Tuesday, September 23, 2014

30 DESIGNERS YOU SHOULD KNOW

By Eva Fydrych


Vancouver Fashion Week SS 2015
15 - 21 September 2014

Akira Kuwabara Spring/Summer 2015 (Photo by Ed Ng Photography)



VANCOUVER - Vancouver Fashion Week celebrated its 13th year and 22nd season from September 15 to the 21st with its largest season to date featuring 70 designers and representing over 25 different countries worldwide.

Procter and Gamble came back for their second consecutive season, which took place at the Queen Elizabeth Plaza, under a custom-built tenting structure by Tentnology.

“COVERGIRL, Pantene and Olay are proud to be the Presenting Sponsors and exclusive suppliers of makeup, haircare and skincare products for Vancouver Fashion Week, for the second consecutive season,” said Melissa Karis, Beauty Communications Director, P&G Canada. “We stand behind Vancouver Fashion Week’s vision of celebrating diversity and showcasing innovative design talent. We’re excited to see the collections and beauty looks on the runway.” 



Photo courtesy of VFW (Click to enlarge)



The event’s producer and founder, Jamal Abdourahman, was thrilled that the growth of VFW showcased the breadth of creative talent from the new as well as returning designers. “The number of designers choosing to show at VFW has doubled in the past four years. We are expecting a strong local and international media presence this season.”

Since the show’s first year in 2001, Jamal has consistently elevated the status drawing top and undiscovered international talents and aligning them with the events long-term growth and development. The goal is simple; provide a diverse international team, dream big and provide an accessible platform for which emerging talent can gain international exposure to promote and sell their product.

Some of the local and international talent this year included: Joffrey Mongin (France), Andrea Lazzari (Italy), Olya Shishkina (England), Renata Buzzo (Brazil), Karen Yang (Australia), Shinya Yamaguchi (Japan), Hong Kiyoung (South Korea), Shravan Kumar (India), Zampolini (Germany) Antti Asplund Heterophobia (Finland), Elise Lucas (Belgium), Lubov Tumanova (Russia), Goldie (Canada), Melow Par Melissa Bolduc (Canada)... and many more.
Source: VFW

Fashion Studio Magazine selected our favourite runway looks and prepared a list of 30 emerging and established designers you should get familiar with. Enjoy the pictures!



Aaizel


Photos courtesy of VFW



“… it begins with an existing piece and I will add a feature to it or even take it apart to create a new look or at least something different… they can turn out to be beautiful if you put enough of love and thought into it.” – Minnie Jo

Minnie Jo as the designer, artist and manufacturing figure behind Aaizel; her major concepts behind the label is the process of re-working the established and applying her art of juxtaposing fabrics of contrasting nature in harmony and using elements from existing pieces and making it new and desirable. Established in 2013, Aaizel has been recognised of always embodying intricate lace, embellished fabrics and textured elements. Minnie has always had a love for handwork technicalities and never fails to deliver extraordinary, re-imagined concepts that bring life to a dying skill of handcraft.



Akira Kuwabara

Photo courtesy of VFW



Akira Kuwabara has many thoughts towards clothes, but his greatest thoughts would be to make people happy through fashion. Clothes prove it’s value only when it provides happiness in people’s lives. This designer wants to share those moments with his fashion and design. In addition to making people happy with his apparel, he also wants to make the surrounding environment into a happier atmosphere. This is the kind of clothing he wants to create.



Alex S Yu



Photos courtesy of VFW



Alex S. Yu is a fashion designer raised in Vancouver, who studied fashion at Blanche Macdonald in Vancouver and the prestigious London College of Fashion in the UK. Alex graduated LCF in 2013 and is currently working on his SS2015 collection, which is sponsored by NICHE magazine, and will debut at Vancouver Fashion Week. The inspiration behind ALEX S. YU fashion label comes mainly from his experiences while travelling to more than 20 countries around the world. His S/S 2015 collection is inspired by his travels to London and Paris. For nearly two years, Alex was heavily influenced and inspired by the youth and graffiti in these two urban centres. Using a naïve approach, inspired by Dr. Seuss, Alex brings will present this youthful turmoil through rose coloured glasses. This will be Alex’s first time showing at Vancouver Fashion Week.



