By: Mpho Shelile

Cape Town

In today’s world of modern trends and fast fashion, there is a voice from the past resonating through the bustling streets of haute couture. Meet Retšelisitsoe Mahasela, also known as Jaanu Pearson, a visionary fashion designer and owner of Ancients born in Lesotho and based in Cape Town. She has directed her passion towards reviving ancient art through clothing designs.

In an exclusive interview with Informative Newspaper, she shares insights into her unique approach to fashion. Her inspiration comes from historical garments.

An entrepreneur and the owner and founder of one of Capetown’s most promising luxury clothing brands called “Ancients” shares that she owns a travel company and is also part owner of an entertainment consultancy company called Mahasela Group of companies. She is also a multi-award-winning promoter and is 29 years old.

Reflecting on her journey into fashion, Jaanu mentioned her long history with fashion and graphic clothing. She talked about meeting a person named Ts’epang Shao while at NUL, who owned a brand called Ridic. She eventually became the co-owner of Ridic and managed to expand the brand by securing endorsements from well-known figures such as footballer Tendai Ndoro, who was playing for Orlando Pirates at the time. Jaanu realized her passion for clothing during this period, as people at NUL still remember how she used to dress up during that time. She acknowledges learning a lot from Ts’epang, especially about fabrics, materials, printing, and terms related to the clothing industry.

Honoring Tradition with a Modern Twist for Jaanu, ancient clothing isn’t just about replicating old designs, but it is about paying homage to the craftsmanship and cultural significance embedded in each thread. From the flowing robes of ancient Greece to the intricate, every piece tells a story of bygone eras.

“I have been greatly influenced by Gunna, my friend Richthak, Arosino, and Karoni, especially when it comes to fashion. I am into a masculine fashion taste, and that’s why I tend to favor the more masculine pieces in the Ancients collection, and over the ladies’ collection. The first outfit I ever designed from scratch was a honey shirt and pants set for Ceekaydsprout’s show, taken from the Ancients style. I would describe my style as tomboyish, though not entirely so. I love wearing black clothes, sneakers, SnapBack caps, as well as heels and have a fondness for the 90s look,” she states.

“I also like to keep up with the latest trends. When it comes to the garments, I don’t just replicate the old styles – I blend traditional techniques with modern aesthetics, creating timeless pieces that appeal to both history enthusiasts and fashion-forward individuals”.

When asked about the challenges she has encountered, Jaanu answers, “Like any other person, I have failed I think even more than I have won. While I can not discuss it in detail, I know those failures are the ones that always shaped me into the person I am today. I always just hand it over to God whenever I feel overwhelmed by any failure at all! In 2022 I lost about 5 award nominations by Shining Stars Africa awards and last year one nomination the one by the Africa choice awards making it 6 which was such a big deal to me,” she said.

In an age where sustainability is paramount, she takes a mindful approach to their craft. Each garment is meticulously crafted using sustainable materials and ethical practices, ensuring that their creations not only preserve the essence of ancient fashion but also contribute positively to the planet.

Jaanu is committed to sustainability throughout their design process, sourcing organic fabrics and collaborating with local artisans to prioritize eco-conscious fashion. They demonstrate that style and sustainability can coexist harmoniously, setting a precedent for the industry.

Jaanu’s biggest achievements was seeing One of the fashion Icons in South Africa wearing her brand, his name is Ade or Royal signatures, the popular multi award winning Nigerian signer hit maker Peruzzi Vibes at a show in nigeria wearing Ancients who is also a song writer for many of Davido’s hit records and   Whitemoney, one of the biggest stars in the West African entertainment industry and a multi award winning entertainer and former winner of big brother Nigeria.

One of the most captivating aspects of Jaanu’s work is its celebration of cultural diversity. Drawing inspiration from various ancient civilizations, they create a rich tapestry of styles that transcend geographical boundaries.

Their collections reflect a deep appreciation for the beauty and diversity of global heritage, with influences ranging from the opulent embroidery of the Byzantine Empire to the minimalist elegance of ancient Egypt. Jaanu not only showcases their artistic prowess but also fosters cross-cultural dialogue and understanding through the universal language of fashion.

Jaanu views fashion as more than just clothing; it is a form of self-expression and storytelling. By resurrecting ancient garments, they invite wearers to connect with the past while embracing the possibilities of the future.

To conclude, Jaanu extends heartfelt thanks to her father, her unwavering cheerleader, and her supportive friends who have been instrumental on this journey. Special appreciation goes to Otega Ejeta, whose belief in her and encouragement pushed her to pursue her dreams. “I am truly grateful for their unwavering support”.

In a world where trends come and go, Jaanu’s work reminds us of the enduring allure of ancient fashion. Through their artistry and innovation, they breathe new life into age-old traditions, proving that true elegance is timeless.

And as we marvel at Jaanu’s creations, we are reminded that fashion is not just about what we wear; it is about the stories we tell and the legacies we leave behind. In honoring the past, we pave the way for a more inspired and enlightened future, one stitch at a time.