Lerato Ngoepe: Miss South Africa 2020 Top 35 Finalist & Noko Thrifts Founder Chats To Us

Lerato Ngoepe: Miss South Africa 2020 Top 35 Finalist & Noko Thrifts Founder Chats To Us

Share a little background that you would like the world to know about you?

I am a multi-passionate 26-year-old from the South of Joburg, Orange Farm. I spent a bit of my childhood with my grandparents in Mpumalanga and then moved this side when I was six. I have a bachelors degree in Information Management. During my varsity years, I got scouted by a Johannesburg based modelling agency and have worked with some pretty amazing brands such as Edgars, Iwisa and Avroy shlein. My 2020 highlight was definitely being a Miss South Africa top 35 contestant, and it is during that exact time that I started my thrifting business.

We’re in the midst of a global pandemic that’s changed our everyday lives – How are you coping?

I was part of the first group of people to lose their jobs at the beginning of the pandemic, so  I am a bit ahead of the game regarding reinventing myself in these uncertain times. I had to start learning how to pull a one-man show’ casting video for all my auditions and also find other streams of income, so as much as it is emotionally overwhelming and everyone wants their ‘normal’ lives back I for one have gained so much insight about myself, my strengths and how I can be of services to others.

What would someone never guess about you?

 I am terrified of cats..lol.

lerato ngoepe

How would you define your personal style?

 Much like my personality, my personal style is fairly reserved. Less is more, and I show more of that by gravitating more towards neutral colours. I am inspired a lot by Parisian/ French style. Its effortless, chic and overall timeless.

What is your earliest memory of Thrifting?

I am fairly new in the thrifting community but not in wearing preloved items. I have many older female cousins and would constantly take their “old” clothes whenever I visit because I rarely gained weight so even with my cousins that were the same age I’d always take some items that were wasting away in their closet. I started thrifting for myself late 2019, and I had no idea what I was doing. I was so used to going shopping and getting whatever was in ‘style’ that time, that I was a bit lost with all the variety of items I was exposed to when thrifting.


noko thrifts

How would you describe the culture of thrift/ sustainable fashion in South Africa?

I have noticed that people generally associate thrifting with vintage styled items. There is definitely more room for different types of fashion aesthetics within the South African thrifting community. It is getting easier to thrift people’s closets or from a thrift store, so people realise “new” doesn’t always equal “quality”.

What was the inspiration behind starting Noko Thrifts?

For the longest time, I struggled with finding clothing items that fit the aesthetics I wanted. I spend a lot of time on Pinterest creating mood boards of the different outfit, so when I started thrifting for myself and recreated looks from my mood boards, I instantly knew that there is a niche of people like me that prefer certain fashion aesthetics that fast fashion doesn’t always cater for. I knew I had to help bridge the gap between the ‘dreamy fashion aesthetics’ certain individuals have that they think is unattainable. Basically, the idea behind Noko Thrifts is to help individuals achieve their dreamy fashion aesthetics within their budget and do it sustainably.


What are your hopes for the fashion industry?

Accessibility to quality clothing items plays a big part in Noko Thrifts. Hence, I want to witness more quality items and just people taking better care of the items they already have.

What are some of the challenges you experience in your business?

Currently, the biggest challenge is sizing. We all have different body types, so it becomes tricky telling clients the exact size of an item by just wearing it and seeing how it sits on me, especially because most of the items from Noko Thrifts have international sizing.

What is the one item of clothing that would make you happy if you lost everything on a deserted island?

Definitely an item that’s linen. I love linen; I could wear linen items the entire year if I could!.


Noko Thrift


See more from Lerato: Slow Fashion enthusiast & Personal Stylist on her Instagram

See other fashion related posts here



Cwayita Bizana
Cwayita Bizana

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