Dawson & Deveaux

Photo courtesy of VFW



Dawson & Deveraux is an emerging global and independent fashion house founded on the principles and interplay of contrast, balance, rhythm, and scale. Headed by Creative Director and Lead Designer, Sophie Karen, Dawson & Deveraux was born at the fashion crossroads of London and Paris.

Through infusing quality construction, clean lines, and our multicultural perspective into each piece we strive to inspire moods and attitudes that make women feel and look their best.

After a successful FW2014 season we are excited to be returning to Vancouver Fashion Week. We look forward to expanding our retail presence abroad as we strive to reach a larger demographic of D&D women.



Elise Lucas



Photos courtesy of VFW



Elise Lucas is a young Belgian Fashion Designer. Born in the late 80s, she has grown up with a pencil in her hand, always ready to draw what goes through her minds. Since childhood she has created a whole unique universe composed by a strange, dark and melancholic atmosphere. Her universe is in perpetual evolution, becoming more feminine, delicate tending to perfection.

During her studies, she has decided to learn Fashion Design which is the best mean for her to give life to her ideas and drawings.

Nowadays, Elise Lucas is designing clothes and accessories which, in her mind, should tell a story as well as a feeling, waking up the imaginary of her customers.Recently she has been working on a historical movie released by a many awards winning director.



Evan Clayton

Photo courtesy of VFW



A graduate from the Blanche MacDonald Fashion Design program, Evan is trained in the art of tailoring and is well versed in the fluidity of drapery.

Evan’s influences include the natural world, modern pop culture, David Attenborough documentaries and a variety of performance artists. You will see these influences throughout the body of his work in fabric innovation, skilled tailoring and by pushing the boundary of the silhouette. This collection caters to women who are unafraid of embracing their sexuality and who don’t shy away from making a bold statement with their appearance.

Evan Clayton’s first show was with Vancouver Fashion Week in the Fall/Winter 2014 Season, and he will be showing at VFW again for the Spring/Summer 2015 season.



Hong Kiyoung

Photo courtesy of VFW



Hong Kiyoung is a young fashion designer from Seoul, South Korea. He found his principle on ‘Minimalistic Exaggeration with street’, and is trying to disseminate it to other designers.

Strongly inspired by contemporary arts that portrayed by new artists who are trying to change. He presents ‘Most elegant High-Street wear with tailored suit’ with his own wit.

He successfully presented his first collection of men’s wear on May 2012, and now he is preparing for the next collection, doing his best.

The new definition of men’s beauty is rising up, however, many of fashion figures are settling for the present. The fashion society of South Korea is now focusing on one genius designer.



Iman Nakhala

Photo courtesy of VFW



Traditional. Avant-guarde. Meticulous. Spontaneous. Organized. Adventurous. These seemingly antagonistic characteristics come together seamlessly in this successful young woman. Born in Saudi Arabia and raised in Montreal, Iman Nakhala embodies a cultural myriad shaped by interests and experiences revolving around a fusion of languages and cultures. Creativity, drive and passion have inspired her throughout her studies and projects and have unfolded themselves in a Bachelor’s Degree in Modern Languages from Concordia University, a degree in Fashion from the Académie des arts et du design, as well as hands-on experience in the fashion industry both as an apprentice and as a bona fide designer. She has launched her very own self-titled fashion line, whose collections have been extremely well received at Ottawa’s Fashion Week. Made up of unique pieces created with an outstanding understanding and knowledge of tailoring, prints and pattern making, Iman Nakhala designs bring to life an unmatched weave of creativity, craftsmanship and curiosity.



Jaesun Chung


Photos courtesy of VFW


J.Chung is a London based womenswear brand.

