The Mqoco sisters bring family feel to SA fashion.

 Nandipha, Yoliswa and Thobeka Mqoco

Nandipha, Yoliswa and Thobeka Mqoco

The Kardashians are not the only siblings dominating the fashion scene. A new bunch of stylish offspring are out to change the fashion game and brands are taking notice.
They include the likes of influential LA-based style bloggers Aimee and Dani Song, modelling sisters Cara and Poppy Delevingne and fashion influencers and artists Urban Bush Babes’ Cipriana and Takenya. Takenya’s also known as TK Wonder Quann.

Haute couture French fashion house Balmain released their latest campaign last week, entitled a “Celebration of the unique and unconditional love of siblings”. The family affair campaign features Kendall and Kylie Jenner, top model Joan Smalls with her sister Erika, as well as models and reality TV personalities Gigi and Bella Hadid.

Here at home, the Mqoco sisters – Yoliswa, Thobeka and Nandipha – dominate
the Joburg and Pretoria social scene and have a big social media following. Based in both cities, the sisters’ call themselves the “The Queens of Wilson” and collectively work in fashion and beauty.

They are listed on The Superbalist 100, celebrating 100 young creatives who are
shaping South Africa’s youth culture. First-born Thobeka, 27, works at Standard Bank in Rosebank but is also a make-up artist and fashion blogger, while Nandipha,19, is a language student at the University of Pretoria, and Yoliswa, 23, a fashion student at Lisof in Pretoria. They are all stylists, wardrobe consultants and personal shoppers.

Thobeka explains that they named themselves “The Queens of Wilson” after their late grandfather Wilson Mqoco, who was their biggest fan. “He loved us dearly and completely
believed in our future success and endeavours. It only felt right to incorporate him in the name the world would know us as,” adds Yoliswa.

What was it like growing up together? Nandipha: I had an awesome childhood. I lived in a home filled with good food, song and dance, love and tons of laughter. There is nothing cooler than saying your sisters are your best friends. Family holidays without a doubt are of my fondest memories.

Yoliswa: We did everything together and went everywhere together. Most of my favourite
childhood memories feature fashion somehow, whether it was trips to the mall or at
home with our mom picking out our matching outfits.

Thobeka: I remember long drives whilst listening to awesome music. One of the highlights was when my sisters were born, and also the first time I went on an airplane. It was an unforgettable experience.

Describe your sense of style and how you complement each other?
Yoliswa: My style is mainly Afro-grunge with a touch of Orientalism. Even though we all have very different styles there is one thing in common – all our styles are very fashion-forward and remain respectful to worldwide fashion concepts.

Nandipha: My style is mood-dependent and tends to be of a chameleon-like nature because I like to have fun with fashion and don’t want to be constricted to one way of dressing. But if one has to put it in words, my style is Bohogrunge with a sprinkle of streetwear and a pinch of minimalism. So you could say I bridge the gap between Thobeka and Yoliswa.

Thobeka: My style is definitely minimal, classy and distinct. I believe in establishing
some kind of daily “uniform”. For example, for work I usually wear black, or black and white with a pop of colour. During weekends, my off-duty look is hats or caps (some sort of headgear), a sports lux look or very casual with high heels.

Who are your style inspirations?
Yoliswa: Locally I really love the artistic flair that bloggers “The Sartists” bring to their fashion and style, and I know the trio of “I See A Different You “ are known mainly for their career in photography, but I really love how they put their outfits together. But I’m truly obsessed with blogger and product designer Tiisetso Molobi of Urban Mosadi. I really think there is no one as innately cool as she is in this country.

Nandipha: I get inspired by a lot of women and even men from all over the globe,
which is why the internet is so awesome. Contrast plays a major role when I get dressed
everyday – I like to express my femininity but still maintain that hardcore edge, Rihanna and Kehlani Parrish know how to seamlessly shift those two worlds together and I absolutely adore them for that.

Thobeka: Locally, designers Oath by Rich Mnisi, Black Coffee, Taibo Bacar and
Laduma. Internationally, I’m inspired by the blogs Micah Gianelli, Sincerely Jules, My Showroom Blog and The Fashion Sight. All these blogs perfectly summarise my style. I love their use of colour, combining pieces creatively and wearing garments in a different way.

Does your work convey a specific emotion or message?
Yoliswa: Yes, in every interview that I’ve done and in all the style talks I’ve given, I emphasise that it’s important for  women to wear whatever they like when they like. Society silently dictates what we should put on every morning and how we should represent ourselves, and I feel really strongly that we shouldn’t fall prey to that notion. I’ve always worn what I liked and I’m being appreciated for that now and inspiring others to do the same.

Nandipha: I think that’s the goal for every creative, but sometimes, because of that, we end up looking the same, sadly. So I strive to be 100 percent me because I know there won’t be any replicas.

Thobeka: Always, I don’t believe in being average or blending in with what should be “in fashion”. I strive to be a more creative version of myself.

What do you think of the current street fashion scene in South Africa?
Yoliswa: I think the general comparison happens with Joburg and Cape Town. In Joburg, people are very intense with their street fashion and are very focussed on following trends. In Cape Town, people don’t take themselves too seriously and have no problems with incorporating classic and timeless trends in their everyday style. Pretoria barely has a fashion personality, but I do think there are a lot of people from there that are on the come-up and will do amazing things in the industry. Durban on the other hand is so relaxed, people there aren’t as fashion dead as they once were perceived to be I’ve met some street fashion kings and queens out there.

Thobeka: The sneaker trend, especially the Adidas Superstar for males and females in Joburg is trending. More people are definitely wearing hats and the bomber, and the army green parka jacket is also very popular.

Who are your favourite SA bloggers?
Yoliswa: I think the blogging scene in South Africa is booming because of social media, however I think it’s over-saturated. It’s becoming harder to weed out the great bloggers from the mediocre bloggers. I really love lifestyle and fashion bloggers Lulama Wolf and Aisha Baker of Bakedtheblog, and beauty blogger Qaanita Orrie of Paperdollsdiary. I appreciate their consistency. When it comes to street-style photographers, I love Cedric Nzaka of Everydaypeoplestories and Trevor Stuurman.

They are really great at documenting street style in the country on their different
media platforms.

Thobeka: Blogging is making people think about their personal style more, however the scene is becoming very saturated. I think it could be more varied, unique and significantly different. Basically, everyone is doing the same or similar thing in their blogs. Bloggers need to become more creative. My favourite blogs are Paperdollsdiary and Fashionbreed.

What is your proudest achievement, so far?
Yoliswa: My proudest achievement so far is having a beautifully written, two page spread in Elle Magazine on my life and my closet. But I feel that above all, my proudest achievement is every time someone stops me at the mall or walking down the street with stories of how I’ve impacted, changed and inspired their lives.

Nandipha: This might sound lame, but it was the time I got my driver’s licence.

Thobeka: Obtaining my BCom degree.

Your handy list of three upcoming trends.

Yoliswa: Kimono-style trench coats, off-the-shoulder cuts and Polo-style

Nandipha: Androgyny for women. White-on-white and oversized denim.

Thobeka: Mom jeans and vintage jeans. Vintage sunglasses and 90s fashion
in general

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