10 South African Entrepreneurs Making Waves In The Fashion Industry

10 South African Entrepreneurs Making Waves In The Fashion Industry. The South African fashion industry has grown a lot in the past few years. A lot of fashion entrepreneurs have emerged and have built solid brands that are able to represent the diverse fashion culture that exists in the country. These entrepreneurs have not only created brands that resonate with locals but their brands also have an international appeal as seen by how celebrities such as Alicia Keys and Beyoncé have endorsed the MAXHOSA brand. Below are some of the South African fashion entrepreneurs that are making waves in the industry.

Thebetsile “Thebe” Magugu

Thebetsile “Thebe” Magugu is a South African fashion designer. He is the founder of Thebe Magugu, a luxury South African fashion brand. It offers ready-to-wear collections while exploring parallel concepts through multidisciplinary capsule projects. Between pillar practices of cultural honour, novelty and uncompromising quality, the brand is establishing an identity marked by self-evolving timelessness.

Gert-Johan Coetzee

Gert-Johan Coetzee is a South African fashion artist. His fashion atelier is based in Linden, Johannesburg in Gauteng province. He specialises in couture red carpet gowns, he also designs ready-to-wear range.

Laduma Ngxokolo

Laduma Ngxokolo founded MAXHOSA AFRICA, a South African knitwear brand, originating in the desire to explore knitwear design solutions suitable for amakrwala (Xhosa initiates). The vision began by creating a modern Xhosa-inspired knitwear collection suitable for this market. Laduma, having gone through this process, felt compelled to develop premium knitwear in celebration of traditional Xhosa aesthetics.

Tshepo Mohlala

Tshepo Mohlala founded TSHEPO, a lifestyle brand in South Africa that offers a range of bespoke denim clothing and ready-to-wear products. The brand has established itself in the hearts and minds of ordinary South Africans and people across the world, where the brand has been applauded. “I was raised by three strong women. My mother, Masesi Mamba, who taught me how to hustle, my grandmother, an Apostle and masterful storyteller, whose words “Tshepo, you’re a gentleman and should always look like one” echo in my head as I get dressed every morning. Then there is trendy aunt, Takalani, the first person to graduate in our neighbourhood. She would visit us in Tsakane dressed head-to-toe in denim. She ignited my interest in fashion and love for denim and so, I opened the doors of TSHEPO in 2015.” he said.

Theo Baloyi

Theo Baloyi is a South African entrepreneur, and the founder and chief executive officer of Bathu Shoes. Bathu was established in 2015, in a local township (Alexandra). It has now grown exponentially over the years, with 32 stores nationwide and a staff complement of over 300 employees, who are predominantly youth. The Bathu tagline, “Walk your Journey”, is centred around its mission statement of reigniting hope and creating sustainable employment.

Lekau Sehoana

Lekau Sehoana is a South African entrepreneur. He is the founder and CEO of Drip Footwear, a fast-growing sneaker brand in South Africa. Drip Footwear is a sneaker brand created by Sehoana after growing up in poverty and not having shoes. He created his own shoes using old torn sneakers. 16 Years later he went commercial and created Drip. The Brand is an athleisure and lifestyle brand that features 7 retail stores. Its aim is to inspire and create employment using its story and brand.

David Tlale

David Tlale is an African Fashion Designer, born in Vosloorus, a township in the East of Johannesburg, South Africa. He completed his high school in Vosloorus Thuto Lesedi, and went to study introduction to Internal Auditing, then fashion and technology at Vaal University where he graduated in 1998. After his high school education he continued his studies in a completely different field, but soon after realized he had a calling to be a fashion design and vigorously took on this design career. Now, David Tlale is one of Africa’s top fashion designers and has showcased his work at several New York Fashion Weeks.

Palesa Mokubung

Palesa Mokubung is a South African fashion designer. She is the founder and creative director of the Mantsho, a South African Fashion Label. She is the first African designer to collaborate with the Swedish fashion company H&M to create a collection.

Tshepo Mashego

Tshepo Mashego is a South African entrepreneur and founder of Relevance For Men. Relevance For Men is a Suit Tailoring Brand that was founded in 2015. The brand specialises in day-to-day work suits, tuxedo’s, safari suits & linen safari sets. The company prides itself in its authenticity, as it believes a good quality suit is characterised by its fabric thread count, and hence the brand also boasts a range of Super Wool 120’s all the way to a Super Wool 220 fabric.

Hardley Matlwa

Hardley Matlwa is a South African entrepreneur and founder of Atlantic “Apara O Tlale”. With no experience or education in fashion, Matlwa believes that passion is one great force that unleashes creativity because if one is passionate about something, then they are more willing to take risks. He noticed that South Africans like dressing-up, with high quality premium brands but mostly from abroad hence he started a premium local clothing brand. Atlantic “Apara O Tlale” is a proudly South African premium Kasi brand, founded in 2019. It delivers premium styling, quality and value to consumers nationwide, with a breadth of items including, men’s and women’s golfers, crew-necks, sweaters/sweater dresses, hoodies/hoodie dresses, with future plans to expand items to jacket, chinos etc.

By Thomas Chiothamisi

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