The Creative Director of the brand is Jaesun Chung, who was born in South Korea and raised in United States and South Korea. Jaesun Chung has recently graduated from London College of Fashion with Distinction. Showing a deliberate and sophisticated collection, J.Chung offers stories in collections with cruel children’s story-like mood. Collections show a soft touch of fabric and colours in structured shapes.



Jeehyun Lee

Photo courtesy of VFW



Jessie Liu

Photo courtesy of VFW



Jessie Liu is currently the proprietor and Chief Designer for Simple Pair Fashion Design based in San Francisco, California, USA. She has recently completed her degree in Master of Fine Art from the Academy of Art University (AAU), San Francisco, USA.

Prior to joining the fashion industry, Jessie was a corporate executive based in Toronto, Canada. Jessie was originally from a small coastal town of Penglai, Shandong Province, China. In the fall of 2011, among many contending designers competing for the opportunity, Jessie’s evening gown has been jury-selected to be shown at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York.

Also in early 2012, her design has won the Vitamin Water Inspired Fashion Design Contest with a cash prize. Most recently, her graduation collection was once again jury-selected to be shown at the 2012 Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week. She subsequently received best young designer’s award from Arts Thread/WGSN and was sponsored to present her collection in the Who’s Next show in Pairs, France.



Jordana Seguin

Photo courtesy of VFW



Karen Yang

Photo courtesy of VFW



Karen Yang’s inspiration comes from the colour, vibrancy and diversity of culture. Her deep interest and curiosity in cultural stories, celebrations, food and the uniqueness of individual experiences was launched at the age of eight when Karen moved from Shanghai to Sydney. Experiencing life through the lense of two cultures has not only provided Karen with deep cultural insights but has also been the source of her inspiration for many of her quirky and unique designs.

Having newly graduated from Fashion and Textiles at Sydney’s University of Technology; Karen’s collection have walked the runway as part of Sportsgirl’s National Graduate Showcase at L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival and in New Zealand iD Emerging Designer’s showcase . As well as receiving national and international accolades including the Australian Wool Award for Craftsmanship and Innovation, The Object Design Award, TISA National Student Design and Technology Award (2nd place), NSW Business Chambers TCF Award (finalist) and the iD International Emerging Designer Awards (finalist).



La Salle College


Photos courtesy of VFW



Present today on 4 continents, LaSalle College is a member of the LCI Education network which consists of 21 post-secondary campuses in 11 countries, and some 1,500 employees offering instruction to over 10,000 students throughout the world each year. This season, the LaSalle College fashion show at Vancouver Fashion Week will highlight some of the most creative and outstanding creations from students of its network. Designs created by students from Vancouver, Montreal, Casablanca, Rabat, Tangier, Marrakech and Barcelona will walk down the runway conveying each campuses flare and originality. In addition, three selected Fashion Merchandising students from the Vancouver campus will be producing the fashion show.



Lubov Tumanova

Photo courtesy of VFW



Lubov Tumanova creates clothes for men and women who want to look individual and unusual but stylish at the same time, for the daring and ingenious who love luxury and attention. Among its features are the use of interesting materials, color and style decisions, an individual approach and the constant search for new ideas. She has designed and created outfits for media personalities and for the stage, and her work has been featured in catwalks in Europe, North America and Asia.

The collection presented in this show is a blend of gentle evening dresses and original jewelry made ​​of copper, a unique metal that has useful and healing properties. The clothing, tiaras, necklaces and other decorations all enjoy matching detail that make the entire outfit come together with a special unique harmony. One of the finest collections she has produced to date.



Lu Liu



Photos courtesy of VFW



"I am from northeast of China, which is Harbin. It is an ice city. My collection is mainly about the mixture of Chinese and American culture. I have over fifteen years of extensive hand drawing and illustration extensive training with a famous Chinese artist. So when I build up my collection, I choose to print out my art work, which are water color and gouache; the photo of my city and my own photographs in my design with lots of modern elements. I used all colorful colors for this collection, it makes collection bright, fun, lovely, deluxe and gorgeous.

