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  • Robyn Jessica Botha

Ichthus Rebellion: A Fashion Story

Updated: May 11

“I wanted to tell a personal story of freedom and religious sexual liberation in a modern society”

What looks like a palatable futuristic punk inspired take on the met gala 2018 theme is in fact the stylised personal protest art piece of local South African artist Tamryn Shugga Jacobs under design alias By.Her Couture with Robyn Jessica Botha behind the lens.

The five aggressive and imposing looks were shot at the Zeits Mocaa fine art museum in Cape Town. As is typical of protest and punk culture in general they were escorted off of the property. Putting forward an undercurrent of opposition towards the fine art world itself and where the self made/maker resides within its contextual walls.

The collection was constructed on a tight time schedule of approximately two weeks. All accessories were designed and hand crafted by the artist, raw detailed leather harnesses, metal studs and imposing headdresses bearing marks of religious symbolism. The silent screaming statements worn would appear blasphemous to the religious conservatives.

“This is my attempt to break into the fashion world as an amateur. I enjoy exploring all avenues of artistic release, I'm somewhat of a turbulent renaissance woman. I wanted to tell a personal story of freedom and religious sexual liberation in a modern society. The world, the bible (whichever religious text you feel fits) , and culture as we know it is continuously evolving along with what we as a collective society deem appropriate material pronouncements. Growing up as a christian in a relatively conservative society I built a sense of internal shame around body identity and sexual expression which lead to years of personal confusion and a stifling of outward confidence.

It's pushing against the boundaries of what we as a religious community can consider and reconsider within art and self expression as individuals. Just because you show a little skin and enjoy a darker aesthetic as a form of expression does not make you evil, you can love god (or whatever your concept of that is) and openly enjoy the taboos of sex and nudity as a creative energy without shame.

I created the pieces as elegantly as possible with clashing classic styling of tailored everyday appeal against the harsh and aggressive dominatrix bondage apparel. I wanted to create a sense of lightning and normalising the idea of freely embracing sexual appeal.

Religious body anxiety is the theme I began working around this project, a personal battle of carrying guilt for feeling sexy and being appealing to the opposite sex. Feeling continually that I needed to tone it down to be seen as sophisticated is what led to this rebellion. "Perhaps the fear based concepts around sex, power and money need appropriate addressing and reconsideration from institutional leaders as we continue to evolve as a conscious society. This is a protest against passive aggressive control systems within society ” - Tamryn Jacobs.


The revenant rock 'n roll chic collection oozes influence from the artists multiple disciplines and background in music and the visual arts with a background in modelling. Although these pieces are a once off there are rumours of a limited line of accessories soon to be available to the general public as well as some up and coming collaborations with various performing artists.

This is an easily translatable look which could be adopted as a working class fashion movement. Shugga is Wearing


Accessories : By.Her Couture

Garments : Mr Price

Heels : Sissy Boy

We look forward to more radical disobedience by this artist


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© 2018 Robyn Jessica Botha