Bonolo Mosimege, a self-taught fashion designer born and bred in Mafikeng, took part in Miss Universe South Africa 2020, Natasha Jouberts’ #DestinyDesigned virtual fashion show this past weekend. The digital event aimed at empowering and showcasing local fashion designers also revealed Joubert’s Miss Universe national costume for the first time.
- #DestinyDesigned is Joubert’s Miss Universe social cause initiative.
Joubert is a fashion designer who started her own company Natalia Jefferys in 2016.
- The 12 designers from across South Africa each made two garments.
- Those garments were modelled by reigning Miss South Africa Shudufhadzo Musida, Miss Supranational South Africa 2020 Thato Mosehle and the Miss SA 2020 finalists.
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Almost all have felt the impact of COVID-19 on their businesses and moreover, their future aspirations. #DestinyDesigned has provided a platform and glimmer of hope, to stitch together what is left of their ventures, post the 2020 national lockdown.
One of those is Bonolo Mosimege’s Doux Regal Couture, which started in 2015 and is based in Sunninghill.
For someone who was almost ready to give up on her passion, this opportunity came at exactly the right time. Not only did it spark back that desire in my heart but it also gave me an opportunity to shine again. Having lost a lot due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this opportunity will help me get back to doing what I love and show the world what I am capable of, and that is being a fashion icon and a designer who changes the lives of others, one garment at a time.
// Doux Regal Couture Designer, Bonolo Mosimege
The other 12 design labels for #DestinyDesigned are (in alphabetical order):
Amoné Bester started her company at the beginning of 2020 after finishing her BConSci Clothing Retail Management in 2019 at the University of Pretoria. She was doing well making couture clothing in addition to matric dance dresses and wedding gowns and was about to officially launch her label.
During lockdown I had no income as all events were cancelled or postponed. I started @amonebesterscrubs (Facebook and Instagram) when fabric stores opened for essential fabrics. I used my skills to make and donate masks to the local hospital, as well as selling scrubs at more affordable prices to my sister, who is a doctor, and her colleagues. I was able to secure a small income during this period.
// Designer, Amoné Bester
When restrictions eased, Bester began making designer items again while also still making scrubs.
Dene Odendaal graduated from Lisof (now the Studio Faculty Arts & Design) in 2018 and started Dene Odendaal Bridal Couture in 2019. She had her first magazine cover in August 2019, filmed episodes for TV programme Droom Troue, which aired in 2020, and was featured in The Wedding Guide. She was fully booked throughout 2019 and was filling up for 2020 quickly. Lockdown meant that 17 of her brides cancelled or postponed their weddings and there were matric dance cancellations too. To make ends meet she started making masks.
I still have borrowed furniture from my mother’s house just so my clients can have a place to sit during consultations. I manage each month to get just about enough money to pay my seamstress’s salary so she can provide for her family. I haven’t been able to pay myself a salary for almost a year.
// Dene Odendaal Couture Designer, Dene Odendaal
Lungelo Nobuhle Biyela
(Durban, Kwa-Zulu Natal)
Lungelo Biyela is a self-taught fashion designer who comes from eNkandla in Mvutshini but is now based in Durban. She has always loved fashion design but studied for a BA Environmental Planning and Development which surprisingly taught her a little bit about how the textile industry affects the environment.
Before the pandemic I used to make dresses and skirts because that’s what I knew how to make at that time. The pandemic forced me to evolve and transform my business. I realised that people were no longer going to events because of the national regulations imposed. I then started a luxury sleep wear range which got a very warm welcome and to this day it’s my best seller.
// Eel Een Designs Designer, Lungelo Biyela
Elsje van Staden
53-year-old Elsje van Staden is a single mother of two and a qualified social worker who left the profession to be a full-time mother. She is a self-taught clothing designer and dressmaker who started out selling children’s clothing.
I then started making wedding dresses and matric dance dresses and formal and casual wear followed. The start of Covid-19 meant that I had no appointments and no work until August last year. Business was slow, but luckily we survived. This year I have taken to social media and launched ELCHE Designs and worked on a new business plan. It has been touch and go but we have made it. We are going to be okay!
// ELCHE Designs Designer, Elsje van Staden
(Kimberley, Northern Cape)
29-year-old Nkosinathi Joshua studied fashion design at the Central University of Technology in the Free State. He is the owner of JNY Creations and has participated in several fashion shows in and outside of the Northern Cape. He has been nominated for the Northern Cape Awards for Best Fashion Designer, Best Influencer and Best Styled Personality.
Covid-19 has impacted my business immensely because with the country being in lockdown a lot of events are prohibited and people normally design clothing to attend events. If there are no events there’s no money coming in to operate the business.
// JNY Creations Designer, Nkosinathi Joshua
(Somerset West, Western Cape)
Elissa Kaplan graduated with a degree in fashion design and then added a certificate in education to her career options. After studying, she became a full-time teacher and only designed and created after hours.