My collection covered all styles of outfits, include female and male; which are jumpsuit, bubble dress, wrap, dress coat, and motorcycle jacket. I did a lot of hand stitch to make all details to be three-dimensional. Such as man’s yarn jacket, woman’s bow wrap, and all characters and patterns. I like to do crazy fashion with sense of fun. I hope everyone can understand my culture background and my current life in the USA through my collection. In the future, I want to own my own studio and do custom designs for individual clients." - Lu Liu



Magenta

Photo courtesy of VFW



Details, craftsmanship, experimentation and history: these values are the driving force behind Wendy’s multimedia approach to apparel design. Her experience as artist, interior designer, business owner and (somewhat) reformed punk-rocker combine to influence the point-of-view behind the clothing and accessories that are Magenta by Wendy Ohlendorf.

A collector at heart, Wendy’s love of fashion history and vintage clothing instilled in her the importance of detail and craftsmanship. While attending the Art Institute of Tampa she focused on architecture, earning a degree in Interior Design, which illustrated the importance of quality workmanship in order to create the finest works possible. Continually striving to top her best has carried over into all methods of expression including apparel design.

In the mid-90s, Wendy opened a shop in Portland featuring over 20 local designers. It was there, in the back workroom, that her love for apparel design grew and became the art form she now focuses on.

Wendy’s design philosophy, whether it be for clothing, sculpture, painting, or interior design, is ethical and historical. Her apparel showcases vintage textiles, which in addition to being gorgeous, also have narrative appeal. Fabrics carry with them old stories and experiences and are just waiting to be reinvented in ways that enchant the wearer to follow their hearts to new adventures.

A self-taught fashion designer; Wendy has utilized her love of vintage apparel, her architectural and fine art background to create a unique collection. One that expresses a combination of modern chic, vintage romanticism, and a futuristic edge into a style all her own.



Nahal Baniadam

Photo courtesy of VFW



Born in Tehran, Iran Nahal Baniadam found herself passionate about art from a young age. After graduating from Graphic design, she continued her studies in Fashion design at Vancouver Community College (VCC) where she developed a passion for her distinctive designs.

Incorporating unusual and creative material and transforming them into elegant contemporary pieces is the unique aspect of Nahal’s design process which drawn a lot of attention from the early stages of her career as a designer. The persistent affirmative comments have been the motivation behind Nahal’s dedication to creating her collection every season and her work being exhibited internationally.

Inspired by her deep cultural heritage and her endless creativity, she continues to push the conventional boundaries of fashion and create awe-inspiring pieces for the modern woman of today.



Nyoluoch

Photo courtesy of VFW



"My love for sewing started at an early age when I learned my first backstitch from watching my mother sew. This passion transcended from designing clothes for barbies as early as eight years old to making my own clothes during my teenage years.

I moved to Calgary from Vancouver five years ago and opened my fashion business, Nyoluoch Fashion and Art primarily focusing on creating custom clothing design and artworks for a variety of clientele in Calgary. My fashion experience stretches from designing formal, evening and special occasion wear to casual and office attire. Through out the years, my desire to create my own fashion collection has inspired me to use my creative talent to designs outfits that are unique and stylish for women.

My spring/summer 2015 design collection features sophisticated chic attire and bold evening wear which follow a fusion of vibrant colors of African fabrics, line designs with hints of retro-fab. The use of African fabrics draws me back to my African roots allowing me the freedom to explore color collages that are distinct." - Julia / Nyoluoch



Oscar Mendoza

Photo courtesy of VFW



Oscar Mendoza was born in Mexico City. From a very young age Oscar was exposed to fashion by his own mother not because she did work in the field but by her love for garments, she was a natural born stylist. He remembers the days they spent together in down town historical and colonial Mexico City looking and shopping for beautiful garments.
 Oscar arrived to Canada in 2002 with the idea of pursuing his artistic carrier in the fashion field. After studying in a small sewing school in the plateau area of Montreal: he realized that he needed to go ahead and join the fashion pattern-making program at the LaSalle college.

