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KHALALA.COM

KHALALA JANUARY 2017

SIMPHIWE DANA

AFRICAN JEWELRY Ditsala Designs

ROOTS TO RETAIL Thabo Makhetha


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outh African young and emerging garm e n t s , shoes, jew e l r y , handbags,

especially here in Europe. Although Paris is the fashion worldcapital, innovative Afrian, let alone South African fashion at retail is almost non existant. The European global fashion industry’s success at large is mised on sameness and excessiveness.

the clientele who observe these platforms too. It is against this background that we at KHALALA, are compelled to look at alternative forms and formats of showcasing South African talent globally. KHALALA Magazine is a Proudly South African | Truly International digital publication that launches international fashion businesses of young and emerging South African fashion designers by showcasing their work for international consumption. Our mission is to create international market access for exceptionally talented and ambitious young and emerging South African fashion designers who innately have the potential to become household names in the international fashion sphere, thus developing commercially sustainable South African fashion businesses. We make fashion design from the African continent globally relevant while ensuring that the world has market access to refined African fashion aesthetic, creativity and unique design signature. By incorporating the best of South African design aesthetic in international markets, we are effectively developing sustainable cultural enterprises within the creative industries. █

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Most traditional European trade platforms and fashion weeks such as the Paris Fashion Week have strict admittance, highly limit the number of garments per designer, participation is by invitation only, automatically preventing South African young and emerging designers from showcasing. Given the limited resources, not all platforms that are out there result in significant return on investment for the designers. It is therefore more important than ever to identify international marketing and showcase platforms that are the right fit for the South African designer’s products. Not only the show itself, but

MAHADI GRANIER | EDITOR-IN-CHIEF


6 TIPS

for getting international buyers, fashion bloggers and stylists to notice your fashion brand

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DITSALA DESIGNS

SIMPHIWE DANA I wear South African

African inspired jewelry that is unique & beautifully handcrafted

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JANUARY CONTENTS

RETAIL p18

BOOKHA CREATIONS

African Fashion Brand that pushes boundaries

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SIMPHIWE DANA Photography by @thickleeyonce (Instagram), Jewellery by Cape To Cairo


SIMPHIWE DANA Simphiwe Dana (born in 1980) is a Xhosa Singer and song-writer in South Africa. Due to her unique combination of Jazz, Afrosoul, RAP and Traditional music, she has been hailed as the "new Miriam Makeba" Dana sings an artful musical form that blends traditional African music with contemporary soul and hence shows hints of gospel and blues. The depth of her musical portrayals is such that she has drawn approval from an older generation of South Africans, especially women, while her youth and grasp of contemporary pop has endeared her to the young audience. In 2016, she was nominated as the most stylist artist on the African Continent by Abryanz Style & Fashion Awards. Throughout her 10 year music career, Dana has consistently put her high profile position in the African fashion industry by exclusively wearing young and emerging, and up and coming South African designers. "I've always been incredibly passionate about emerging designers and with so much talent out there on the continent, it is always exciting to discover great new brands and give them the visibility and support they might need to reach new audiences at this crucial stage in their careers." Dana. â–ˆ


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KNOW YOUR TARGET MARKET Decide who you are designing for. If your designs are handmade high fashion, Haute Couture, chances are you probably won’t grab the attention of a ready to wear, ‘Prêt-à-Porter international buyer. Haute Couture fashion is often deemed of the highest quality and highest price, therefore caters for a different market segment. Every Haute Couture piece is made to measure for a single client, based on customized measurements and fittings. This points to the fact that every Haute Couture piece is tailored to the individual client, both in style and size. Prêt-à-Porter collections on the other hand, are designed within the bounds of standardized sizing so as to fit the majority of the people fairly well. While Prêt-à-Porter collections range in price and quality, their overarching characteristic is that they are factory made and available to a wide variety of customers. Therefore, know who your target market is, then focus all of your energy on getting them to notice you.

for getting international buyers, fashion bloggers and stylists to notice your fashion brand

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GET INTO THE HABIT OF SOCIALIZING Go to as many fashion events as you can. This seems obvious, and you have plenty of other things you need to be doing, but try to go to at least two fashion events a week. Introduce yourself and say you are a young and emerging fashion designer. Don’t over promote or sell when you meet them, just a friendly introduction will do, and over time, they will remember you. Be sure to follow them on social media. In addition, a comment on their facebook, instagram or twitter post is always appreciated and memorable.

