Having no formal fashion training hasn’t stopped the shoemaker behind “Khechakat” from bringing her creations to life.
Fuelled by the inability to access and afford a pair of R2 000 European designer boots made by Buffalo, Katlego Khethokuhle Chamane, opted to make her own pair and went on to launch them as a part of her brand and business.
Khechakat – a combination of the first three letters of Chamane’s name and surname – is a shoe brand established in 2022 that makes boots with a fuzzy and warm feel that are covered in faux fur – called the “Dawgs”. The shoemaker is now expanding the range with a pair of heels with fur on the sides of the sole, on sale from Monday, May 29.
She believes that naming the business after herself has made it very personal to her. “I think when something is associated with your name, there is a level of respect and there is a level of care that you put in that [would not have been] had it been an abstract name.”
The 20-year-old shoemaker and third-year economic science student at Wits University believes her brand is the answer for people who like fashion but cannot afford luxury brands.
“Usually, you would find that the best things are always the expensive things,” which is why her prices range from R650 to R1 500.
Moshe Kgame (21), a Johannesburg-based all-round artist and Chamane’s creative assistant, said his employer’s vision is inspiring. “I know her vision [is also something] some people won’t get now but I believe in her,” Kgame told Wits Vuvuzela.
Born in 2003 and raised in Dobsonville, Soweto, Chamane’s township background inspired her to make the most of what she had. Khechakat might have started as a pair of DIY boots, but it is slowly becoming a household name among shoe lovers with the likes of South African-based amapiano DJ – Uncle Waffles – already owning a pair.
She sources everything locally in South Africa to help create much needed jobs. At present the venture is self-funded by Chamane.
Her creative process includes deconstructing a garment just to analyse and understand how it was made, before reconstructing it with her unique twist.
Childhood friend and third-year property studies Witsie, Kamogelo Letsoalo (21) described the establishment of Khechakat as a bittersweet journey. “I have watched [Chamane] fight for her brand, I have watched her find suppliers from far places, catch taxis, I have watched every single moment of it,” Letsoalo said.
Letsoalo added that while she isn’t “really into fashion” herself, she admires how Chamane’s free spirit and raw talent translate through her designs.
Chamane said that her greatest challenge is trying to apply herself fully in both school and business. Part of the reason she is yet to launch a website or dedicated social media account, Chamane said she still finding her feet. Without a mentor, “I am learning all these things for the first time and on my own,” she added.
She currently sells from her personal Instagram account – @Khetho – and it is rare to find a pair ready for you to buy immediately after directly messaging her. “I usually take seven days to make a shoe, sometimes a single weekend if it is a [priority] order,” she said.
Her expansion plans for Khechakat include going in the direction of heels of different types and bags, so she can achieve longevity and reach greater markets.
FEATURED IMAGE: A pair of the highly anticipated heels with fur on the side of the soles, that are being launched on Monday, May 29. Photo: Otsile Swaratlhe
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