The next big thing Crystal Kasper and Palesa Mahlaba of The Duo Desk
For most us of, turning up at events in the same outfits as someone else would be cause for embarrassment or irritation. But for Crystal Kasper, 28, and Palesa Mahlaba, 29, it was the spark for a creative new venture.
“Crystal and I met two years ago. She was my assistant when I was fashion editor at True Love,” says Palesa. “When I went freelance, she helped out, and it was around that time that we found ourselves showing up for shoots and events coincidentally dressed alike.”
Inspired by international bloggers like Cailli and Sam Beckerman, who were making twinning a trend, Palesa and Crystal set up their Instagram account, The Duo Desk (@theduodesk), in June 2015.
They made a strong and striking team. Palesa, with her background in fashion and PR, had 64k followers on Instagram (@simplypalesa), and Crystal, with her background in marketing, had her own blog, New Hipster, as well as 48.1k Instagram followers (@newhipsterstyle).
Within six months, the pair were hosting events, giving trend talks and collaborating with brands like Sunglass Hut and Witchery. Next up in their strategy: a website focusing on fashion, lifestyle and beauty as well as an online consultancy for social media marketing and PR.
Despite the appeal of twinning, however, Crystal and Palesa also want their individuality to shine through.
“The difference between fashion and style is that style isn’t influenced by others,” notes Palesa.
Crystal adds, “My personal style is constantly evolving as I discover new things about myself.”