Featured workChris Saunders: The Smarteez

In this photography and film documentary series, Chris Saunders brings to light the style and creative process of four young designers from Soweto, who form a DIY fashion “crew” called the The Smarteez.

The documentary follows Kepi, Sibu, Floyd and Thabo – the designers behind The Smarteez Collective – around Johannesburg, tracing their sources of inspiration as well as the colourful fabrics that they adapt and combine for their vibrant creations. As part of a young generation of South Africans born after the struggles against apartheid, The Smarteez admit to being different from the preceding generation; they are less committed to political issues and instead struggle against blandness and conformity by fighting for self-expression and challenging stereotypes. In their refusal to be defined by roots or race, The Smarteez take control of their identity, repositioning themselves as bold, original and creative in their approach to fashion and style, the makers of a whole new fashion scene in South Africa.


  • Archival inkjet on Hahnemühle Museum Etching paper, 58.7 × 80.8 cm © Chris Saunders

    Chris Saunders. The Smarteez, 2010. Lethabo Tsatsinyane for Dazed Magazine.