A few months after within the program, he met with established Montreal designer Joseph Helmer and took private courses for draping and patter making with him at the same time.
the vision of the Oscar Mendoza’s fashion brand is to be continuously creative, challenge himself as a designer and being in search of the best ways to express his artistry through fashion design. Remaining faithful to his Mexican colorful and imaginative roots mixed with different personal influences from art, other creators and travel, Oscar Mendoza describes his collections as a high end ready to wear line and couture pieces for creative and fashion conscious souls.



Priscille Canivet

Photo courtesy of VFW



Born in Paris, France, Priscille grew up in an artistic environment during her childhood. Interested in Architecture & Fashion she worked a few years for Lecoanet Hemant Haute Couture Paris and entered the famous Parisian Interior Design School ESAG Penninghen, to expend her sense of design. In parallel, she also went to Parsons School and RISD in the US. After her graduation she worked as a designer specialized in French classic architecture for castles.

In 2007, she decided to leave her beloved Paris to fulfill her dream in the electric New York City, where she worked as a visual designer for projects all around the globe and also designed Couture gowns for private clients.

Of those two passions PRISCILLE CANIVET’s brand, is born: a Ready-to-Wear & Couture line, proudly Made in France, each piece of the collection is crafted with the best quality fabrics from Europe and the Couture “savoir-faire” techniques, to exquisitely fit and emphasize the beauty of women’s body.



Rebekah Adams

Photo courtesy of VFW



Rebekah Adams is a jet-setter from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Arizona, London, California, North Carolina, and now the Greater Seattle Area. She graduated from Meredith College with a Bachelor of Science in Fashion Merchandising and Design with a concentration in Design. She’s skipped across the pond to intern at a fair-trade fashion label in London and hopped back to work at one in Raleigh, NC. She’s sold her handcrafted designs for seven years and has loved every minute of it. In April 2014, she was featured at RAW Artists Seattle and has recently been selected to compete in the Independent Designer Runway Show on the Vogue Magazine Runway during Bellevue Collection’s Fashion Week in September 2014. She hopes her voice in the fashion community will help others find beauty in unlikely places. Rebekah lives in Tacoma, Washington with her husband, and their plants. She enjoys running, traveling and drinking copious amounts of Yorkshire Gold tea.



Renata Buzzo

Photo courtesy of VFW



Renata Buzzo is a fashion graduate of Facultade Santa Marcelina. She is a devout vegan, passionate about animals, books and vintage film. She likes to immerse herself in the world of thrift and consignment, where she completely looses track of time. As an unconditional fan of history and the antique, she prefers custom-made as a way to produce garments; her favorite fashion technique is moulage draping.

In the pursuit of her dream career, she combined all her passions together to create a unique concept for her brand. And it worked!



Sandra Bareno

Photo courtesy of VFW


Sandra Bareno is a designer and entrepreneur, born in Colombia and raised in a traditional Colombian home. She studied Industrial Design at the University of Los Andes, a private university located in the city centre of Bogotá, Colombia. Her love for fashion and design began in High School and the local leather factories influenced her standard of high quality products. As an adult, she chose jobs and projects that required a high level of creativity and would always seek to develop her skills as a designer. At the age of 22 Sandra began to travel the world and chose Europe as her new home. Her love for handbags, passion for accessory design, and ambition to realize her dreams, Sandra created the brand that bears her name. Sandra Bareno – Luxury Handbags.



Santa Clara

Photo courtesy of VFW



Taking femininity and romanticism as the core of her creative process, Santa Clara is well known for creating pieces that mix delicate laces, transparencies and silks with special attention to details that accentuate the female figure.

In 2006, Clara Edwards took the decision of making her student dream come true: she created her own womenswear brand called Santa Clara. Since then, she has created two collections per season, only interrupted by her courses at London College of Fashion and Central Saint Martins.

This formation process informed her work methodology. Each collection begins with rigorous research of the inspiring topics, which drifts into concepts that unfolds the forms, textures and colors that she will use to design.

