The South African intimates brand celebrates the strength of feminine softness in its fashion film


South African lingerie brand Koeksuster has created its first fashion film addressing themes close to founder Marli Grobbelaar’s heart - sisterhood, solidarity and how to navigate being feminine in today’s social-media-heavy world. The film, directed by Thea Small (one of a band of women who collaborated on the project), is a nostalgic look at high school and the things that define that time of a young woman’s life. “I think a lot of feminist work at the moment is based on coming of age, because not only is this a time when womxn experience a lot of changes, but it's also the time that you feel most scrutinised by society. Both Thea and I had this in mind when conceptualising the film,” says Grobbelaar.

This is a moment in a girl’s life when she feels vulnerable, scrutinised by her peers (and even more scrutinised by herself), all while trying to fit in. So the film intends to show four girls expressing themselves freely in a dreamy world of pinks and pastel blues with a focus on sensuality and touch. And, of course, lingerie. “We wanted to see girls being girls, completely uninhibited, in a space that was completely theirs,” explains Grobelaar. “Koeksuster believes you can be of any size, colour or sexual orientation and still wear beautiful lingerie just for yourself. We’re trying to push the boundaries on what is perceived as conventionally pretty. Growing up I thought people wouldn’t take me seriously if I liked anything that’s traditionally feminine. But as our t-shirts reads, ‘There’s power in being soft’ and so by focusing on delicate intimates, we’re reclaiming femininity.”

Koeksuster was born in 2016 while Grobbelaar was studying business. The idea for a ladies’ underwear and sleepwear brand led her on a journey that involved learning to sew with her grandmother, finding her own screen-printing kit, and creating lacy bralettes for the independent women. The word 'koek' is Afrikaans slang for 'prude', with the name also referring to the South African koeksister sweet dessert.

As well as intimates, the latest Koeksuster collection includes a pinafore dress and checked skirts, which are part of a move into ready to wear. Grobbelaar is also planning to develop the brand’s blog into an educational platform that celebrates other feminist creatives. It doesn’t get dreamier than that.

Direction Thea Small
DOP Jason Prins
Production Lola Mashabane & Chase Musslewhite
Gaffer Patrick Buti
Make-up Marchay Linderoth
Styling Marli Grobbelaar
Art direction Christina Fortune
Photography Natasha Maritz
Cast Terri de Jager, Iman Kathrada, Lucy Mbiola, Maxim Marais
Camera assistance Junaid Rawoot, Chelsea Wiercx
Style assistance Michelle Benade
Production assistance Beth Ribeiro
Editing Tomas Wells
Colouring Brett Wrayner
Music and sound composition Elu Eboka
Voice Liza Scholtz, Tinuke Eboka

Visit Koeksuster

Published on 04/09/2018