Photography: Jonathan Kope
Styling: Jeandré Venter
Grooming: Suaad Jeppie
Model: Mwesigwa Paul (Twenty Model Management)
Nao Serati’s design ethos is basically a summation of 2017 fashion culture at its best––cheeky, regal and decisively independent. With looks that strike a perfect balance between luxury and streetwear, the Johannesburg-based designer brings us a Spring/Summer collection that stands for elevated rebellion––which makes sense because his inspiration came straight from the source of effortless cool: Beyoncé. Using a delicate (but still bold) color palette, Serati has managed to make beachy look city, and vice versa––so basically, if you’re a Hamptons on the weekend, but fashion during the week kind of girl, these ensembles are all you.
With silhouettes that are smart but not too stiff, and finishing details that relinquish the line of decades comparisons, Nao Serati brings us something simple but still totally different from what we’ve seen this year. It’s not quite athluxury––is that a word? If not, I’m coining it––and definitely not downtown Manhattan skatewear, either. These simple avant-garde looks would work for pretty much any environment, with the right attitude––and that’s Serati’s whole point.
Read our interview with the designer, below, and view the SS18 collection above.
What was on your moodboard this season?
Lots of images of Beyoncé, specifically her “Crazy in Love” album art, along with conversations with FAKA, a South African performance art duo who I grew up with. And lots of vintage Power Rangers images––I imagined that I was creating clothes for the pink Power Ranger on their off day.
How do you describe the NAO SERATI man or woman?
The NAO SERATI person is a total vibe. Always thinking and living and being a part of the world. We are not pushovers, we don’t care what you think of us, and we want to figure out what works best for us.
How does South African culture affect what you do as a brand?
I live and work in South Africa, so my energies are in tune with the rhythm of South African culture––specifically youth culture. Sometimes the 12 languages still leave groups of individuals out of the conversation, so my brand wants to tell those stories and live for those individuals
Is fashion political?
I think fashion is political, I think we could all use fashion to express anger or freedom. Women have used fashion to tell us where they are for years now––we just need to listen
What do you see as your role as a designer, especially in increasingly political times?
I think as creatives, we all have the responsibility to listen to people and find a way to express even louder.
What do you want people to take away from your clothes?
I want people to know that people who wear NAO SERATI have opinions and are going to be vocal about the lives they want to live. We are passionate about living.
What does NAO SERATI stand for?
NAO SERATI stands for freedom.