WE LOVE: MEET SOUTH AFRICAN SUSTAINABLE FASHION INFLUENCER MASEGO MORGAN
MASEGO MORGAN IS PART OF A NEW GENERATION OF SUSTAINABILITY ADVOCATES SHARING HER VIEWS AND STYLE THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA. HERE, SHE REFLECTS ON HOW HER BACKGROUND INFLUENCED HER PASSION FOR SUSTAINABILITY, THE POWER AND DRAWBACKS OF INSTAGRAM, AND WHAT THE FUTURE LOOKS LIKE FROM CAPE TOWN.
WARDROBE CRISIS: How did you get started in sustainability?
MASEGO MORGAN: “Unconsciously - through my parents! They are quite environmentally minded. We always had a big veggie garden and chickens. We turned our pool into a freshwater pool with plants in it. It’s now a beautiful dark amber colour from the mountain river water.
“My mom has quite frugal shopping habits that she learned from her father, who grew up during World War II. She always made thrifting seem very cool. When I left home and went to live in Japan, I made the conscious decision to live more sustainably. I live back in South Africa with my parents now and my low-impact lifestyle is definitely largely thanks to their lifestyle and habits.”
WARDROBE CRISIS: Tell us about the conscious initiative you started.
MASEGO: “My best friend Stella and I felt there was a need in South Africa to have a space to talk about sustainability [with a focus on] South African and African stories.
“We wanted to create something that is colourful and fun, because it’s often doom and gloom when we talk about climate change, so we wanted a way to bring in more optimism. We also wanted a space that centred POC and Indigenous knowledge.
“We had been introduced to the concept of sustainability from a Euro-American perspective and didn’t want people to have to go on the same long learning process we had to, by first learning what sustainability meant to Euro-Americans then finally realising that Indigenous cultures back home [in South Africa] have been practising sustainability for centuries…”
WARDROBE CRISIS: Let’s talk fashion, specifically. We know you love of thrifting. How do you put your outfits together? MASEGO: “I started dressing myself when I was two! Sometimes in primary school I would wear jeans and a skirt over that. I really liked that, but sometimes people would cue me into the fact that it wasn’t normal. In Grade 8 I joined Seventeen magazine South Africa’s Style Council. That gave me confidence that even if other people didn’t think I was fashionable, a magazine did.
“These days, I wear a lot of items from my mom that I’ve borrowed ‘long term’ (aka I have stolen from her). She mostly thrifts so my love for thrifting is because of her influence. I use Pinterest a lot to create mood boards. I’m always open when I go into thrift stores and I try everything on. I like to go monochrome a lot of the time. At the moment, I’m really into vests. I’ll pick an item that’s making me really happy that day and work around that. I also listen to music while I get dressed, which puts me in a certain mood and also inspires the outfit.”
WARDROBE CRISIS: What do you think about using social media as your platform? We love your Instagram.
MASEGO: “Social media makes the world smaller in some ways. Instead of waiting for others to give you a platform, you create your own platform. The major drawback is that I used to feel like I had a community, but now as it’s gotten bigger, there are more people that I don’t know. I feel more like I have an audience instead of a community. When you have a community, you feel free to share openly, but when you have an audience, you don’t feel as comfortable. I’ve watched what happens to people with bigger platforms and how their followers turn on them. A lot of my new followers were also after the BLM movement, so it sometimes feels like token followers, not because of my content but because of my skin colour. But the positives do outweigh the negatives for the most part.”
WARDROBE CRISIS: Where do you want to be in 5 or 10 years?
MASEGO: “In 10 years’ time, it will be 2030. There are those news reports that came out that in 2030 we will have irreversible climate change. So it’s a little hard to imagine. I hope we will have gotten to a point where we have taken some action on a global scale.
“On a personal level, I hope I’m working in a way that inspires others to be more conscious. But I also hope that that’s unnecessary. I hope that what I talk about now won’t be necessary to talk about then, because everyone will have done the work.”
WARDROBE CRISIS: What are some fashion and sustainability accounts we should follow?
MASEGO: “My friend Stella does amazing fashion illustrations, I also love her personal style and the way she shares her thoughts. I also really admire Dominique Drakeford, Whitney McGuire and Aja Barber for their views and their style. I also enjoy Oh Honey and Jazmin Vegaz content and style. They both speak about fatphobia and size inclusivity which I think are really important topics. Last but not least, I like That Curly Top’s colorful outfits and draw inspiration from her color combinations.
Interview with Claire Kalikman.