In parallel with her collections, since 2007 Clara Edwards became one of the most requested wedding dresser designers in Santiago de Chile.

Additionally to femininity and romanticism, her brand seal is exclusivity. Though she is asked, she will never manufacture the same garment, and does not risk buying common printed fabrics to avoid similarities with other designers. Her strict methods made her designs special and desirable, dedicated to women’s figure and highlighting the silhouette.



Sara Armstrong


Photos courtesy of VFW



Sara Armstrong is an interdisciplinary artist who practices in both industrial and fashion design. Sara Armstrong creates ready to wear pieces with an androgynous blur, at once loyal to the functionality of heritage craftsmanship and subversive in their welcoming of innovative details.

With a focus on architecturally inspired urban luxury, Sara’s formal training in sculpture is immediately apparent in pieces that balance complex geometries with pared-down simplicity. Lucid yet intuitive, Sara’s work is hinged upon a tactile, hand-worked approach to design and an uncompromising appreciation for authenticity and quality.



Shinya Yamaguchi


Photos courtesy of VFW



This designer was born in Yokohama, Japan. Shinya Yamaguchi graduated from The Tokyo Media Academy Artists, Stylists and Designers Vocational School. Shinya has won a total of 3 awards including a gold award during his time at school.

Shinya has managed to create his own brand with using only a single pair of shoes that were made in 2009.

A Japanese media company, “Tokyo Kawaii TV” recognized his talents, and helped market his brand.
Shinya Yamaguchi has collaborated with RYNSHU at the Paris Men’s Collection in 2010AW and 2011SS.

Shinya’s brand and designs has been worn by Japanese models, musicians and celebrities. Currently the name of his brand/company is “Long Tall Tokyo”. His focus is on creating a new trend with the new generation of people in Tokyo street culture.



Shravan Kumar

Photo courtesy of VFW



Shravan Kumar Ramaswamy has crafted magic with fabrics for 18 years; a coveted journey that began when he became the first and youngest fashion designer to emerge from the classical city of Hyderabad. A true-blue fashionista, Kumar is a craftsman who belongs to an emerging generation of research driven designers. Best known for the revival and reinvention of eco friendly fabrics as well as unusual creations from unconventional fabrics Shravan Kumar draws his inspiration from the sheer volume and beauty of ethnic Indian designs that reflects an amalgamation of colour and texture along with class. His mantra for himself is, “fashion is my religion,” and he feels blessed to be able to “weave magic through fabric.”

Shravan Kumar’s philosophy is that Indian-ness is not about contrived concoction of the diverse; rather it’s an effortless understanding of the divergent. And ‘Haute Couture’, ‘pret-a-porter’ or ‘Mass Market’ fashion should be original, stunningly woven with structure and aesthetic craft with focus on comfort. Thereby making the brand SHRAVAN KUMAR a commitment of cutting edge technology through years of unremitting efforts in research, luxury, class, wearability and comfort.

Rameswamy looks at the quintessential fashion industry to accomplish the mission of Social and Environmental Commitment to empower poor families by generating employment opportunities and also by cultivating bio-degradable and eco friendly products. In an effort to meet this objective, he has taken up the responsible initiative to promote handicrafts and workmanship from rural India – paying tribute to weavers, through “AN ODE TO WEAVES & WAVERS”, an annual show which showcases over a 100 weavers like the Phulia, Parsi, Srikakulam Khadi, Salem, Jamdhani, Paithani, Kerala, Kanchi, Cadwal, Pochampally, Dharmavaram, Mangalagiri, Venkatagiri, Uppada, to name a few from the remotest locations of India every year. These are woven at a non-government organization called ‘The Society of Aalayam’ that Kumar personally chairs.

‘Aalayam’, not only succeeds in restoring various weaves of the country which are rapidly declining in their significance, but is also dedicated to bettering the lives of weavers in India. Every sari made here essentially uses organic fabric and is handmade by weavers. Much of the profit obtained by selling them is sent over for the weavers’ welfare. Through ‘Aalayam’ Ramaswamy has introduced many training workshops on weaving and embroidery while promoting micro-credit in fight against poverty.

