We had a chat with Tšepiso.


Beginnings

1. Tell us about Tšepiso

Tšepiso is a young creative from Maqhaka, Berea. Currently, I’m working on refining my hand and eye for fashion, on being a reputable household name in the near future.

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2. What sparked your interest in fashion?

My Mom and my Grandmother are my biggest fashion influences. They are both great seamstresses so I grew up with an image of a mother who would churn out gorgeous outfit after outfit on her sewing machine. I wanted to do that, I wanted to be able to create something from nothing. I have been designing since I was a kid really, probably at the age of 10. But I only started to get serious about it in High School. I have only been sewing for two years though.

3. Tell us about your first break into fashion?
Would it be silly of me to say I never really had a “first break”? I would have to say my first break was the 2011 Fashion Show that we had at my high school. One of the judges told me that my work was as good as – if not better – than that of his students at the School of Fashion that he was teaching at. That was for me an important moment, it spoke of my potential, my raw skill and my passion.

Breakthroughs

1. Let’s talk about the Elle cover. That was massive. How did that come about?
With them publishing their first issue with a different publishing house, the Elle team wanted to get fresh talent with a different look. The fashion assistant told them about a girl she knew from high school who was an aspiring designer, and the rest is history. It was such a great honour to be recognised as a designer by a magazine of such a calibre.

2. What was the inspiration behind the outfit?
It sounds cliché but it was about being a modern princess, a dream come true, a refined drama queen. It was about being yourself in a cloud of loud voices. About being gold & free.

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Tsepiso’s creation on the cover of Elle SA

3. Which competitions have you entered thus far?
When I was in high school, I entered the Bishop Bavin Fashion Show Competition for 3 consecutive years. Having that show for those years was a pretty big win for me. I really wish I had entered the David Tlale intern competition; when I saw the email about it, I thought it was too good to be true. A few weeks later I was getting updates on the airing times & dates, I felt bad, but I figured I could use a bit more practice if I am to impress him.

Future endevours

1. Who do you consider to be your fashion icons? Locally and internationally?
Locally, I would have to say Abuti Chere of Bonono Merchants and Ausi Kuena Moshoeshoe who is actually on David Tlale’s “The Intern” right now. Their work pushes boundaries; it does not aim to just please but also aims to challenge, to educate and to provoke thought. I would love to work with both of them some day in the very near future.

2. What can we look forward to this coming season? Any fashion advice to aspiring designers?
You can look forward to lots of colours and lots of soft satins & chiffons. The best advice I can give is to be honest with yourself. Trends come and go, but who you are, what your work stands for, stays with people forever. Simplicity is classy & timeless.

3. What are some of the perks of being in the fashion industry?
I get to rub shoulders with people like Ms Maphumulo of course!! I also get to meet different personalities, and I get to play around with colours & fabrics without being classed as a madwoman. What is the most fun though is that I get to do what I love.

By: Mantsebeng Maepe