#SAFW Designer Q&A – Tshepo Mafokwane of Sober

A collection inspired by reality TV is the latest offering from designer Tshepo Mafokwane for SOBER. Designing once again for the modern woman, we are likely to see nothing less than amazing at the show during SA Fashion Week…

Tshepo Mafokwane at SA Fashion Week A/W 2013. Photo by Simon Deiner/ SDR Photo.
Tshepo Mafokwane at SA Fashion Week A/W 2013. Photo by Simon Deiner/ SDR Photo.

1) You often design for powerful yet feminine women, can we expect more of this from the latest collection?

Yes most definitely, we are all about that. “Sober” ranges are seldom inspired by historical eras or such, we look for inspiration from the modern woman, and her lifestyle.

Sober at SA Fashion Week A/W 2013. Photo by Simon Deiner/ SDR Photo.
Sober at SA Fashion Week A/W 2013. Photo by Simon Deiner/ SDR Photo.

2) What inspired this collection?

Our summer range is inspired by “Hollywood Housewives”. The reality TV show industry has boomed with recent well-known shows causing a sensation like “The Real Housewives of… Atlanta/Orange County/New York/Miami”. Needless to say, there’s not much real about reality TV shows lately, and aside from the fake drama displayed there, I’m completely inspired by the fashion.

So what if the reality TV stars are not “Real Housewives”, to me they exemplify a new kind of woman…she’s a wife with kids, has a career, mixes in high profile social circles and is a self-made celebrity. She is the woman who wants to be envied in all aspects of her life, especially her fashion.

Sober at SA Fashion Week A/W 2013. Photo by Simon Deiner/ SDR Photo.
Sober at SA Fashion Week A/W 2013. Photo by Simon Deiner/ SDR Photo.

3) What type of preparations go into the lead up to SA Fashion Week?

I don’t know how to answer that…everytime is like the first time for me. From the panic to the madness, I’ve come to find that without it one can never enjoy the fulfilment of having to up their game.

It all starts with the inspiration, conceptualising a cohesive range that tells a story. I usually try to imagine the silhouettes, then the detail, the colour scheme and then sourcing the fabrics. After that it’s patternwork and production, hair and make-up looks and finally the shoes that are suitable to tie the range together.

Sober at SA Fashion Week A/W 2013. Photo by Simon Deiner/ SDR Photo.
Sober at SA Fashion Week A/W 2013. Photo by Simon Deiner/ SDR Photo.

4) How important is an event such as SAFW?

It’s a great platform to create brand-awareness. I personally lost interest in fashion shows altogether for a period of over 4 years because I found it very pretentious and a waste of time if one has not established a proper a way to make their clothing accessible to the market.

I take part now because I took the time off to really focus on the ground work, we run a small production plant where we manufacture all our clothes and supply 30-50units per week to boutiques. I feel that through fashion week we are presented with the opportunity to grow our customer base further so we can grow as a business.

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