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Meet the Malope brothers, SA models who are taking over the international stage

Lebo Malope for Louis Vuitton SS23. Picture: Instagram/@lebo_malope2.

Lebo Malope for Louis Vuitton SS23. Picture: Instagram/@lebo_malope2.

Published Jul 1, 2022

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They say older siblings are the deputy parents because they care for you with so much love.

International model and aspiring fashion designer Denetric Malope has proven to be the greatest catalyst in propelling his younger brother, Lebo Malope’s career.

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The Malope brothers made headlines last week when they both walked for Fendi at Milan Fashion Week, one of the biggest fashion shows in the world.

They received a lot of attention on social media, with South Africans rallying for them for being on the international stage. But what they didn’t know was that the Malope brothers have been in the modelling industry, only that they weren’t that much recognised locally.

Denetric, 22, has always loved fashion but never saw himself as a model. At first, he studied Information Technology for a year and dropped out to pursue fashion design at the Tshwane University of Technology.

Speaking to the Weekend Report on Newsroom Africa, he says that modelling found him when he was attending African Fashion International (AFI) in Melrose Arch a few years ago. An agent from SYNC Models spotted him and told him he would make it big in the industry.

Next thing, he was working with big brands like Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Prada and many others, appearing on international magazine covers like “The Greatest”.

However, being alone in a foreign land wasn’t enough. He knew that there was a puzzle missing, and that was his brother, Lebo, 20. He told agents about him, and soon enough, they were both flying high.

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Denetric Malope. Picture: Instagram/@denetric_malope.

“My little brother is very beautiful, I am going to give him that. I knew when everything started working out for me that he was going to be next. When I travelled for the first time here (Milan) to work for Prada, I told my management there’s someone I know they might love so much because I knew he would do it bigger than me. After all, he’s younger, and he’s much more beautiful,” says Malope.

When Lebo was 16, he was already tall enough to strut the runway. Denetric says he posted Lebo’s picture on Instagram, and two hours later, he was signed in Paris and Milan, where they are currently slaying.

Denetric Malope for Fendi. Picture: Instagram/@denetric_malope.

This season alone, Denetric walked for Fendi and Marcelo Burlon at the Milan Fashion Week. At Paris Fashion Week, he walked for Comme des Garcons, Mowa Lola and Doublet.

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Meanwhile, Lebo has walked for 017 ALYX 9SM, Fendi, JW Anderson and Zegna at Milan Fashion Week. During Paris Fashion Week, he walked for Louis Vuitton, Paul Smith, Craig Green and closed the show at Kenzo.

Lebo Malope for Louis Vuitton SS23. Picture: Instagram/@lebo_malope2.

You may be wondering why Lebo is getting more shows when he was introduced to modelling by Denetric. Well, it’s because Denetric crawled, so Lebo could walk.

His biggest dream is to go back to designing and have Lebo as the face of the brand.

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“I see myself going back into design. Modelling is a career that might make it to the end, but it might not. As much as every career is not promising at the moment, especially with how Covid happened, it showed us that nothing is more important than any other," says Malope.

He adds: " I’m planning on going back into design and more on developing Lebo and him being the face because I was just a blueprint, this was made for him. I was the foundation for Lebo, he is the legacy. Right now, we’re focusing on him and the fact that he’s much younger."

Lebo Malope for Fendi ss23. Picture: Instagram/@lebo_malope2.

The pair are fortunate enough to have supportive parents who are proud of them.

Malope says: “My mom is always in shock. She always says, ‘God is amazing’ and literally cannot believe it. My grandmother always says, ‘thank you so much for everything that you’re doing.’ I feel like they are proud. When you have a support system from your home, it becomes so much easier.”

If you, too, wish to be an international model like the Malope brothers, know that consistency is key to surviving in this industry.

“All it takes is believing in yourself. It gets harder as it goes higher. You keep on going even if it looks like it doesn’t make sense, as long as it makes sense to you. I’ve been doing this for six years, and it only started making sense in the fifth year. Had I given up, I don’t think I would’ve made it this far," concludes Malope.

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