A feast of fashion
Durban is an attractive tourist destination mostly known for its exotic beaches, vibrant night life, the beautiful weather, tantalizing food that represent all our cultures combined as a nation and diversity we have but the underground fashion is putting this city on the map.
Budding Durban fashion designers are slowly making a name for themselves from launching their own labels in their hoods/townships and dressing some of mzansi’s A-list celebrities, politicians and representing us internationally.
“Wish it, dream it, do it”. Written in big and bold brown letters, this is one of the quotes that graces the walls in the reception area as you enter this beautiful boutique is situated south of Durban in Kwa-Mashu a small townships that has breed many local celebrities like Oscar nominated Leleti khumalo of Sarafina fame.
For Nhlanhla Ngwenya,a graduate at the Durban University of Technology for him the dream started when he was a little boy when he would dress in his mother’s clothes and would take his siblings clothes and turn them into something exquisite and stylish.
“I knew from a very young age that I had a unique talent in me and that was making women of all shapes and sizes look and feel good hence my parents were against the idea as society perceives it to be a women’s job ,” said Ngwenya
Like most youngsters with a fire burning passion to pursue his dream Ngwenya, started off as a shop assistant in a clothing store. With experience that he had in the retail industry he later on then went to further his studies at university that was when his family started taking him seriously and eventually supported his life changing decision to follow his dream.
“After I had graduated I knew exactly what I wanted to do and that was to be an entrepreneur for change. I wanted to build reputable township brand that represents a fully figured kasi woman’s style. I also saw that fully figured women or fat girls as society likes to label them, their bodies were not catered for in the market and that was where I saw the gap and decided to start something different and bold to create that wow factor,” said Ngwenya.
Ngwenya hopes this cut throat fashion will grow as many young designers are slowly making their way.
The Kwa-Zulu Natal fashion council has played a significant role over the years in helping, shaping young designers and also empowering with the necessary skills that can later on apply. This year is no different as the stakes are even higher and better, as the council will host a three-month capacity building workshop for fashion designers in August.
“The main aim of this programme is to bridge the gap between a designer’s creative skill and business knowledge, with a theme of 21 steps to retail, the purpose of the programme is to develop and mentor young designers to level where they can run sustainable and competitive locally, nationally and internationally,” says the KZNFC programme manager Shavera Sayed.
This programme will take the young designers from conceptualizing right through to retail which is fantastic and is every budding designers dream.
Another group of young designers that are doing amazing things with their talent and craft is the African Idols who started off their business two years ago when a friend of theirs was getting married and was struggling to find the perfect, simple and yet elegant dress for her big day.
They immediately saw the gap and created a brand that would design dresses and suits the way you want it to be made at a cheap and affordable rate. Their store is the epitome of creative collective minds with an ambition and a passion for fashion. Not only are they known for their sizzling and sophisticated styles of design, these guys have dressed your local celebrities such as Sophie Ndaba, Nomzamo Mbatha, Naima Kay, Dj Sbu and prominent businesswomen Shawn Mpisane.
This year this amazing trio is looking forward to the Durban July as business for them will be booming and their creativity will be tested and put to another level.
“We have already started designing for lots of people that will be attending this glamorous event and this is also a great opportunity for us to showcase our work and market our brand as it caters for everyone who wants to look good;” said Jabu.
These young entreprenuers have got lots to offer and we hope their shine continuous to blossom.