I had the honour of interviewing Masego Morgan, the co-founder of the sustainable fashion brand cnscs_. We discussed sustainability advice, discovering one’s own personal style, thrift-store tips and the benefits of crocheting.
Q. For the readers who do not know you, can you briefly introduce yourself, your message, your style and your philosophy?
A. I’m a slow fashion advocate. I’d say my style is inspired from my personal style as a toddler. I believe that we should wear what brings us joy.
Q. You are playing a major role in promoting sustainable clothing in South Africa, showing that fashion can be stylish, aesthetically pleasing and eco-friendly simultaneously. How else have you worked sustainability into your daily life?
A. I think of sustainability as being decolonised, ethical, low-impact and much more. So I try to live my life in ways that continue my journey to being more sustainable but it is difficult in a capitalist system. I try buy second-hand, from BIPOC-owned businesses, use less single-use items or try reuse them, amongst other things.
Q. What inspired you to get involved with sustainability and fashion?
A. I’ve loved expressing myself through clothing from a young age. When I was two years old I started picking out my own outfits. My parents have also always been into low-impact living and so both have been a part of my life.
Q. As fast fashion attempts to camouflage itself as slow and eco-friendly, do you have any tips on how one, as a young South African person, can incorporate sustainable practices into one's daily life?
A. I think wearing what’s already in your closet and finding new ways to style things and fall in love with pieces is one of the best ways to practice slow fashion. Working on figuring out one’s personal style, mending, thrifting and buying from local brands are also some ways to practice slow fashion.
Q. How does fast fashion negatively impact identity? Do you believe that slow fashion is better at promoting authenticity?
A. I think that finding one’s personal style is important. For me practicing slow fashion has been a part of that process but I don’t want to shame people who buy from fast fashion brands as I don’t know their circumstances. I do think the trend cycles in the fashion industry on a whole has pressured people into feeling that they need to wear certain styles of clothes in order to be trendy and that could negatively impact personal style and identity.
Q. You have impeccable taste. Your colour combinations are flawless and your outfits are runway-worthy. How did you discover your own style and do you have any tips for those who are struggling to find their own style?
A. Firstly, thank you. What a lovely compliment. I’ve reverted over the years back to my childhood ways of dressing. There were definitely years where I was looking at fashion magazines for guidance and when I look back on those outfits I cringe. But it’s all part of the process. I think my biggest tip would be to play dress up in your closet and take photos of the outfits you like, so you can refer back to them. Where what makes you happy.
Q. To promote sustainable fashion, one thrifts, supports green fashion brands and also, more popularly now, makes one's own clothes. You, for example, crochet. You are very talented, as well. How long have you been crocheting and what inspired you to get started?
A. I learned how to crochet in Grade 3 but I made one granny square for class and then
didn’t pick it up again until June 2021; I really wanted a balaclava and didn’t see any that I could afford or liked so I decided to
make my own. It’s a very intuitive process for me and I don’t like using patterns, but as I’ve created my projects have gotten better.
Q. What is your favourite item in your closet that you have created?
A. All the items I’ve created are favourites. For various different reasons but a huge part is the process of making them.
Q. Apart from creating amazing items, has crocheting had any other benefits?
A. Crocheting for me is a self-care practice, I often do it when I’m depressed and don’t want to get out of bed. I either get out of bed and do it in nature or crochet in bed and it makes me feel less unproductive at the end of the day - which is something I have a lot of guilt around.
Q. Could you recommend some of your favourite thrift shops / sustainable shopping locations for young South Africans?
A. I have a map of all my favourite and frequented thrift stores in the world, but at the moment Oasis Recycling Depot in Claremont is a favourite, ‘cause I’m thrifting a lot of homeware.
Q. Do you have any thrifting tips? Things to look out for etc.
A. For thrifting clothing, I think it depends on personal style. I do think you can find really great denim at charity stores so look out for those. Try and be ethical while thrifting; if you’re not 100% into something leave it for the next person, if you’re a straight sized woman don’t thrift in the plus-size section or thrift menswear to thrift-flip. For homeware, again it’s a personal style thing, but vintage glassware to use for keeping your accessories in is always fun.