For this collection, OneIAm’s third, the collaborators were his mentor Kassie, who is a creative director, and Mbongiseni Dube, an architect. ‘I met Mbongiseni when I was doing my first show last year. He told me he was keen to collaborate. I don’t sketch so it’s difficult for some people to understand my thinking. But Mbongiseni and Kassie speak my language; they understand me easily.’
When Onesimo first met Kassie, he explained to her that while he’d studied surface design, he was more interested in making commentary about art through clothing and textiles. ‘I thought it was a fascinating approach,’ says Kassie. ‘Onesimo showed me one or two pieces and I thought they were incredible. While we initially had a very loose collaboration, my role has grown into one very much of mentorship. What’s nice about Onesimo and I is that he’s a young creative who’s passionate about making his mark and leaving some kind of an impression as an artist. And what I’m doing from my end is helping to conceive of the big idea, then fine-tuning the concept, and the detailed thinking around it. What I’d like to do next is to help Onesimo on the business side.
‘Unfortunately, this kind of collaboration between young creatives and seasoned creatives doesn’t always happen in this country and it really needs to happen more in order to shift and create more roles in creative fields, whether it’s fashion or art, or design. Collaboration creates fresh perspectives.’