous, feisty, fearless, extrovert and a trendsetter. This young man has all it takes to be called ‘’an innovative individual of the now century’’ because, he is just incredible! He does remarkable art works on denim, on walls and even on your body. He is a jack of all trades; he is a body-art artist, motivational speaker and a photographer. Let’s just declare him ‘’hustler of the year’’ once and for all.
In an exclusive interview with Weekend Life, an artistic, versatile 22-year-old Price Tom is a Limkokwing 4th year student pursing his degree on Industrial Design, who does art part time. ‘’I would choose art over industrial design any day because art was my calling. It had always shown since my tender age and I started painting on clothes back in 2017. I basically started off with painting shows in 2015 then over the years I started painting on denim jackets. The idea came about when I realised that I live in a country where my beloved people do not really appreciate art much especially canvas art and pencil drawings and as an artists, I bestowed it upon me to find solutions to embed art into Batswana’s brain and hearts.
I did my research and figured out that people are trapped in the fashion era hence why I decided to put art and fashion together. It worked wonders. People loved my denim paintings and that made them to see that I do canvas paintings and pencil drawings too. My idea worked pretty well an di started painting blazers, dresses and caps’’ he told Weekend Life reporter in Gaborone this week. Tom underlined that he loves painting on canvas more than on clothes. ‘’This is because painting on canvas allows me to share my melancholic stories through my use of color and my subjects whereas painting on jackets I only do to gain recognition from the masses and I am happy that it works. It only limits me because most of the times I have to do what satisfies the client, I enjoy panting better when the client allows me to fly on the wings of my creativity.
For me art is more spiritual. We artists have visions of how we want our paintings to look like and we share the unseen, unknown with the world by bringing them to life’’ He further indicated that painting on denim allows color fanatics to play around with different colors and also helps one to understand colors better and how they best work with each other. ‘’I have always been fascinated and intrigued by color because it is the best way of communicating with people how I see the world and my mood’’ he whispered. ‘’When I paint on canvas I usually use color to so express my emotions. Most of my paintings have a lot of color blue because most of my life I known and encountered was sadness and you know how blue is referred to as a sad color. My inspiration is my late mother. I paint as a way of mourning her, as a way of showing her that I’m still listening and it’s a way of paying tribute to her.
She was the one who introduced me to painting and drawing when I was young, she assisted me in drawing and at one point she helped me with my first art accolades, it’s a pity she never lived long enough to witness me become the champion that I’m turning out to be but I’m certain that she’s watching me’’ Painting on denim doesn’t wash off, so I learnt! The paint Tom uses is suitable for most fabrics. The longevity of the work depends on how well the client takes care of it just like any other clothing from the shop. ‘’I have people who still rock my paintings that I did as back then in 2017 and they still look brand new. Art is invertible. It is mortal. When I paint on denim jackets or blazers, I usually do what the client wants or sometimes I ask them to me surprise them. Sometimes I buy jackets, paint and sell them ready made’’ Tom noted that social media is a platform he uses to attract customers.
He is not wrong! Most businesses, hustlers and artists have turned to social media to market, promote and sell their products and services. If you an entrepreneur and on this era you don’t have either a page or a personal account on social where you sell your stuff, you might as well quit. This is the 21st century and you ought to move with the times. ‘’Social media has been doing a good job for a lot of creative out there and sometimes I go out there and show people my work even though most of the time school limits me. Soon it won’t be something to worry about as I am on my final lap. I’ll have enough time to focus on my art and meet my customers, and even pitch proposals to government as I have been doing lately’’
‘’I recently did four canvas paintings for the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and I’ve worked with a lot of people and different companies over 3 years period that I’ve painting and that has boosted my portfolio and connections with important people. Just like any other creative, Tom has a plan to diverse as much as possible because the whole idea is to make art that’s timeless.
Recently, he directed and wrote scripts for 2 music videos which are doing well so far. During his spare time, he enjoys reading as it helps him to remain relevant throughout the years. ‘’What I figured most people lack is consistency and research. I don’t want those two to ever die out in me.’’
Mpho Donald was undoubtedly the IT girl of the then tedious beauty industry. She loved looking pretty and smelling good. Of course, this is every girl’s dream, but making a living out of it doesn’t flash into many of these girls’ dreams.
Besides, it used to be a lot more common for the majority of entrepreneurs to be male in the past. However, in recent years the number of female entrepreneurs in the world has been on the rise. She is from a family of business-minded people. Both parents were entrepreneurs, but that is not why Donald is a powerful woman in this entrepreneurial space. At one point, life threw lemons at her, and she made lemonade.
At the age of 38, Donald has been to South Africa more than once. These frequent hazardous trips at the time were to acquire secret elements into being a real hustler. She would get robbed, risk being raped or hijacked, but she survived.
“At one point, life got too difficult to an extent where I found myself doing piece jobs for other people just so I earn something to buy toiletry, food and clothes even. I did laundry, and in the entire process, I got tired. I had to think about business, and it was easy because I come from a line of people who believe in trading. Somehow I got motivated, but I never wanted to work for anyone in life.”
