Tshepo Mohlala, owner of Tshepo The Jeanmaker, the brand that recently set Twitter alight with its R950 jeans. Photo: Supplied
  • For many years, Tshepo Mohlala has been making custom jeans for clients. 
  • Recently he became a trending topic on Twitter after a customer query triggered a social media frenzy.
  • The price of his jeans - R950 - sparked a furious debate about the cost of local clothes. 

Tshepo Mohlala has been producing custom-made jeans for the past dozen years. Three years ago, he established his own business, Tshepo Jeanmaker, in Lorentzville, on the eastern edge of the Johannesburg CBD.

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With an R8,000 loan, he was able to launch his business, which has attracted a lot of attention on Facebook and Twitter - important marketing channels for him. 

His social media pages bring a lot of business, as more and more people ask him to make custom-made jeans for them. 

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However, a recent Twitter request took an unexpected turn for Mohlala.

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A prospective client asked how much his jeans cost.

"I told the user that a pair costs R950 and that is when all hell broke loose."

People lambasted Mohlala for "overpricing" his jeans.

He doesn't take the Twitter backlash seriously and says that there's a thin line between inspiration and envy.

"Like any other business you have to look at your cost of production and market segmentation." Those who agree with Mohlala have come to his defence.

Celebrity photographer Austin Malema and businessman Sibusiso Mahone also supported him. 

"The fashion industry is highly competitive and international brands make it hard for the local industry to thrive," says Mohlala. Textile prices are also expensive, which push up prices. "The economy hasn't been stable in years. I think South Africans should start buying local."

Tshepo Mohlala, owner of Tshepo The Jeanmaker, the brand that recently set Twitter alight with its R950 jeans. Photo: Supplied


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