David Tlale: fashion’s Mr Fabulous

By Drum Digital
14 July 2010

THE gold throne is a spectacular, over-the-top affair – just as fabulously dramatic as the man sitting in it. Crossing one stylishly-clad leg over the other, he welcomes us into his Joburg studio, the place where he creates one gorgeous outfit after the other

“Darling, how are you?” David Tlale asks with a hug and a smile. The fashion designer has just had a hugely successful showing at the Arise Africa Fashion Week in Jozi and is on top of the world. As always he broke with convention by bringing in the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra and an opera singer to perform while he showcased his butterfly-inspired range, and it made waves both here and overseas.

One New York fashion publicist called his work “a return to beautiful with an African twist” and another referred to him as a “very creative young cosmopolitan breaking the mould of African tradition”.

And to think he once thought he was going to fail. “There were many times when I thought I couldn’t do it,” he says.

“I’m a believer in achieving your dreams and destiny but when you don’t make enough to pay your rent you doubt yourself.”

But he stuck it out because he had the backing of his family and he always gives thanks to them – and God – after a successful show. “My mom has been my pillar of strength. Having her and my two sisters and younger brother at my shows is amazing. Mom never misses a show and having her blessing means a lot.”

She’s not the only follower of his fashion, of course – fans waited until midnight to see his collection at Arise Africa Fashion week. And today we’re joining this material maestro at his Parktown North studio to get some insight to his creative magic.

Fashionistas, pay attention –David’s showing off three of his key looks, and giving away tips for what will be hot next season.

But first the vibrant designer shares his personal style, describing it as comfortable chic. He loves black and often dresses in it from head to toe. “I like combining my own stuff with clothes I bought,” says the 35-year-old, who’s originally from Vosloorus on the East Rand.

Read the full article in the Drum of 22 July 2010.

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