This November ELLE celebrates the resilience and beauty of the human body. Mobu by Melo is a new plus-sized fashion brand borne of a frustrating lack of representation in fashion.
Around the time she lost her mother, founder Mamello says the garden became a sanctuary for her and her father. The name Mobu is Sesotho for soil, something her father taught her a lot about that for Mamello, indicates the beginning of life.
What type of woman wears Mobu by Melo?
'The kind of woman who waits for validation from no one. The kind of woman that Africa, our mother has been all these years: resilient, defiant, strong and so beautiful. The woman who gets what she wants no matter the adversity, the woman who knows herself thoroughly and is invincible to [sic] this world's lies.'
Melo shot her latest lookbook Seilatsatsi, in the streets of Daveyton. Her eKasi inspired lookbook is an ode to the locals of Daveyton and their love of the township, a nostalgic nod to her upbringing in the village.
"They changed matchbox houses that were created as structures of darkness and gloom into amazing homes that they raised amazing, phenomenal game-changers in"
The lookbook was shot spontaneously when Melo met up with a group of other young people from Daveyton who told her about the history of the township, compelling her to show it to the rest of the world.
Who creates the clothing and where is it made?
'I have two people who I work with. I have an old lady that also practices as a traditional healer and doula back home in Qwaqwa, she cuts for me. I work with a brother from Malawi here in Johannesburg, sometimes we can afford rent for a workshop, and sometimes the dining room in my flat is our workshop.'
Where do you source fabric?
'Everywhere around South Africa, I have a supplier in Ghana and for my next collection my friend Sinalo Ngcaba who is qualified in textiles and graphic design will be making us our own fabric, I am very excited about this!
Melo has been through a lot in her life, but that has not broken her. When it does get tough, because that is the way that life works, Melo dreams a lot, looks to love and family for strength.
"Money is scarce, to start a business, to keep it running, businesses are run by human beings, and human beings are flawed. But we make it through each day".
What are your dreams for the brand?
'For it to grow, as its name forces it to, to be a ground on which others can plant and reap from, and just to make it all better.'
Advice to young women facing body issues?
'You are so beautiful.'