hl next level 2018: assistant creative director at leopard frock, daisie-jo grobler

Trevor Stuurman
We fell in love with this Joburg-based, Free State-born collage artist and fashion designer’s ouma-inspired imagery a while back, but fast-forward three years and she is the assistant creative director to design legend Marianne Fassler. Daisie-Jo Grobler's work is a heady mix of digital art, embroidery and her own photographs – a power combo that saw her stand out at a recent group show at Kalashnikovv Gallery.

 how did you got started?

I started working for Marianne Fassler after completing my studies at Elizabeth Galloway Academy of Fashion Design in 2015. I love being part of the creative process at Leopard Frock. I don’t necessarily feel that I have to confine myself to one space within the local industry. I am creatively active in art and fashion and cannot separate the two. I guess I am still getting started.

did you always want to be doing what you’re doing now?

Yes, I have always wanted to create things, and making clothes is always exciting because everything changes so rapidly. Never stagnant.

do you have particular favourites among the works you’ve created?

Like Marianne always says, ‘It’s the next one, skat.’

any artists you look up to and/or creatives on your radar?

Jamal Nxedlana, Tabita Rezaire, Marlene Steyn, Fela Gucci, Nico Krijno, Laura Windvogel, Manthe Ribane  and Lezanne Viviers.

where do you find your inspiration?

In my surroundings, where I grew up, who I grew up with, and who I surround myself with now. The contrast of traditional Basotho garments with the Chanel suits of European expats intrigued me from a young age. I grew up in rural Free State/Lesotho. My grandmother was a master embroiderer and I’ve brought this part of my heritage into my work. My ouma was a very big part of my life, and her flower gardens and embroidery still inspire me today. I like being aware of what is going on around me but I don’t religiously follow trends. When someone feels beautiful you can see it in the way they carry themselves, that’s what matters. Honesty over perfection. Africa. Inner-city joburg. My ouma. Karoo.

what are your earliest visual memories?

My ouma’s flower gardens and her embroidery – and not visual, but the smell of rooibos tea on the stove.

which single place would you recommend people visit, and why?

Johannesburg and definitely Lesotho.

what is the next project that you are working on?

Every day is a project, I'll let you know when I discover or figure it out.

Learn all about the game changers who are taking things to the Next Level in our #HLNEXTLEVEL2018  issue.