Before embarking on shadowing missions in South Africa, Donald would go around the capital city, hunting for customers. Kgale Mews, Commerce Park are urban offices for various companies, but this did not restrict her from knocking, selling makeup, jewellery and accessories.
She was known for this particular hustle in all the offices. Some people will get exhausted because of her irritating products, but that did not stop her from acquiring a tiny spot in Main Mall. She pitched her gazibo, and her next items on display were plus size women’s outfits. These women are often overlooked, especially on beauty pageantry. The controversial Miss Plus Size Botswana pageant never saw the light of the day ever again.
“I guess that was after I saw the pains of plus-sized women when it came to shopping for something to wear. Being a plus-size woman made it easy for me to penetrate this space. I modelled all my clothes and advertised them on social media.”
Social media opened many doors for so many entrepreneurs. Donald can attest to that. She told Weekendlife that “People started coming in to buy both makeup and the clothes. Then, later on, I started selling second-hand clothes and while at it, I moved to my first shop. I think for me taking risks has never really been any scary because I convinced myself that in any case, I fall, I will rise again.”
“So I went boldly into everything that I could do at the time. I would travel to South Africa to places I never knew. I got my stock there, and even when I got robbed, I knew I would eventually reach my destination. It surely wasn’t an easy walk in a park, but I persevered,” she said.
From her mini boutique, Donald went full force into buying and supplying second-hand clothes. “As the COVID-19 lockdowns hit us, I was busy at work pushing the idea on mini bails and second-hand clothes. So it came down to my mind that I have to know what to sell in which season. It was a trial and error kind of hustle, but once you get a grip of it, you begin to sail smoothly.”
Donald currently supplies small businesses across the country. She gets to enjoy a good relationship with her customers, who are in other countries even. “It took me much effort, commitment and loyalty to be where I am today. I guess I could now boldly say that hard work is beginning to pay off. I have started knocking on bigger doors for partnerships, and I believe that if I can get them, beauty plus size clothing will be elevated to the next level.”
Mpho Donald is originally from Serowe. She studied her O and A-levels in Zimbabwe at the Specis College. Still, in Zimbabwe, she enrolled and qualified as a Travel and Tourism expert. She said in an interview that she will be venturing into other hustles too but couldn’t reveal which ones now. Donald is optimistic that everything will be ready and served in 2022.
After being announced as the next Miss Global Botswana, social media was ablaze, and curiosity was flown all over on whether Sakshi Bhargava is a native Motswana or the crown has incongruously been given to a non-citizen. Many Miss Global Botswana fans were breakneck in assuming that the queen is Indian, probably because the parents are of Indian descent and she looks Indian.
In a similar incident early this May, Miss Universe Canada Nova Stevens was chastened for being black. The beauty queen admitted that she’s disappointed with the behaviour of some pageant fans from other countries, noting that their hate takes away from the fun and enjoyment of the pageant.
“Is it that difficult to spread love instead of hate? No one is saying you have to support all contestants. All we’re saying is that you support your delegate without bringing others down,” she said. She called out racist comments on her Instagram criticizing her appearance. Stevens is of Sudanese descent. The remarks included: “Akala ko engkanto (I thought she was a mythical creature),” and “Hindi naman sa hinuhusgahan ko siya pero natatakot ako, promise. Parang hindi siya tao.” (I’m not judging her, but I’m terrified. It’sIt’s like she’s not a human being.)
Miss Global Botswana Bhargava told Weekendlife that she was born and brought up in Francistown, 19-years ago. She started her primary school in John Mackenzie and did her A-levels in Francistown, where she served as Deputy Head girl.
Her parents, she said, moved to Botswana from India in 1988. Technically, they have been in Botswana for 33 years. That then means they are Batswana by citizenship. According to data from the Ministry of Nationality, Immigration, and Gender Affairs, for a citizen of another country to qualify for Botswana citizenship, that person must satisfy few conditions.
The applicant has been resident in Botswana for a continuous period of 12 months immediately to the date of their application for a naturalization certificate. They should have been resident in Botswana for aggregate periods of not less than ten years during the 12 years immediately preceding the 12 months prescribed above. The applicant shall renounce the other country’s citizenship.
“Being born and brought up in Botswana, I have grown up learning Botswana culture, understanding Setswana, and I pride myself in being a Motswana by birth but Indian by race. We were lovingly welcomed into a very diverse nation. They fell in love with Botswana, and from then, they knew that this was the place where they wanted to birth and raise their children such that we grew up knowing this peaceful nation to be our home.”
“Our national flag, the black and white colors symbolize collaboration between people of diverse races and culture and a belief in racial cooperation and equality. I am proudly one of the first representations of the diversity our country has especially in the pageantry industry and I am fully equipped to represent our country.”
Bhargava further indicated that the Botswana culture is more of her identity than anything else as she has always known Botswana to be her home. “One should not be judged by race but should rather be embraced by character.”
BEAUTY WITH A PURPOSE
Having started pageantry at the age of 16, Bhargava has been a beauty queen with a purpose. She has worn two crowns too. In 2016, she was crowned Junior Miss Botswana 2nd princess and Miss Teen Hope 1st princess in 2017. During the past few years, she has also been pursuing ambassadorship with few companies.
