PMB-born designer ‘sews up’ fashion industry

2017-02-15 06:03
PHOTO: supplied Siyethemba Duma

PHOTO: supplied Siyethemba Duma

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FROM being listed in the top five of fashion designers to being watched globally in 2017 by a Milan magazine to being the latest obsession among local celebrities, Pietermaritzburg- born designer Siyethemba Duma is taking the fashion industry to new heights.

The 28-year-old, who established his label Matte Nolim in 2014, is pushing creative boundaries and has featured at various fashion events, including SA Fashion Week where he received rave reviews.

Duma, who graduated as a designer at the Durban University of Technology, and had a three-month stint interning for Terence Bray Studio, said he has always known he wanted to make beautiful garments for women.

“In Grade 6 it was very clear, but I never really voiced it because back then fashion designing wasn’t looked at as a career path, especially in the black community. Not a lot of people could understand and support it as a profession you would study for.”

The Matte Nolim aesthetic is modern minimalism and the brand targets the young heart and professionals in their fields.

“In 2013 straight after graduating I worked for three months as a cadet designer in Durban.

“I soon realised that wasn’t the reason why I had spent three years working hard at university. I then took my month’s pay and bought an industrial machine and returned to Pietermaritzburg and started my own business.”

Duma started working as an independent designer in a small corner at the Fabric Gallery shop in Victoria Road and later opened a studio in Hoosen Haffejje Street.

Two years ago, still following his dream, he packed his bags and moved to Johannesburg.

“I moved here with no backup plan, no family or employment plan. It was just me, my backpack, my suitcase with my Spring Summer 16 collection after SA Fashion Week and a dream to change my life.

“It was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. I was in Johannesburg with no guarantees having shut down my business back home.

“I had to do ground work in city where I only knew two people who were also starting off. Somehow I found my feet and it wasn’t long before I established a clientele online and started making a living from my work again. It’s been rewarding and I’m glad I made the move.”

He said dressing some of the big names in the entertainment industry and being featured in various magazines are just some of the highlights of his career. “I have dressed the likes of Amanda du Pont, our current Miss SA Ntandoyenkosi Kunene, TV presenters Lalla Hirayama and Khanyi Mbau.

“It is so humbling; it tells me that the world is also watching this boy from PMB.”

Duma has been featured in a number of local and international magazines including ElleMagazine South Africa, Cosmopolitan South Africa, True Love and Grazia magazine.

He was also recently featured on Top Billing and was interviewed on Afternoon Express. The designer, who is committed to going on top from the foundation he has laid, said he is inspired by women.

“I’d be lying if I said I’m inspired by trees or nature. My inspiration comes from women because I spend most of my time around them. Their evolving taste inspires me.”


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