Meet The Makers: KOEKSUSTER
We chat to the bra-makers, taste-makers and girl power force behind Cape Town's Koeksuster brand.
"In short we want to promote a message that tells girls you can be of any size, color or sexual orientation and still wear beautiful lingerie purely for yourself".
Q. How did the idea of Koeksuster come about?
Koeksuster started as an idea for a business studies project. I ended up loving the project so much and putting so much work into the concept that I just had to launch it in real-life. I've always identified as a feminist, but I realized that a lot of people are still hesitant to embrace feminism.
I wanted to create something that starts a conversation about feminism, where we're encouraged to learn and grow. In short we want to promote a message that tells girls you can be of any size, color or sexual orientation and still wear beautiful lingerie purely for yourself.
Q. What makes your brand unique?
I think in a way Koeksuster is my personal take on what feminism is to me. Koeksuster is almost like my alter-ego. The word "koek” is Afrikaans slang for a woman who is extremely conservative. In simplest terms a koek would be the Afrikaans word for a prude. The name was chosen for the brand, because I felt a loss of representation in feminist circles for women who are not extremely vocal about who they are sexually.
Although I support feminists who can blog and talk publicly about all aspects of their lives and support all that they are saying, this feminist confidence often made feminism intimidating to me. I think Koeksuster is unique in advocating for a more inviting feminism, where we're allowed to be ourselves, and learn at our own pace. I hope this approach makes Koeksuster relatable in a unique way.
"I think Koeksuster is unique in advocating for a more inviting feminism, where we're allowed to be ourselves, and learn at our own pace."
Q. I really love the art work on your site, what inspires this and what is the process of this?
Thank you! All of the illustrations are inspired by the female experience, and I am inspired daily by all of the incredible work of my fellow creatives. There are so many incredible feminist projects happening around the world and especially in South Africa, it's almost impossible to not be inspired by all the creativity and inspiration around us. I guess my process is very much researched based, I often read about a specific topic and be likely to create illustrations inspired by it.
Q. What beauty products you're using at the moment?
I tend to fall behind a bit when it comes to beauty trends, but at the moment I absolutely love vegan skincare brand Deity skin. Regrettably I'm always on the run and forget to put make up on most of the time.
Q. What is your advice on balancing creativity with business?
I think business can actually be really creative! I've been surprised with how much I've been enjoying certain aspects of the business side of things. There is a sense of creativity in business when it comes to finding solutions, networking and planning. My creative side does make me a bit scattered brained though so I think it's important to be aware of what you struggle with and to be open to asking for help.
Q. Complete the sentence.
Being a female entrepreneur is _inspiring__ because of _the incredible fellow creatives and Boss ladies in South Africa__.
Q. What does self-care look like to you?
I associate self-care with rest. I am very guilty of not being able to switch off, and I'll have to admit that fully switching off is super hard for me, as Koeksuster seems to always be on my mind. I'm really lucky that some of the work I do for Koeksuster can actually be really relaxing, so if I feel over-worked I'll just switch to doing something that calms me down. Doing some of the simple sewing jobs can take my mind off of things and becomes a self care routine. If some of the admin work is stressing me out I can switch to sitting and illustrating with a cup of tea for an hour.
Q. Best song to workout to?
I can only work out to something very upbeat as I need something that keeps me hyped up. My all time feminist fave is probably Bad Girls by M.I.A.
Q. Future plans for your brand?
Except for some new designs that will launch really soon I also want to push the Koeksuster lookbook to become more conceptual. I'm also planning on reviving the Koeksuster blog, I want the blog to feature way more think pieces and . Finally my dream is for the brand to become for Intersectional, including experiences from all over. Become more sex-positive, more educational, more LGBTQ+ positive and to be a safe space for anyone who wants to learn or talk more about feminism.
"Finally my dream is for the brand to become for intersectional. Become more sex-positive, more educational, more LGBTQ+ positive and to be a safe space for anyone who wants to learn or talk more about feminism.."
Check out the Koeksuster site here.