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HAVE A PURPOSE Running a fashion label is not as glamorous as everyone may think. It takes hard work, focus, perseverance, determination, discipline, capital and resources, just to mention a few. So where does an emerging designer even start? With a unique perspective and an original idea. There’s no need to introduce another pretty dress into an already over saturated market. In order to stand out from the crowd, you must have a unique reason to exist beyond just designing pretty garments. By simply introducing yet another pretty garment, chances are you are going to struggle to compete with veteran designers who offer products that are already widely valued by customers. Hone in on your point of view and use it as a competitive edge to stand out. Remember that in the fashion industry, emerging designers get in the door for being different. And then once your brand is well established, you can then go ahead and make the pretty stuff. Because, then, you will have your name out there.


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HAVE A POINT OF SALE No matter how nice your website or editorial is online, the human experience still remains quite flat. When people come into your boutique and get to touch and feel the fabrics, that's how they understand your brand. It makes them connect more to your work. In Paris, France for instance, what counts the most for the majority of the fashion conscious, ethical consumers is the emotional connection with the story behind the brand. Look at your store as the best way for people to really get what your brand is about. It is an important tool you can utilize to raise awareness and increase brand visibility. Most importantly, a physical point of sale grabs the attention of the press. When journalists know where your products can be physically sourced, they are more inclined to write about you because your product is available. The stores bring the press and the press brings in customers.

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AVOID FASHION WEEKS By this, I mean do not invest too much of your limited resources and time on showcasing at a generic international fashion week. Unless you get accepted into an emerging designer group show, don’t even try to have an off site event or show too early in the early development of your label. These events are expensive and there’s no guarantee that you will make any sales. When international buyers walk into a show to buy apparel and accessories, more of often than not, they spend almost all of their money on designers that they already know and on lines that they either already carry or want to carry. This is not always the most popular opinion, and there is certainly a time for a show or presentation if you want one. But if you are investing too much time and money, especially if you cannot afford to hire show organizers, communications, marketing and public relations, showcasing or even having an off site event is not the best idea. Realize that International Fashion weeks are completely saturated with shows, so it’s very hard to get exhausted stylists and editors to the smaller, less marketed shows. Many overlap as well. Also it’s hard for editors and stylists to remember what they saw by the end of the week. And while editors do attend, stylists often don’t attend shows because they are styling shows. Realize as well that the concept of seasonal collections is starting to feel a bit old school. More and more, independent designers are thinking about the now, and are starting to get over the traditional fashion calendar. While still in its infancy, this shift in the way designers work could start to have an impact on the effectiveness of traditional fashion shows.

ACCEPT THAT THINGS TAKE TIME The most common trait of a lot of young and emerging designers is impatience. As a small business owner, you want things to Regardless of what school of thought you’re in, before making a final decihappen fast and when they don’t, you get sion, try visiting the shows you’re considering, especially if they are in your anxious and discouraged. Do you identify city. Take a look at the booths and the traffic, pay attention to the PR and at all with this? If so, realize that you’re not marketing that takes place before the show. And finally, if you do decide to alone. A lot of emerging designers in the fashion indusgo for it, remember to set goals so that you’re actually working toward try experience anxiety around business growth, how it’s something rather than just hanging out in your booth, waiting for sometoo slow, and how they’re fearful of what that means. thing to happen Trying something new, with no guarantee is hard. You are putting yourself out there, you are worried about finances, and you are anxious that your growth projections and goals for sales might not materialize. And while these are certainly common concerns among fashion entrepreneurs, what a lot of designers do not realize is that 1 month, 6 months, 1 year or even 3 years are short periods of time. It takes a lot longer to really get traction for your brand and to run a profitable fashion business. What tends to happen is that instead of staying the course, remaining focused, and reaching small milestones that will eventually lead to accomplishing much bigger goals, designers give up. Or they freak out and lose focus. This is not helpful. And it is usually just a result of impatience combined with fear. Sometimes, all it takes to get the attention of international fashion buyers, bloggers and stylists is just one journalist requesting your product for a shoot and/or article insert, or one buyer placing a small order, or one person you’ve never met placing an order on your website, or someone who has been in your shoes sharing a bit of insight, that will totally turn your attitude around. When you feel like quitting, try to focus on why you started. When things don’t happen right away, just remember: It takes 6 months to build a Rolls-Royce and 13 hours to build a Toyota. █


