CNN meets South African fashion designer Thembeka Yadah

2018-10-31 06:00
Fashion designer Thembeka Yadah.PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Fashion designer Thembeka Yadah.PHOTO: SUPPLIED

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ON last week’s episode of African Voices, CNN International met one of South Africa’s most in-demand fashion designers, Durban-born Thembeka Yadah.

Reflecting on her career, Yadah attributes some of her success to her upbringing: “I can say my parents shaped me [the] most. The way they treated us when we were growing up, teaching us to share, teaching us to stand on our own, to be whenever we are doing things.”

In outlining her passion for the fashion industry, Yadah says: “What I love most about my job is making people feel good. I make people look good, because whatever you’re wearing, it can change your feeling... I prefer prints that have a certain pattern to show my creativity because it matter[s] how you position African print on the fabric...When it comes to African print I’m representing Africa. With the shwe shwe, I’m representing South Africa... Shwe shwe is the material that is made in South Africa, its 100% cotton, it’s our own thing.”

Speaking passionately about her continent, Yadah says: “Africa is a beautiful continent....We have beautiful land. We are planting. We are farmers. We have beautiful things. We are all the minerals in Africa. We are rich in Africa. Our soil is fertile in Africa. That’s what I want people to know, that we are fertile. You even see the African fashion is over now, because we are rich in Africa.”

“My collection is inspired by African culture and African music... Most of my collection is Afro-centric, it’s a fusion of African and western so that someone who’s in Europe is able to wear my stuff and someone who’s in Africa is able to wear my stuff.”

The programme follows Yadah as she travels to London for African Fashion Week where she is showcasing her latest collection.

Looking to the future, Yadah says: “I want to leave a legacy of hope in the life of our young designers. I want to make sure that they treat fashion as a business. I know in most of us, fashion starts as a hobby... But the truth is, fashion is business.

“I would love to leave a legacy of hope. And I would love to educate young designers; I would love to teach them that fashion is business.” — Supplied.

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