Fashion meets festive

Waabo Anwar's t- shirts epitome the gothic fashion
Waabo Anwar's t- shirts epitome the gothic fashion

With the festive season finally here, it is hard to get geared up at the same time keeping up with the latest trends.

While there are no rules on how to wear in this busy time of the year, one upcoming fashion designer, Waabo Anwar, has decided to go all out and build fashion under a simple concept of skull art.

Skull art however is not a new culture. For centuries, skulls have been used as art and decoration and American artists started experimenting with skulls art in the1920s.

By the 1970s, skull imagery found its way into t-shirts, accessories and pop art. It was not until the last decade when we finally saw the popularisation of pop art. There are no boundaries in the way skulls can be used in art today and Anwar is one typical example of a local artist who decided to incorporate the culture in a unique way.

Mostly loved by the local youth, Anwar’s skull t-shirts epitomise the gothic fashion and compliments the summer fashion of shorts and mini-skirts. The t-shirts display an image of a skull etched on a plain background. The skull t-shirts come in different colours mostly white and red. A simple vest and top can be put under the skull t-shirt to allow comfort and avoid bareness. The skull wear is distinct and can suit various fashion sub-cultures like glam rock and skinheads.

In an interview with Arts & Culture, Anwar reveals she used to wear a skull ring and it inspired the idea of incorporating the image into a T-shirt. “I am an artist so the idea came about unexpectedly,” she says. Anwar explains at first she made the t-shirt for herself and people ended up loving the design. “I made them for myself for use at the gym."

The first time she took her t-shirts to the people was last year December at Railpark mall in Gaborone. “I started with 50 T-shirts and they were sold out in one day, I had to go back for more and they were also gone before the end of the day,” she recalls. Anwar says demand got to her and that was when she realised she needed help. “I needed more coverage and I wanted people to know about the T-shirts so I created a Facebook page,” she says.  Anwar says people from as far as Maun and Francistown started calling for more T-shirts. She says at the moment she is trying to find ways to grow bigger than she was last year.

Anwar said she doesn’t just cut-in any other T-shirt, but she uses the ones that have an everlasting effect. “The material is good for what I am doing because when I cut the material it has to have that ceaseless quality." She says she sketches the image of the skull on the T-shirt before cutting. “I am an all round artist because the work that I have done includes fine art,” she says.

Anwar indicates that she registered her trademark last year after people showed interest on her T-shirts. “I decided to make it my own and prevent people from plagiarising my work,” she states. 

In the future, Anwar says she wants to grow bigger and perhaps run a store that sells all her products. “Right now, I am selling my products in the malls as part of marketing.”

Anwar says she has now developed her brand into a T-shirt label. The brand is called Rhodes Skull Wear.  From the beginning, she explains the T-shirts were designed for both men and women but there was a lot of support from the women’s side. “I wore the T-shirts as I sold them so people like to buy what they see,” she says. She says she didn’t have a man to model the T-shirts so the market ended up thinking that the T-shits are for women only. But she says the printed T-shirts will cater for men and children. Anwar says the festive season is when she makes more money.

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