Dockers enlists Selema Masekela for capsule collection dedicated to surfing
A few months after the launch of a capsule collection with the golf brand Malbon, Dockers invited the press and some influencers to a surfing day followed by a presentation at the Soho Little Beach House Malibu.
On the program, the revelation of a capsule collection made with Selema Masekela. The 51-year-old, son of South African jazz musician Hugh Masekela, known for his role as a sports commentator for ESPN, NBC and NBC Sports Network, and also musician in his band Alekesam, producer and actor, unveiled his first collection with the brand Dockers. A five-piece capsule of crewneck sweatshirts, two unique tees and classic chinos with graphics created in collaboration with illustrator Rannel Ngumuya and inspired by Selema's passions for music, surfing and his South African heritage.
FashionNetwork.com: How did you get connected to the surf world?
Selema Masekela: I was born in Los Angeles. I grew up in New York and moved to San Diego when I was a teenager. My parents drove in an old truck with no idea where we were going. I discovered surfing by being immersed in a town where the entire community was involved in that culture. There was no one like me, that looked like me. Surfing looked like dancing for me. The way surfers were doing, the rhythm of wave looked like break dancing. That’s what it felt like to me. I wanna learn how to dance at that!
FNW: How did you approach this sport in which African-Americans were not present ?
SM: At school, when I wanted to learn surfing, people were like “but you people don’t even swim, what do you mean you want learn how to surf?” They thought they were giving me a public service message. It made me hungry. I've run up against every single type of delivery of racism in the form of jokes or violence that you could imagine. But they couldn’t take away my joy of being on a surfboard. When you get the chance to stay on the wave, it was for me the first spiritual connection that I never felt with myself and universe ever, it was so powerful. Learning with this dance, there was nothing to stop me. Then, people started to respect me.
FNW: How did you manage to make your place in the sports and surfing world ?
SM: My connection with the surf helped me to get my first job as a receptionist at Transworld Publications in 1992, home of TW Snow, TW Skateboarding and TW Surf magazines, before being hired by ESPN as a reporter. That’s where I really found my people. But nothing was easy. For some people, the idea of play is a sign of weakness or unserious things. That would affect how I was being viewed at my jobs. When I got my job as an intern receptionist, people started to see my passion, my ability to be a storyteller and that’s how it started.
FNW: Is your collection made with Dockers a revenge on life ?
SM: It’s more a 'sweet laughter'. I’m grateful that my childhood instinct has supported me into my adulthood and even into my middle journey of life and to still be close to it, to still be able to build community. It’s just joyful. I know so many people who tried to close the door to me and tell me that this thing was not for me, they don’t even do it anymore. So, to still be able to be here, it’s still filling my existence at this point of my life. The collection is born out of that experience. I want make people who have doubts or feel lonely that there are so many people who are just like them, who have connections and who can open doors. I want make them feel that they can do and be however they choose to be. You don’t have to be locked into a box. You can surf, make music, be an artist, whoever you are !
FNW: Your relationship with fashion is not new, what approach do you take in this field?
SM: Before I became a commentator, I worked in sports brands and created my own fashion brand in 1999-2000, influenced by hip-hop and streetwear. My musical culture, inherited from my father, and my roots taught me to be curious and limitless. For that reason, I also launched in 2021, the new fashion brand Mami Wata, an African surf lifestyle brand using raw materials like spun cotton from Zimbabwe and Malawi. I also have more projects and want to turn Alekesam, name of my music band founded with my friend Sunny Levine, into a new fashion brand. You will know more next spring.
FNW: Nick Rendic, head of design, Dockers, said that this collaboration will appeal to more and more young people to the brand, are you aware of this?
SM: I embrace the fact that the platform that I have makes me visible enough that people are paying attention. I’m humble that a generation of youngers kids see something in what I’m doing. I am also inspired by them. It’s all about exchange.
The Dockers x Selema Masekela collection ($50-$100) will be available exclusively on Dockers.com starting Thursday, September 15.
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