Convoy designer Merwe Mode is a young South African fashion by Deeva van der Merwe that’s mixing its European street fashion influences with the creativity and independence of South African designs. The idea of Merwe Mode came to Deeva in 2013, but the label officially launched in August 2014 at Boston Society concept store, on Long Street, Cape Town.
Background of Merwe Mode
Deeva graduated from FEDISA (Future Excellence Design Institute of South Africa) with a BA degree in fashion design and business management.
For her final collection in third year she was awarded two of the four ceremony awards, Best Technical Ability and Most Creative Collection.
She then left for a two-month internship at Tom Ford’s studio in London.
“It’s part of FEDISA’s curriculum, one has to get work experience within the fashion industry before graduating.”
The experience at Tom Ford’s studio, says Deeva, really grew her love for menswear tailoring and technical pattern-making. “Pattern-making is the most technical part of the garment construction process, it’s also my favorite part of fashion.”
Her experience at Tom Ford also influenced the visual elements; the clean lines and subtle details, along with the androgyny.
When Deeva conceptualized Merwe Mode, she wanted a Euro street style fashion label, and it wasn’t until Sarah Wocknitz, a graphic designer, came on board that the brand truly came alive.
They concentrated on a couple of designs that were sold over social media. When they noticed their items selling well, they pumped more social media marketing and sourced a couple of well-known people, like rapper Ben Caesar, to be their brand ambassadors.
Q&A with Merwe Mode
Q: When did you know you wanted to be a fashion designer?
A: It was a last minute decision, I originally wanted to be a veterinarian. My mind was made half way through Matric.
Q: What’s it like being in the industry?
A: It’s tough out there, pretty laborious, I find the closest similarity to another career is maybe like a chef? You have to be passionate, fast paced, open to critique and constantly problem solving. It becomes like an addiction, a non stop mind F*$¥”
Q: Do you think you have to be the face of your brand?
A: People like to associate a character behind the art, to understand it. It’s not like a fast fashion outlet, it’s an investment for the customer and I believe they deserve to know.
Q: How would you describe your brand?
A: Subtly quirky, tailored lines, unisex
Q: If you could have any celebrity spokes model, who would it be?
A: Trevor Noah
Q: How do you produce and distribute your designs?
A: I produce everything myself, I distribute through my shop in Johannesburg, Convoy.
Q: Describe the type of woman who would wear your designs.
A: Confident, opinionated, open to evolving garment silhouettes that may not be flattering in the way the media says things should be.
Q: Describe how the latest trends influenced your current collection.
A: They don’t, but who knows what gets absorbed in my subconscious?!
You can find Merwe Mode at Convoy at The Bamboo Centre in Melville Johannesburg or at their studio in Cape Town.