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THABO MAKHETHA Many cultures around the world have traditional costumes that go back thousand of years. Contemporary fashion designers are frequently inspired by and proud of this heritage, yet they also want to modernize and reinvent traditional dress. Lesotho-born South African designer, Thabo Makhetha, makes a series of women's capes and jackets from the Basotho blanket to create an African luxury brand rooted in heritage and culture and integrated with modern design. In her own words, “to own a Thabo Makhetha garment is to make the statement, I'm beautiful, I'm sophisticated, I'm African!''


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BOOKHA CREATIONS Bokang Lehabe is a young South African creative born in the rural village of Ganyesa in North West province. Bokang holds a Bachelors of Arts in fashion design from Fedisa. He is at the helm ofBookha Creations, a boutique that focuses on the most current and emerging trends with a signature style that is highly detailed, modern and yet Proudly South African. He garners his influence from art and social issues affecting ordinary Africans. In 2015, he was announced the winner of PPC Imaginarium Award’s Fashion Category for his three pieces entitled “The Beast We Call Fashion”. Bokang has worked for several leading retail companies in South Africa.

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Since launching Bookha Creations, his work has been seen in a number of publications including ELLE Magazine, Cape Argusto mention just a few. His designs have been exhibited at numerous museums and art galleries throughout South Africa. In 2016, he showcased his designs at Design Indaba’s Emerging Creatives - a developmental platform presented by the South AfricanDepartment of Arts and Culture - aimed at nurturing new, young creative talent with relatively little industry exposure, thus helping them knock down the barriers to entry as they get started. His long term growth objective is to have boutiques all over the world and be able to showcase during the Paris Fashion Week – Haute Couture. █

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Africa, the pieces are made from materials sourced from local suppliers in rural areas.

DITSALA CREATIONS Koketso Mohlala is a young and emerging South African jewelry designer and manufacturer born in Soshanguve, South Africa. She founded Ditsala Designs in 2013, a jewelry design brand that aims to take consumers back to their roots by presenting a range of jewellery that tells a story, particularly an African story. Handmade in South

Koketso studied jewellery design and manufacturing at Atteridgeville Jewellery Project - AJP, and was awarded “Best Design Student” upon graduation. She has been working in the industry as an entrepreneur for the past three years. Her company has supplied jewellery to Makia Design and designed pieces for the black/Up label sold atEdgars, as well as an artwork and jewellery range for CAF. Her high quality, unique jewellery is produced for three different ranges: Fashion Freak is inspired by street fashion; bold statement jewellery is designed for I Am Here; and Africa is Mine features pieces inspired by Africa’s

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people and cultures. In 2015, she showcased her designs at Design Indaba’s Emerging Creatives - a developmental platform presented by the South AfricanDepartment of Arts and Culture - aimed at nurturing new, young creative talent with relatively little industry exposure, thus helping them knock down the barriers to entry as they get started. Participation at Design Indaba allowed her showcase her designs to retail buyers and media from around the world. As a result, she secured mass volume purchasing clients from as far as Holland and is also supplying to a store located atO.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. She is also supplying her jewelry to local influences and celebrities including Minnie Dlamini, Wanda Baloyi, Bucie Nqwiliso, as well as Rosisang Thandekiso. Koketso is currently living in Italy, where she is studying Goldsmith and


Koketso is currently living in Italy, where she is studying Goldsmith and Stone setting at tarĂŹ design school. She is due to complete her studies in July 2017. Now that she has successfully built and maintained a solid local customer base, her long term goal is venture into international markets. â–ˆ

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