This Woman is Painting the Fashion World RED

by
Tshego ‘Red’ Mosiane is a 21 year-old freelance fashion writer, curator, director, producer and Founder of REconnecteD. She has dedicated her life to creating the kind of fashion content that she believes is directly needed in South Africa. Many may know Red from her trending fashion critique threads on Twitter but her fashion knowledge goes far beyond that with her website and REconnecteD channel on Youtube.

Earlier this year, two of REConnecteD’s productions have garnered global critical acclaim, episode 1 of ‘SUBS,’ a series, was selected to show at Fashion Film Festival Milano during the 23-25 September event. The episode explores Braamfontein in Johannesburg, an area that has been dubbed the “creative hub” of the city.  “Braamfontein is pedaled by mainstream media as a place of the latest trends as seen on influencers but a majority of the buildings are student accommodations for nearby universities. So, what is the truth? Is every girl a baddie or following the same blogger trends? Is every guy a sub-category of hypebeast?” These are the questions the episode sets out to answer by interviewing residents of Braamfontein about their fashion interests and what they actually wear on a daily basis.

 CAREFREE is a “performance art fashion film to bring attention to the volatile environment in which the sexual harassment of womxn occurs because of our clothing choices.” It is selected to showcase at the Carribean Fashion and Arts Feature Festival 2017 . This festival runs from 12-14 October in Trinidad and Tobago. 
‘Red’ answers some questions for us about her channel, the birth of ‘SUBS’ and how CAREFREE is an example of impactful fashion content.
 What was your motivation when starting the Reconnected TV channel? 
I have consumed a lot of fashion content in my life from a very young age – both copy and video – because I love learning about this industry but noticed that there isn’t much of the kind of fashion content I like to watch produced locally. By that I mean insightful and informative but easy to understand even for the non-academic viewer. So I decided to start doing my own, starting with the YouTube channel but that has since grown to a full website, www.reconnected.co.za, with articles too since first and foremost, I am a writer at heart.

Why the choice of video as a medium to explore fashion conversations in SA?
Fashion is easier to relate to and understand with visuals really. The type of content I create on the channel is multilayered in that just writing about it wouldn’t be enough to get the message across. Seeing mannerisms, hearing tones of voice, seeing the surroundings, etc. gives a better sense of context and reduces the chances of your message being distorted because everything is right there in front of your eyes. This is important for the type of documentaries, films and interviews on our channel.
What would you like REconnecteD TV to achieve in the SAn fashion media industry?
I honestly don’t think like that. I hope we contribute to the progression and innovation of local fashion media, obviously, because if not then that means we’re contributing to it’s stagnation but it’s not like a main focus. I have no delusions of how this industry really works and where I fall in the ego politic fueled hierarchy. I just want REconnecteD to be a platform people trust and keep coming back to read or watch. I have a lot of things in the pipeline so hopefully as we do more, people will trust more.

What is the series, ‘Subs’ born out of?
SUBS is an original doccie series I do with Tseliso Monaheng where I explore different fashion stereotypes and subcultures across Africa, beginning with South Africa. I came up with the idea a few years ago while I was still in high school actually, because I’ve long been sick of only hearing about subcultures and stereotypes that are mass marketable because in that their original message or narrative is lost or perverted by vultures who don’t even form part of it. Misrepresentation irks me with all my heart, like, rather leave it alone. So in the series it’s basically me either debunking stereotypes that aren’t necessarily true (episode 1 in Braamfontein) or going to find out more about the reasons behind an apt stereotype/subculture (episode 2 in Laudium).

What is your opinion on what gets to be categorized as a sub culture?
It’s subjective. Subcultures in fashion basically mean a group of people who are like minded in some way (age, stan groups, interests, etc) and how that’s communicated through how they dress. It’s not just the mass marketable definition people have incorrectly limited it to like goths, hypebeasts and skhotanes. So for me, since I know how to connect dots like that it is quite easy to spot but also it’s quite diverse. If you can substantiate it, you can argue that we are all in some kind of fashion sub culture or a few at once  because nobody’s sense of style is 100% unique.

Carefree is very obviously a statement on rape culture in South Africa and how it’s linked to victim-blaming through clothing, etc. Why the decision to juxtapose this with the notion of being “carefree”? 
 The idea of CAREFREE came from conversations both myself and the visual artist I collaborated with, Kalai, have had with other people about how there’s a huge difference between the outfits women pose in on Instagram than what we see walking down the street. That’s because online we can show skin in public, express our sexuality or identity through how we dress, etc. without risking immediate sexual assault. So we, as South African women (and many women around the world) cannot be carefree in how we dress. There are things we’d want to wear out but then  don’t because this is something that is always at the back of our minds. So, to us, these things are directly related.

 Do you think fashion has a responsibility to either comment or respond to societal concerns and issues? 
Honestly, that’s the difference between impactful fashion and just clothes. If designers and media don’t use their platforms to express some kind of view on society today then what’s the point? Then you’re not utilizing fashion  for what makes it captivating, it’s supposed to be a reflection in some way to society of that time. That’s partly why local designers and media don’t have impact. They create from their own little fantasies. We don’t live in Narnia, we live in 2017 and you can’t just give people clothes. Anyone  can make clothes. What message/beliefs are they spending their money and support on? Do they agree with you?

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