The celebrity designer: Ephraim Molingoana of Ephymol

2012-03-23 15:00

In social circles, designer Molingoana is one of the best-dressed men.

He carries his tailored sleek suits and shirts with effortless style and pizzazz. One thing you can’t argue with this model turned fashion designer is menswear, which for the past decade has been his forte.

“I have a new nickname ekasi. They call me Milano because of the way I dress. I look like I’m going to Milan Fashion Week,” he laughs.

Talking about his passion, Molingoana credits his mother.

“I was mostly inspired by my mother, but my travels all over the world fuelled my passion for dressing well after being exposed to menswear designers.”

After graduating from the AAA School of Advertising, he realised that his heart was no longer in it; it was in modelling.

After a successful career in front of the cameras, even becoming the first face of Diesel in South Africa, he was advised by SA Fashion Week founder Lucilla Booyzen and trend forecaster Dion Chang to start his own label.

“I realised it was a great idea because at that point, I was already styling a few celebrities, such as Brenda Fassie and Lebo Mathosa. I’m proud to see some of my final product in the sleek style Mandoza has today,” the designer says.

In 2002, Molingoana launched Ephymol at SA Fashion Week. He started with womenswear, but gradually gravitated to menswear.

“There were very few menswear designers when I started and I realised that this was something that had been lacking in the industry,” he says. Molingoana adds that his passion for menswear stems from the belief that men are like rough diamonds that need polishing.

“Some menswear designers seem to think you have to push the envelope to make it. Unfortunately, the local market is not there yet. Currently, the market is too fragmented for us to make garments like skirts. That’s the stuff that ends up decorating a mannequin in a studio,” he says.

He believes the bottom line is to focus on making your business a success by giving men what they want.

“Dressing men in South Africa is a real challenge. You have to introduce everything to them – from the fabric, to colours and cuts. I love it when I turn sceptics into fashionistas.”

Molingoana believes a large section of the market is still untapped.

“Men like dressing up to events. They are conscious about how they look and dress. Our musicians have come a long way from performing and shooting CD sleeves wearing freebie T-shirts. They, along with many other men, have now realised that image counts.”

Spring/Summer Collection
Molingoana will be introducing tone-on-tone, two-tone, patchwork, 3D shirt designs and colour as some of the elements. This will make his collection worth watching.

» Watch the Ephymol show at SA Fashion Week next Sunday at 9.30pm
» Seven would like to thank the Melrose Arch Hotel


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