Petro Steyn is the creator of and designer for the street wear label SKEET, though these days Steyn says of her designs, ” I don’t know where I fit in? It’s not fashion. It’s not art. It’s couture. It’s avant garde.” Steyn has never really fit in, hence the name, Skeet. The direct translation of the word Skeet from Afrikaans to English is defined as: caprice, fart, hypochondria, imaginary ailment, whim. Skeet was the name her sister Antonia gave her many years ago and her longtime friend Anri du Toit, AKA: Yolandi Visser from Die Antwoord convinced her to name her new label Skeet when it first emerged. “Ninja drew up the logo for me in like less than 3 minutes with his left hand.” Steyn remembers. In many ways, Skeet’s designs carry this whimsical, magical element of design and creation with her latest creations landing her designs on the front cover of the new local hipster magazine, The Lake.
In her earlier years Petro was part of a very prestigious Ballet School which she remembers as very degrading. She says it was like The Black Swan. She wanted to get away from it so she began studying at the Haute Couture School of Fashion Design in Cape Town. Fresh out of Haute Couture she started making hoodies that were also scarves, many one-off pieces, and she began selling her designs at Misfit, the then “It” clothing store for local street fashion in Cape Town. For years she designed under the label Misfit. I tell Petro I still have one of the incredible dresses she designed almost a decade ago. I called it the Chanel dress with a double V low back and front in marble black matte, thick satin fabric and vertically pleated from the waist to the knee. You know if a dress makes it 10 years in the wardrobe and is still there, it is a gem! After attending the Magic Show in Las Vegas to represent Misfit, she decided to start teaching pattern making in the fashion design department as the University of Technology.
She taught for 3 years before getting the itch to design a label again and from there White Noise was created as a street couture label. It was all black and white with cartoony eyes. She did a show at The District 6 Museum and much of her work was sold. This is when she began to really create and source out new and interesting materials to work with. She started getting off-cuts of neoprene from surf shops. She says, “It was like magic. Gluing the pieces together and suddenly I had two animal ears and birds tails and futuristic shoulder pieces.”
In 2008, Steyn launched the neoprene masks and bodysuits at a What if The World Show. Though she didn’t sell a lot at that particular show, it was very well received and led to her inclusion in a Nike campaign for their new shoes “Dunks.”
Petro’s designs took another turn inwards, one could say with her dedication to her practice of Kundalini Yoga. She began designing yoga clothing for Gururamdas studio in Cape Town. She was making harem pants designed for yoga. At the same time her old friends Die Antwoord were becoming increasing popular as they shot to fame through you tube videos with their music and performance. Yolandi and Ninja approached her and asked her if she could design outfits for them to perform in. She made white tracksuits for both of them and Ninja painted on them in Roger Ballen style. The costumes became their permanent performance clothing in the beginning. Die Antwoord used all of their friends as part of their artistic circle like Sins of Style, Scar and Chommies. Although Skeet started in 2010 with a colorful range of delicious monsters and octopuses on tracksuit style clothing, Steyn admits, ” I didn’t even have a website so I missed the boat. I can’t sell. I can only make. It’s only now, yesterday, that I made an Etsy Shop Skeeeet to be ready for your blog.”
Steyn AKA Skeet says of the masks she is creating today, ” I looked back at my portfolio and looked at what was unique and what worked. I wanted to create a product that’s not clothing. No one has done neoprene, it’s more sculptural and it had been well received at the WITW Show where they launched. I was inspired by these David Choe dolls to make masks which were actually a gift from Yolandi. I made a cat, a mouse and a fox. I posted them on Facebook and instantly someone wanted to buy one.”
I say to Petro, “It’s quite amazing to land on the first issue cover of The Lake. It’s so hipster, the magazine.”
Spoken like a true artist she replies, ” I hate hipster because it’s the next cool thing and this is not. This is not made to be cool or hip. It’s made to be fresh and original, something that no one can copy or make.”