Dedicated to the advancement of the arts and sciences of fashion – furthering the promotion of creative leadership for artistic, technical, social and environmental achievements within the global fashion industry, Ramaswamy further dons a teacher’s hat by lecturing at various premier design institutes in India.



Suitably Enough

Photo courtesy of VFW



Michaela-Franz Mendiola made her way to Los Angeles from Guam, through Hawaii… Living on an island almost all her life, this Guam born designer was not that far behind the fashion curb. It was apparent early on, that fashion design would be a part of her future. Michaela’s talent to coordinate, construct, reinvent and conceptualize palettes of worn and unworn garments was way beyond her time and deceitfully inexpensive.

The summer before entering high school Michaela’s parents relocated the family to Hawaii. They were seeking better opportunities and to learn a little more about their Hawaiian heritage. In the Fall of 2008, she was steps closer to her dreams of some day becoming a fashion designer, as she said “Aloha” to Hawaii and transitioned to college in Los Angeles. Michaela attended BIOLA University for two years, and then transferred to Woodbury University where she received her B.F.A in Fashion Design and Minor in Business Management.

Woodbury hosts an annual fashion show, which is where Michaela showcased her senior collection. Her designs were inspired by one of many Guam legends. The legend was about a young girl named Sirena who loved the water and loved to swim. One day her mother tasked her with a chore and instead of Sirena doing as told, she disobeyed her mother and went for a swim. Her mom grew really angry and cursed Sirena by saying, “ If sirena loves the water so much she should become a fish.” Sirena was then transformed into a mermaid…

Michaela wanted to emulate a collection that was close to home. Her inspiration came from the Legend of Sirena initially because she envisions mermaids as being beautiful, fluid and soft colored beings.

She has expanded her vision of this collection by being drawn to the comfort and functionality of active wear. Michaela has chosen to add for more looks to her collection. With the two elements, she will be integrating them by designing garments that are sophisticated and alluring, yet comfortable and functional.



Thabo Makhetha


Photos courtesy of VFW



When she was sketching dresses as a little girl, she probably never dreamt that one day her designs would attract attention from all over the world.

Lesotho-born, South African designer Thabo Makhetha-Kwinana, 26, got international recognition when South African Elle Magazine Editor wore a black and white cape to the Louis Vuitton Fashion Show outside the Cour Carree du Louvre in Paris – a cape that Thabo had personally designed.

Her label’s signature items are unique, functional capes and jackets made from the Basotho blankets. These blankets are of great traditional and cultural significance. The King and Queen of Lesotho are regularly photographed in them.

Thabo graduated from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University with a Diploma in Fashion. Her final-year range was awarded the Most Creative Range Award. She founded her company in 2009 as a 21-year old graduate, “Like many young people, I struggled to find work in the wake of the global recession and I started working from home. My mom suggested that I formalize things and so I started my business. In the beginning it was tough because all the responsibility lay with me, but people believed in me and what I was trying to achieve, perhaps that in itself gave me more motivation” she says.

Today her label is getting interest from clients in the Netherlands, Paris and New York. Her future plans are to supply and be stocked internationally.

In 2013 she launched her Kobo Ea Bohali “Blankets of Prestige” range at the Design Indaba Expo in Cape Town as an Emerging Creative. This collection paired impeccable quality, European-cuts and trims with the beautiful blanket fabric with its exquisite detailed patterns. Her collection was met with critical acclaim and she was listed as one of the Top 10 Must See Designers.

The Thabo Makhetha ready-to-wear label consisting of ethnically inspired bridal wear, cocktail and evening dresses is sold in her boutique in Port Elizabeth and her signature blanket coats are available through boutiques in Cape Town, Johannesburg as well as an online shopping platform. The company has already begun with plans to roll out an online store targeting the international market.
Source: VFW

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