Designer and entrepreneur Jaro Conradie created the one-of-a-kind clothing brand OTZ Home for the fashion-forward individual. It is instantly recognisable thanks to its signature bold colours, statement pieces, unexpected lettering, customised puffer jackets, and accented denim pieces.

As a designer, establishing a standout brand in the South African fashion industry is no easy feat. Fortunately, we were able to talk to Jaro about his experiences and challenges as a local designer, his sources of inspiration, and his future plans for OTZ Home (@otzhome_).

The first feather in the cap for OTZ Home

In 2015, at only 15 years old, Jaro launched his career as a fashion designer. His mother’s design education allowed her to instruct him in the usage of a sewing machine and the fundamentals of pattern making.

Jaro thinks it’s vital to be yourself and not strive to please other people, “I’ve never wanted to fit in so I always listen to different artists and individuals to try and paint a different picture. If everyone’s listening to or watching the same things I believe on some levels their pictures will be similar.” After picking up some basic design skills, Jaro began putting his own unique twist on clothing — drawing inspiration from a variety of places. 

Jaro Conradie

[OTZ Home designer, Jaro Conradie, wearing a season 1 puffer jacket. PHOTO: Lorcan Berg]

Jaro held a fashion show in his matric year, at Constantia Waldorf High School, to introduce his debut line of OTZ Home garments. There were 20 models showcasing a total of 20 different looks. He rallied all of his Cape Town-based friends to model his designs. To him, this project represents the beginning of his career in the fashion industry — which he holds very dear to his heart. 

“My mother and I sewed all the garments together and with the help of a few friends with fittings, everything came together. Honestly, that was the year I really started. The show was packed and I had so many compliments about everything and people just showing love to what I had to offer,” he says. 

[Jaro Conradie’s first fashion show held at Constantia Waldorf High School. VIDEO: Jaro Conradie] 

After the success of his debut fashion show, he released a campaign video which featured a poem by Chella Shirlaw. “I’m proud of this project because during this period I was studying fashion for about half a year, and I was going through a tough time personally and just getting the project done made me realise my own personal strength of what I could achieve at my lowest point,” says Jaro. 

Not Cut From The Same Cloth

Jaro gives special credit to A$AP Rocky, a popular American rapper and style icon, for motivating him to launch his own brand. He comments on how “the ladies love A$AP” and that this was something he found inspiration in during his formative years. By keeping tabs on A$AP Rocky, Jaro discovered an entirely new ‘underground’  fashion scene. 

“I tried to copy [his] style as best as I could. I then got to the point where I couldn’t find what I needed, which was a floral bucket hat that was out of my price tag. So I made it and people just wanted it more and more! That was when I decided I needed a name and brand. But it boiled down to being fly with the ladies,” he says laughing.

OTZ Home

[Model, Georgia Stander, holding the OTZ Home checkered vinyl leather bag. PHOTO: Lorcan Berg]

Jaro’s design process for OTZ Home clothing varies depending on what he is designing. Before beginning the artistic process, Jaro will engage in a brainstorming session with the client. Because he prefers to rework an idea three times to make sure it is flawless, his process can take a few weeks if he is not working for a specific client. Jaro’s magic formula for coming up with innovative designs is threefold: explore music, while lounging in bed, wearing his gown.

To explain where he draws his inspiration from, Jaro informed us, “I’m not really trying to say I’m inspired by anyone specific. I’m mostly inspired by the act of being creative.”

As a South African designer, there will inevitably be plenty of obstacles to overcome. Building the OTZ Home brand has not been without its fair share of challenges — such as the lack of resources and funds, according to Jaro. “At the same time, that’s how I’ve managed to become so creative and stand out, I think. I’ve had to think and explore different ways to achieve what I truly wanted to. So if I had the resources OTZ would be completely different,” he adds. 

OTZ Home

[OTZ Home season 1 black and red denim pants. PHOTO: Lorcan Berg]

Jaro advises that aspiring local designers should treat their passion like a nine-to-five and steadily chase their goals. He believes that you cannot even get started on the path to success if you are not committed to making consistent, hard-working efforts towards reaching your goals.

What To Expect From OTZ Home

Jaro highlights how important it is to him that OTZ Home has a solid foundation and hardworking people behind it — which he believes is a benchmark for any creative. He believes that the perfect team consists of individuals who enjoy working together and share common passions and objectives.

Currently, Jaro’s goals for OTZ Home include building a dedicated fan base and making his brand a household name in the South African fashion industry. Once it becomes a recognisable label, he aims to start “supplying retail stores all over South Africa”. He also hopes to one day open an independent flagship store in Cape Town.

[Left to right: Georgia Stander, Jaro Conradie and Ben Brown all in OTZ Home denim season 1. PHOTO: Lorcan Berg]


It’s a good thing I’m better at my job than I am at driving. Otherwise, we’d all be in big trouble. On the note of things I enjoy more than driving, the local music scene is very dear to my heart — put me in a crowd in front of a band instead of behind the steering wheel any day of the week.

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