We’ve seen customised sneakers before, but sneakers completely reconstructed to create another kind of shoe entirely? the innovation speaks for itself, especially when it merges a brand like Nike with traditional Zulu sandals or Mbatata sandals.
Designer, model and musician Thando Simelane is the creator of the unique footwork.
His love for fashion came from watching 101 Dalmations, however the brain strike to create these specific shoes came from noticing the discomfort of Mbatata sandals he expressed in speaking to Business Insider.
Teaming up with his business partner Katlego Leroy Tsoagong (Cozy Bone) the two married streetwear with a traditional South African canvas. The sole of old sneakers, usually Air Force 1s would be used as the sole for the reworked sandal so that comfort could continue with a new local feel.
The designers have worked with the likes of Cape Town’s Chu Swannapha (originally born in Thailand) for the Durban Fashion Fair in 2019.
Since then, creations have continued to flourish, with news that the shoes will be for sale despite a release date remaining up in the air as the business partners seek investors.
Simelane is also a musician. Of his multi-faceted creativity, he notes that “music and design go hand-in-hand. With music, I need experiences to talk about, and design gives me those experiences.”