Fashion Practitioner and interdisciplinary artist, Lesiba Mabitsela was born in Pretoria, Gauteng in 1987. In 1991 he would come to call Noordwyk, one of South Africa’s first mixed-race suburbs, in the north of Johannesburg home, where his studio practice (based between Noordwyk, Midrand and Cape Town) continues pursuing creative interventions that trouble the spaces between fashion, design, visual and public art.
As a multi-skilled visual artist, Mabitsela incorporates costume, video, photography and performance into his work, using his background in fashion design to explore notions of Cultural Capital found in the relationship between post-colonial perceptions of ‘blackness’, gender, religion and symbolic underpinnings of Western beauty and aesthetics.
Mabitsela has an interest in the construction of clothing and the use of clothing as a tool for political resistance and as a critique of the current landscape in contemporary fashion, and the politics in constructing identities. In Mabitsela’s work, the garment becomes an extension of one’s lineage - communicating one’s history, culture, social hierarchy and aspirations whilst the gaze becomes the tool in which we receive those hidden messages.
Aside from his artistic pursuits, Mabitsela is the founder & creative director of Lesiba Mabitsela Studio (Pty) Ltd, a made to order luxury clothing brand and creative studio established to produce transdisciplinary projects by exploring African fashion histories & identities through a practice that is underpinned by critical fashion & performance studies & an interest in immersive technology.
Mabitsela is also a founding member of the African Fashion Research Institute (AFRI) , a member of the Einstein Circle on Fashioning Education & a former recipient of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation scholarship, contributing to the completion of his studies in theatre & performance under the guidance of the Institute for Creative Arts (ICA).