Puppet Clothing

The name ‘Once a puppet’ comes from the feeling of being like a puppet on a string with no control over your life. Once a puppet is the journey towards overcoming these feelings in an attempt to “cut the strings” which bound you so that you may free yourself.

  • What is it?

    Once a Puppet is a clothing brand that seeks to raise awareness about mental health issues and combat the stigma surrounding them. By providing a safe and supportive platform for people to share their personal experiences, the company aims to create a more open and accepting society.

  • We can't talk about it

    The stigma around mental health creates a barrier that can prevent people from feeling comfortable sharing their struggles resulting in feelings of isolation. Once a Puppet hopes to inspire positive change and promote mental well-being.

What did we conclude?

To address the problem we developed a brand strategy framework to define the brand’s foundational values, personality, gap analysis which helped us identify the ideal voice and personality to effectively connect with the target audience.

We found that the emerging clothing industry was highly competitive and required a strong brand identity with social awareness.

  • Positioning

    The audience was determined as people between 16-28 interested in streetwear with emphasis on individuality. For people, who value self expression, mental health awareness, unique fashion, and sustainable production.

  • Competitor Analysis

    A competitor analysis was undertaken for small boutique clothing brands in South Africa. While there were brands that offered self-expressive clothing, there was a gap for a brand that specifically targeted topics of mental health.

  • Messaging

    The tone/voice of the brand prioritised honesty, openness and consciousness. This aligned with the values of the brand, with mental health, self-expression, and ethical/sustainable production being at the forefront.

  • Visual Identity

    The look/feel of the brand is: handmade, bold, comfortable.The unrefined, handmade feel shows the authenticity and reliability of the brand. This carries through typography, photography and design.


The concept of ‘a puppet on strings’ was carried throughout the promotional photography. The clothing was modelled by people in the local areas of Cape Town. A ‘puppet mask’ was created and adorned by the models to allow the audience to put themselves in the place of ‘Puppet’.

The photographs were taken in everyday mundane locations as one goes through the motions. This concept stays true, even as other elements continuously change throughout the various design iterations and photo-collages as one goes through phases of life.

  • Social Media Marketing

    Instagram was determined to be the primary platform for the intended target audience. Content produced includes product photography, copywriting, and digital art. The Instagram following increased to 2700+ users.

  • Influencer Campaign

    A campaign was developed to supplement brand awareness. We sourced influencers that believed in the vision of the brand and had an overlap with the intended audience. Collection 1 and 2 of the clothing designs were sold out.

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