Shelley Mokoena Keneilwe Mothoa
Home Lifestyle Fashion How Shelley Mokoena and Keneilwe Mothoa Turned Their Thrift Shopwears into Luxury Fashion
Fashion - August 17, 2022

How Shelley Mokoena and Keneilwe Mothoa Turned Their Thrift Shopwears into Luxury Fashion

From turning thrift shop wears into spectacular fashion to being in top publications like Vogue, visionaries and designers Shelley Mokoena and Keneilwe Mothoa have put their love for fashion on a global scale by launching their brand Prime Obsession. 

Launched in 2014 as their passion for design, Prime Obsession immediately gained the attention of the public which rippled into opportunities with local and international brands like Country Road and Woolworths.

These young ladies have presented their collections at the Design Indaba Festival, South African Fashion Week, and Mercedes Fashion Week.

They have launched their first store in Newtown, Johannesburg creating jobs for young people in South Africa. They continue to gain momentum both locally and abroad.

Their bold and intriguing designs are altering the look of South African fashion with their structured, monochromatic approach.


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How Prime Obsession was launched

Shelley Mokoena has always been creative. She enjoyed using her hands to make things.

This fascination led her to pursue interior design, where she eventually met Keneilwe Mothoa, her friend and business partner.

Source: The Throne Mag

While in college Shelley Mokoena and Keneilwe Mothoa could not afford luxurious clothing for themselves.

So they looked into secondhand apparel, which they then modified to make unique pieces for their closets.

They decided to launch a clothing business because of the admiration and interest their designs garnered among their friends. In an interview with Kenny Morifi-Winslow, Keneilwe Mothoa stated,

“People worry too much about searching for the new when there is so much quality in the places people are afraid to look.”

The Beginning of a Clothing Line

Shelley Mokoena and Keneilwe Mothoa did not want to cope with pricey and unreliable models.

They then posed in their own creations and requested photography help from friends. When they posted their work on social media, they received a tremendous amount of attention.

What started as a collection of used clothes developed into a high-end apparel line. Nonetheless, it was able to keep its recognisable, simple appearance.

 Prime Obsession

This high-end brand skillfully combines colours that are opposite but complementing. The fact that the majority of their designs are in black and white is not surprising.

By combining various tones of the same colour, Prime Obsession also shines in monochrome. It is clear that the designers are using their expertise in interior design to produce expressive works of art.

Source: 10AND5

They take advantage of materials like polycotton, organza, and chiffon. Additionally, their basic silhouettes flatter a variety of body types.

Prime Obsession’s general aesthetic has a hip-hop influence, which appeals to the younger generation. 

Shelley reveals where they got their inspiration in an interview with Lindi Brownell Meiring of Visi magazine.

“Our clothing is inspired by different traditions, cultures, religions as well as social issues. These creations translate in a very structural, yet moving and emotional manner, with simple details.’’

The increasing accolades for Prime Obsession

Following the debut of their clothing line, Shelley Mokoena and Keneilwe Mothoa received invitations to work with prominent companies like Calvin Klein and Country Road.

They’ve been highlighted in Vogue. And have presented their creations at the Mercedes Fashion Week.


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