'We are grateful to be alive' – David Tlale on why this season of his Avon collab is filled with colour

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South African designer David Tlale loves collaborating with Avon.
South African designer David Tlale loves collaborating with Avon.

He's one of those designers that almost everyone wishes they had in their closet. 

But for years, fans of his work have had to watch celebrities and the rich and famous strut around in his gear, hoping that one day they would also get there.

It seemed like a pipe dream, until David Tlale collaborated with Avon, making designer wear a little more affordable. 

The collaboration came about when managing director of Avon Turkey, Mafahle Mareletse, crossed paths with the internationally renowned David while attending a roadshow by Avon in Polokwane.

Mafahle was in awe of how women from all walks of life loved David, says Avon spokesperson Momin Hukamdad.

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“Having witnessed David’s popularity across the spectrum and not only to the higher LSM audience, his artistic astuteness, and with Avon’s continuous commitment to democratizing luxury fashion by removing the barrier of cost to designer wear, the ‘match made in heaven’ collaboration between two iconic brands was birthed,” he tells Drum.

David says he knows of so many lifechanging stories of people about Avon, and he was excited to work with the beauty and cosmetic brand because that is what he lives for.

“Avon is not just a brand; it is a brand that change lives, it touches people’s lives. I know stories of people who were unemployed, some were just selling vegetables, some were street vendors and then they tried selling Avon and suddenly they were able to make enough money to be able to take their children to school, built their homes etc. And that made us to collaborate with Avon.”

The collaboration was introduced in 2020 with the aim of making luxury for less by removing the high-cost barrier to designer wear. This year’s collection is ready, and it comes with brand-new looks on handbags, sunglasses.

“What is so different about this collection is that we come from a very dark era because of the pandemic. People lost jobs, their loved ones, and with this collection we thought of bringing colours of jubilee, celebrating colours that bring hope because when you think of colour, you think of something brighter. We are also being grateful to God that we are still alive.

David Tlale
David Tlale sunglasses

“The third season was inspired by the journey that we have taken with Avon SA, from starting to understand what the customer wants to understanding men and women who purchase and also consume Avon on a monthly or even a weekly basis and trying to meet their needs.

"Beyond that, we want to continue to showcase the collaboration between Avon and David Tlale to make sure that we keep on advocating the promotion of supporting locals, supporting men and women who sell Avon products on a daily basis.”

He goes out his way to bring the “essence of David Tlale,” to the people, he says. Each design is made for people to feel good with lots of confidence.

“Right now we are using the David Tlale monogram all around the print. The reason is that we want to bring David Tlale to the consumer, which is a great platform. When you look at the design of the bag, we wanted to accommodate a working girl and a party girl and then the watches and sunglasses, they don’t just go without saying 'accessories for days.' We wanted to reach out and make sure that people who consume these products look good without feeling [it in the pocket] somehow, but be like ‘we are wearing a David Tlale piece, we are wearing the essence of what the brand stands for.""

Avon plays a role in making sure that these designs come to lif, and that the collection reaches their targeted everyday woman cost effectively and conveniently, says Momin.

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“One of the main biggest objectives is to ensure that we provide our beauty entrepreneurs with attractive products that will excite and address their customers’ needs, which in turn increases the earning potential of our Representatives. The fact that our collaboration has yielded a Season 3 collection release is an affirmation of the positive reception the collaboration has received from our customers and the empowerment of Avon’s beauty entrepreneurs,” he adds.

David Tlale has high hopes with this collaboration and encourages people to support and wear local brands.

“We hope and pray to continue with this collaboration with Avon, hoping that it grows beyond the borders of South Africa. And our journey as a brand right now where we are is to focus on channelling distribution to make sure people can buy products from local brands and that people are proud to be African and wearing African brands.

"And also building a legacy of David Tlale, we want to continue inspiring young designers including that one who is still in primary or secondary school to boldly say, ‘I want to be into the creative space whether as a designer or what’ because it is indeed a lucrative business and over and above, we continue to employ people to fight unemployment.

David Tlale
David Tlale handbag

He is “also looking at the opportunities of how we can bring that manufacturing in South Africa to make sure that production happens here", David says.

"We are all about advocating for the clothing and textile industry, it is not only about us, but also about that lady or gentleman behind a sewing machine making a garment, etc. It is high time that our government starts supporting and understanding the clothing and textile industry."

He adds, "In the 1980s and because of the influx imports, we started to see the diminishing of the manufacturing.

"So it is time for government and private sectors to be involved in order to grow our economy."

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