Proudly Sowetan Lindiwe Modiselle’s biggest value is identity. She injects it into her brand from its name, STRSELLE, down to the stories she tells through her designs. She envisions the brand as more than just the next big thing, to her it’s about creating timeless classics and the transformative power of local collaboration in the arts.
What inspired the name STRSELLE?
The name basically comes from my surname. The main thing I wanted was to have something I can carry on throughout my life and a legacy that I leave for my kids, which is why it felt so important to have part of my identity in the name. The brand is still coming. I needed the Chivas Venture programme to realise what I want to create. At the moment, it’s a female streetwear brand that’s all about free will and free spiritedness and essentially, being happy and comfortable with who you are.
What have you learned from Chivas Venture so far?
Always do your research! Before you start anything, you have to be knowledgeable about what you’re getting yourself into and what you want to create. It’s very important for each, and every brand to have and know its identity so that as the owner, when you’re asked what your brand is about, you know exactly what to say. I also learned that I must represent my brand everywhere I go and being proud of my brand by living through it. Finally, I learned the importance of small local companies creating and selling to South Africans instead of importing. We need to be proud of being South African.
What has your most memorable moment been?
I have to say it was pitching the collection to Chivas, and them loving it because afterwards, we partied! It felt amazing, and it was a very proud moment where I felt as though all the sleepless nights and stress was worth it. All of us want this collection to come out and change people’s lives in any way.
What is the most exciting part of the capsule collection?
There’s this one item that I can’t wait to see come to life. Another exciting part of it is seeing the whole project come to life and how the world is going to receive it.
What is your blend for success?
It’s having an amazing aura, a goodness about you that you share with the world. It’s also having the right people around and making connections that fit, staying determined, knowing your vision and working hard towards it. Out of passion comes a product made with love. Stand out, know who you are and don’t shift to make others comfortable. That is my blend for success.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
A lot of people have long-term goals, but I am not ashamed to say that I don’t know. I’m proud of it, in fact, because I believe more in having short term goals that turn into long term goals. Right now, I’m putting effort into building my brand and seeing it come to life how I have seen it in my dreams. Come back and ask again in five years.
How did your mother inspire you to pursue your passion for fashion design?
It wasn’t necessarily about my passion for fashion design but instead, my passion for entrepreneurship. I just wanted to be able to stand on my own and be my own boss and I got that energy from my mother’s independence.
What stories do you aim to tell through the pieces you design?
It’s the story of being. It’s not me trying to divert from the things happening in the world but sometimes it’s amazing to just live and be happy with your choices. It’s about telling stories of personal journeys from the horse’s mouth. I want to create stories that people relate to and to give people to tell their own stories.
Who and what inspires you?
I have a lot of inspirations. Some are random posts I come across on Instagram or an artist or musician. There isn’t anyone specific that I can point to in fashion, I am inspired by different kinds of people who do a variety of things. Essentially, I’m inspired by the world around me.
Lindiwe may not have a 5-year plan but at the heart of STRSELLE is something much bigger; her commitment to using the creation of dope streetwear items to curb youth unemployment and empower more women through fashion. As far as lofty ambition goes, this is definitely not beyond her reach.
Watch Lindiwe talk about her journey: