Designer’s sneakers make a statement



MASERU – Mashape Jae from Peka, in Leribe has become a pioneer on the local designer sneakers scene with his brand Statemnt. These fashionable running shoes, priced at M1300 and available in sizes 4–10, are gaining popularity not only at his main showroom in the Metcach building but also nationwide and internationally. Jae, at the age of 27, reflects on his beautiful childhood in Peka, where he grew up with his two sisters. His memories include crafting clay and wire cars, which he sold, showcasing his entrepreneurial spirit from an early age. During school holidays, Jae and his friends engaged in herding animals and enjoyed the outdoors, exploring indigenous plants, birds, and animals.

It is inspiring to see how these childhood experiences have shaped him into a successful entrepreneur and designer. Jae’s reflection on his childhood experiences, where he did not always get everything he wanted, resonates with many. He acknowledges that such experiences contribute to the drive to work hard and achieve one’s goals. His educational journey took him from Maboee Primary School in Maputsoe to St. Agnes High School in Teyateyaneng, and he completed his studies with a Diploma in Mechanical Engineering from Lerotholi Polytechnic.

Although he describes himself as a mechanical engineering technician, he admits that the broad nature of mechanical engineering has been an eye-opener for him. For example, learning Computer Aided Design (CAD) during his studies has proven beneficial in his current work with various design software.

In describing his business, Jae emphasises that Statemnt is all about creating sneakers that make a statement. His designs incorporate elements that resonate with Basotho culture, with the latest release, sublabel Selemela, drawing inspiration from a group of stars significant to the Basotho people.

The choice of the name reflects the importance of cultural identity in his brand, blending it seamlessly with his unique style.

The incorporation of Selemela stars into the design of Statemnt sneakers, especially in the sublabel Selemela, adds a cultural and symbolic depth to the footwear – the other label is Nalane. The star’s role in guiding agricultural activities and marking the new year in Basotho culture is a meaningful touch. The embossing stamp of the Mokorotlo hat at the heel, with its seven stars representing Pleiades (Selemela), further emphasises the connection to Basotho traditions. The inclusion of the text “Selemela” below the Mokorotlo hat ties the design together, making it a visual representation of cultural significance.

Jae’s decision to venture into the local sneaker game in January 2022, breaking away from the traditionally apparel-focused fashion industry, showcases his innovative spirit. Being a proud pioneer of local sneakers, he introduced Statemnt Footwear around mid-2022 and has since been making strides in the industry. While the business has seen success, Jae acknowledges the challenge of maintaining consistent stock levels, especially after festive seasons. Despite this obstacle, he expresses determination to improve and overcome it. With two permanent and several part-time employees, the business is actively working towards ensuring a steady supply of finished products.

Additionally, Jae’s involvement as the founder of the Inventor World Computer Academy demonstrates his commitment to community impact. Through computer literacy courses, the academy has made a positive contribution to hundreds of Basotho. Importantly, Jae reveals that the funds generated from his computer training business played a pivotal role in initiating Statemnt Footwear, highlighting the interconnectedness of his ventures.

Jae’s aspiration for Statent Footwear reflects a deep commitment to community development and brand excellence. He envisions the brand not only as a provider of stylish and elegant footwear but also as a significant source of employment for Basotho.

The design of Statemnt sneakers is a testament to Jae’s dedication to quality and durability. Crafted from genuine leather with a natural rubber sole and a synthetic, breathable inner lining, these sneakers are engineered to last while making a bold fashion statement.

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