The designer fashioning a body-positive space for women to be empowered
Marli Grobbelaar loves pink, and pretty things too. But she’s no stereotype. With more than enough misconceptions about how women should look and dress, the design student at the Cape Town Creative Academy has set out to use clothing as her weapon against the patriarchy. Grobbelaar is the creator of delicate sleepwear and bralettes that are both comfortable and beautiful. While most lingerie is marketed as sexy – for the benefit of someone to look at – Grobbelaar’s pieces are designed with the wearer in mind, focusing on comfort, body positivity and empowerment.
Grobbelaar’s sleepwear and intimates label, Koeksuster, began as a project for her Business Studies class. With an interest in fashion design – she interned at Elle Magazine last year – the feminist set about creating a range that would speak back to her beliefs. Through Instagram, she garnered a loyal following which propelled her idea into an online business. The brand’s blog also features feminist opinion pieces from guest writers, informative articles on body positivity and sexual health, as well as a call to action for women to support each other.
For those who want to wear their beliefs on their sleeve, Grobbelaar also makes t-shirts embroidered with quirky images and clever wordplay. Pizza rolls, not gender roles. Riots not diets. They’re funny and make a statement, while championing a serious cause. Soft pink hues and a delicate feel contrast with bold statements such as ‘A woman’s place is in the resistance’. Her range shows that there is no one way for a feminist to dress; and allows women the agency to choose how they look.