After five years of teaching I finally found the perfect business idea which was based on dressing teachers ‘Juffies’ in exclusive, fashionable and work appropriate clothing. I was a ‘Juffie’ doing both and I worked very hard to launch my business during August of 2018. Then 2020 happened and it felt like absolutely everything crashed down on me. A lot of people had thought that it must have been wonderful for a designer having so much free time, but being an educator took up a lot of time for lesson planning and online classes. My fashion business was at a standstill and I started producing masks which saved my business from going completely under. I alone produced over 1000 masks during 2020. Today, Juffie Clothing is back on its feet thanks to my followers who have been loyal and very supportive.
// Juffie Clothing Designer, Elissa Kaplan
Rethabile Ntsekalle studied clothing management at the University of Johannesburg and graduated in 2014. She started her own brand in 2016 and went on to be part of a fashion
reality TV show/competition which showed on SABC 1 in 2018. She has worked with a number of well-known media personalities including Yasmin Furmie, Jessica Nkosi and Dineo Langa.
My garments are mainly for the red carpet and so when Covid-19 hit, my business really felt the impact. I felt like I was slowly getting into a depression as there was nothing I could do and having to home school my son for a couple of months also added more stress.
// Retha N Designer, Rethabile Ntsekalle
(Edenvale, Johannesburg, Gauteng)
Tumi Seepe launched her online fashion business in August 2019 with her own savings and an investment from her mother and employed one seamstress.
This business had been a dream of mine for years having left my full-time job to finally go all in. Each month we saw more growth than the previous one and it all looked very promising until lockdown hit. I continued to pay my seamstress until our funds ran out but unfortunately, after the third month of lockdown, I had to let her go and look for employment myself. The lockdown not only set the business, but also affected our product plan, as when restrictions were being lifted, the seasons had changed, meaning our stock was off-season making it difficult to sell the clothing. We basically had to start from scratch with capital and re-establish our customer base.
// Sophie Online Designer, Tumi Seepe
(Durban, Kwa-Zulu Natal)
South Africa’s diverse cultures inspire popular Durban born designer, Treasure Cindi. Although his design aesthetic reflects both past and present, his creations are aimed at contemporary society. The Treasure Cindi brand has become a favourite in social circles and amongst brides-to-be, making him one of Durban’s promising bridal wear designers.
In March 2020 we closed our doors temporarily following the national lockdown. Most of the scheduled weddings and special events for the year were postponed and a lot were cancelled. This proved to be a challenge to keep leasing the premises where we were operating from as there was no money coming in. But the biggest challenge was having to let go of the team of five employees because of lack of funds.
//Treasure Cindi Designer, Treasure Cindi
(Sunnyside, Pretoria, Gauteng)
Venetia Mnisi says that as a child from a small village she always wanted to be a fashion designer. When she finished Matric, she went straight on to study fashion design and later got a job in a retail store before resigning to start her own label and work for herself. Then lockdown hit.
Last year was a tough year for everyone and all I wanted was a better 2021. And then came the news that I had made the Top 12. I said to myself it can only be God. The excitement was beyond anything and I did not know whether to cry or scream. I dreamt and the universe delivered. Never say your dreams are too big, nothing is ever too big for a woman who is determined. When you get more than what you pray for, it’s a dream come true!
// Vicious Venetia Designer, Venetia Mnisi
Mawande Mbawuli and Xolani Magadla
(Cape Town, Western Cape)
XM Creations is the Cape Town based designer duo of Mawande Mbawuli and Xolani Magadla. Mawande says his love for clothing and textile was rekindled when he met Xolani. Xolani’s interest in clothing was inspired by his mother who was a seamstress. He and Mawande went to study sewing at Learn to Earn in Khayelitsha to get the basics before starting their own business.
With just a R450 loan from Xolani’s cousin sister as capital, a very small shack as their studio and a ceiling board they used to lay on a bed to create a cutting table, they went on start their fashion label XM Creations in 2012. They started off making matric dance dresses and word of mouth quickly grew about these talented designers.
They showcased their first collection at the Xperience fashion show in 2015 and did so for three more years. July 2018 saw them achieve a goal of showcasing at South African Menswear Week. Thereafter, they showcased at the Odyssey Fashion Fair.
The virtual fundraiser fashion show takes place on misssa.live and viewers will be able to subscribe to the platform and watch for free. They will also have the option to donate to the campaign with overall profits going to the 12 designers. After the show, the designers’ garments will be auctioned off online with the proceeds from each item sold going to the respective designers.
We were delighted to receive more than 90 entries. The talent is extraordinary and it’s going to be an impressive fashion show. I really urge everyone to tune in and watch it. The fashion industry has been one of the hardest hit sectors due to the global pandemic and some of the designers’ stories really broke my heart. They need our support now more than ever and for some, being part of this initiative, may just change their lives.
// Miss Universe South Africa 2020, Natasha Joubert
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