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A snapshot of our cover story with Levis

‘Tis the season to be jolly and Levi’s is inviting women of all shapes and sizes to revel in their beauty. The curvy jeans range is a love letter to African women. Here, our favourite influencers let us in on their journey with the iconic denim brand, and share how they’re styling their jeans this festive season.

Pitsi Sathekge

Lifestyle Content Creator

Photography: Simz Mkhwanza

“Being on a campaign that celebrates curvy women of all shapes and sizes means a lot to me”, says Pitsi, affirming that it makes her feel seen. Reflecting on her journey with Levi’s, she says that it dates back to her varsity days.

“When I was a fashion student, we’d go thrifting in the CBD, and on some days we’d find Levi’s Jeans; it felt like such a win! The brand was also a part of my journey coming into my own; having so many changes take my place in my body yet still being able to find the perfect pair of Levi’s Jeans.

About this particular fit, she says, she loves how comfortable it is, “the fabric feels good on my skin and the high waist fit with no gaps on the back of my waist is a dream for us curvy women.” So what does this campaign speak to? “It speaks to women at large.

At the core of it, it’s about embracing our curves, feeling good and confident.”

Expanding on her approach to brand alignment, she says it’s always been about relatability. “I want to build a relatable brand and connect with brands I use organically, this allows me to speak on my experiences truthfully in order to evoke a response from my online community, allowing us to start those important conversations.”

Denim is fun because it’s versatile, and Pitsi says she likes to style her jeans with an oversized T-shirt and a pair of sneakers on days where she’s leaning more towards comfort.

“On nights out, I like to wear my jeans with a structured blouse or an oversized blazer with a good pair of heels.” Describing her style as practical, playful and chic, she says she enjoys denim because it allows her to dress up or down to suit the occasion. So what does she want her outfit to say about her when she walks into a room? “I want it to always be a reflection of how I’m feeling, I want my outfits to exude confidence , strength and energy before I even speak.” About her approach to storytelling, she says it’s about taking her audience along with her on the journey, “I believe storytelling should spark a light in the next person.”

And where is she rocking her Curvy jeans this festive season? “I’ll be rocking my jeans to all of the festive events and functions.” Stating that when she looks good she feels good, she adds that she needs to feel comfortable to exude the confidence to walk into a room and command attention.

Grace Motswa

Health and Beauty Content Creator

Photography: Simz Mkhwanza

“This campaign has made me feel like I belong. It has reminded me that I deserve to be celebrated,” affirms the fitpreneur. As a woman in fitness, she says hers was a rocky start. “I felt like I didn’t belong in the fitness industry because of my body structure. I believed that I needed to look a certain way to be accepted but as time passed, the world changed and we are now in an era where beauty standards have evolved. You don’t have to be slim to be considered fit.” Further noting that we all have different body types, “and most us, especially in the black community, are naturally curvy, it’s in our genetics.” Elaborating on her take on the era of inclusivity, she says “curvy fitness trainers and influencers have redefined beauty and fitness standards, proving that we can still lift, squat, run and even surf with our slim fit sisters and still feel like we belong.” Cognisant of the role Levi’s has played in championing

the movement, she credits the brand for giving curvy ladies a sense of belonging, and validating them. “This has once again boosted my confidence, making me feel like I am where I should be and not just taking up space.” What does she love most about her particular fit? “It's stretchy material for me! Being able to size down so every part of the jean itself can do its job. It fits from the waist and stretches as it goes down my curves, holding everything together without making me feel uncomfortable.”

Considering that this collab fits like a glove, I ask her to elaborate on her approach to brand alignment? “It has to be storytelling. I feel that as a brand you need to know what it is that you’re trying to communicate to your clients or audience. For example, as a personal brand that tries to communicate fitness and wellness where things like body positivity, confidence and being true to your authentic self come into play, I’m always mindful of brands I work with. Enlightening that she asks herself questions like how does the brand’s values align with my brand? Do I resonate with the brand? Who are their audience? etc. From there I will then know if I should work with the brand or not. It’s very important to me that my story gels with the brands and I’m not in a space where I’m trying to be someone else to please the brand in the process, because if the story between the brand and service delivery does not flow, your audience will struggle to relate to whatever is being communicated to them.”

Her thoughts on the messaging around the curvy campaign? “I just love how the brand has managed to make sure every woman no matter which shape or size feels included. Being able to fix so many issues for different women coming from different backgrounds and cultures, and having different styles and bringing out the same feelings in every woman.

The feeling of being comfortable in our own skin, belonging and being valued is amazing!”

Sinenhlahla Mbhele

Lifestyle and Skincare Content Creator

Photography: Simz Mkhwanza

Opening up about her childhood, Sinenhlanhla shares that she’s always been curvy, and this made her feel insecure about her body. “I went through a phase where I was ashamed of wearing pants and only wore skirts and dresses because of my curves. I hated how pants would highlight them, and how it made me prone to the male gaze and being sexualised.” Looking back at this difficult time, she says she wasn’t equipped to deal with it, and it makes her feel sad that she felt this way considering how young she was. “So this is all for little Sne, she deserved to wear whatever she wanted, without any restrictions or shame.” Even though her journey with Levi’s started recently, she says her parents have always been fans of the brand as this was the only denim brand they recognised in her household. “Mine began earlier this year when I attended a Levi’s Curvy event, “we got the opportunity to pick jeans and try them on. I was impressed when mine fitted well. That one event landed me here and I’m so grateful!” So what was it about this particular fi t that captured her heart? “I’m obsessed with the fact that it fits all my curves comfortably, without needing to squeeze myself into the jeans and they fi t my entire bum, which is very rare. That was an instant 10/10 for me.”

Her take on the Curvy campaign? “It celebrates South African women and also speaks to those who have lost hope in finding the correct size for jeans and it removes the shame of selecting large sizes.” Emphasising that inclusivity is the focal point, she notes that Levi’s has done this well. “From my experience, most brands don’t reflect the true essence of South African women and their bodies.

As a curvy woman, I often feel ignored because I struggled for years to find a comfortable fit. Levi’s truly celebrates and embraces the term ‘curvy’ so well.”

She further notes that “the jeans have a bit of a stretch but also maintain their impeccable quality. It’s so well thought out and zoomed in on the essence of what a South African woman needs in a pair of jeans – to feel like her best self and to exude confidence.” Considering that Sne prefers to work with brands that allow her to express herself freely and honestly she says Levi’s is a perfect fit in this sense too. “I also gravitate towards a brand that sells a product I believe in and that resonates with the values that I hold, that to me is extremely important.” About her style, she says it depends on the occasion, “but mostly very relaxed, with a bit of effort and always accompanied with a hint of gold jewellery. And how does she like to style her jeans? “I definitely gravitate towards a comfortable look when I style jeans, pairing them with a cute but minimalistic top, sneakers or sandals. I’m also not afraid of dressing them up with an oversized blazer, heels and a small bag.” Sne and her jeans are heading home to KZN for the festive season, “and then we’re going to Cape Town to bring in the New Year together. In my eyes, they’re the ultimate travel bestie!”

Read the full cover story in our Dec/Jan issue, now available in-stores and online. Grab your digital copy, here.

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