“I became the brand ambassador of three local brands: the Diamond Pageantry Academy, BushT Fashions, and Em’s beauty Spa. She founded a non-governmental organization called Able Hearts Foundation. This is an NGO that strives to create equality for people living with disabilities.
“It runs with a slogan dubbed ”We are all equal in the fact that we are all different”. I believed that I am a true representation of what a beauty queen can help the community and how we have the ability to make the world a better place,” she told WeekendLife in an exclusive interview this week.
She started Able Hearts Foundation in 2017 after she realized that people faced with disabilities were ridiculed and made fun of, and, “I knew that as a teenager, I needed to stand up for this community and educate my peers on how to treat people faced with disabilities as equal in the society. For over 4 years now, I have worked with the Francistown Center for the Deaf Education, the Lephoi Center for the visually impaired and the Mochudi Resource Center for the blind.”
The newly crowned queen said she has worked with many more children living with disabilities and made it her mandate to nurture their talents and empower them to the point where they know and trust that they are equally important.
ATTENDING MISS GLOBAL IN INDONESIA
Miss Global organization has announced through their Instagram account that the competition is back, and a new edition is set to be held this September in Bali, Indonesia, with more than 80 delegates expected to participate.
Bhargava will be representing Botswana at the beauty competition, and she is ready to bring the crown home. “I entered the pageant industry at a very young age and my biggest dream was to represent Botswana on an international stage.
I applied to Miss Global organization as Botswana’s representative to hope that I would get a chance to truly showcase all of the hard work I have been putting into my ambitions of putting Botswana on the global map in allowedy. I am very excited to have been given the opportunity to live one of my biggest dreams.”
Botswana’s entertainment industry is finding it hard to survive the COVID-19 uproar because it has been shut for, literally, two years now. Artists are bankrupt, their marriages are dwindling, and misery is kicking them to the last drop. The country is bored to death. There is no delight as social events have been given rain check.
The country’s preeminent entertainers, too, are finding it hard to make ends meet. Keeping their heads above the water is grim all because of the contagious contagion, COVID-19. It is survival of the fittest, and only a few strong ones are surviving.
Team Distant, our very own Afro/Deep house duo, too, felt the heat. The Kave Ngoma hitmakers, who initially were four, and now cropped to two, went international before COVID-19. The duo decided to spread their wings and learn different cultural music to explore more diverse cultures and probably have fun. The ‘I believe I can fly’ dream was cut short by the devastating pandemic.
In an exclusive interview with WeekendLife this week, one of the group members, Aron Motlhabane, said COVID-19 has utterly affected their music plans for two years, leaving the duo crashed. “We are travel enthusiasts, and in 2019, we made it upon ourselves to travel abroad and gain more experience music-wise. The tour was cut short by COVID-19, and in the entire process, we lost so many international gigs. There is absolutely zero income coming in,” Motlhabane said.
However, that did not deflate the duo, and attention shifted to creating more music and trading it online. Team Distant is one particular band that sells music on digital platforms (iTunes, Spotify, and Deezer).
“We created more content so that by the time they lift the ban on entertainment, we have something to feed our followers and entertain them. COVID-19 affected us severely, but somehow we picked few lessons. We hope for the best, though, with time, and that’s when our aspirations will resume,” he said.
Motlhabane told Weekendlife that the duo has been releasing Extended Plays (EPs) with international record labels. Team Distant worked with Nngondona record label in Kenya, Aluke records in London, and local music producers.
“People have been downloading our music on digital platforms such as iTunes, and of course, we got something from royalties. It is tough to survive now as an artist, but we are grateful that the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development came to the party. It was little monies but better than nothing,” Motlhabane said.
Team Distant has a robust and consistent relationship with La Timmy, a Kasane native DJ. However, the duo identified yet another talented vocalist, Jinger Stone, whom they featured on their latest release, Colder than water.
Her record label recommended Jinger Stone to work with Team Distant on Colder than water, which is currently number one on iTunes. She is relatively new in the music industry, having made her debut appearance a year ago. Aged 19, this young woman is destined for more incredible things in life, and she pounded the song from the hook to the chorus.
THE MAKING OF COLDER THAN WATER
When talking to Weekendlife about the making of Colder than Water, Aaron said the song was created from just two minds getting together to combine something people can dance to. “When I heard this beat, I was shocked. I took a short video using my phone, and I felt something could come out of it. Choosing the vocalist was not hard because the song is sad.
We wanted someone to pour all the emotions into it. I sent the song to Jinger Stone and told her to write something sad that people will all relate to. She did exactly that,” said Aaron. Colder than water is a poetic song with a lot of metaphors that talk about life. It is a feeling. Team Distant was amazed by the demo she sent a day later. “We felt she has that thing that we have been looking for.
She has that powerful energy in her, and we believe in her so much. All hands down for her,” Motlhabane said. La Timmy told Weekendlife that: “It is a bang. A beautiful piece of art. The first time I heard it, I realised that Team Distant is taking a different route which is quite different. I’m impressed.”