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Meet the designer behind Tribal Thembii Fashion line

The beautiful Princess Thembelihle Khawula caught our eye at the Nairobi Fashion week with her collection TribalThembii. We had the opportunity to have a chat with her and get to know the story behind the amazing Fashion line.

B: When did you first realize you wanted to pursue a career as a designer?

I never chose to be a designer, it chose me. From the moment I can remember as a child, I have been a creative. I made accessories from braiding grass. I made earrings from wire. I used to make clothes for my doll. Growing up, I found it easier to blend towards creative classes. Hence now I am a designer.

B: Explain the range of pieces that you have. Are you versatile in your pieces or is there a particular style to you?

My label is called Tribal Thembii and for this particular range I have pieces that accentuate women’s curves, also playful pieces like mini dresses. For a long time I never liked peplum style but for this collection, I was greatly fascinated by it. I decided to include peplum & I’m in lust with it. As a designer you have to be versatile if you want to reach the masses and in return make money. I do have pieces that I have decided to make as my own classic TribalThembii look, which are a 2 piece comprising of a Bustier & low cut skirt or pants. With no fail, I will include that style in all my designs.

B: What fabric do you use for your line?

For this line I used Sishweshwe fabric with pinstrip suiting and Shirting. I used both synthetic and natural fibers.

B: How long have you been in the business?

I started in 2004 where I used to make bespoke African Attires in UK.

B: If you could go back and tell yourself one thing before beginning your career what would it be?

 I would tell myself to follow my first instinct and never derail from the initial plan.

B: How is it like being a fashion designer in South Africa?

Being a designer in South Africa is inspiring. I’m encouraged to push myself to the highest point known to me.

B: What do you think Africans should do different as a way of supporting the African designers?

Educate themselves in this craft called designing and buy our pieces. Appreciate the importance of our designs as much as they appreciate the international brands.

B: How much do you sell your pieces?

Prices are available on request. For this collection, I am yet to price them.

B: The most expensive thing in your wardrobe right now is?

To be honest I don’t know what is the most expensive item I own. I hardly buy clothes, if I can make it won’t buy it. My sisters normally buy clothes for me and I never ask for the price. They know my style and I trust their choices.

B: Who do you look up to in the fashion world?

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I look up at the upcoming designers that I meet. I see their passion first hand and that inspires me to push hard. Since meeting my colleagues at Nairobi Fashion Week, all I think about is what my next move is.

B: Any other extra talents and special hobbies you have?

My extra hobbies include poetry writing, fashion writer, cooking, making people laugh and I’m still exploring more about myself.

B: What was your biggest fear when going out and starting your own line?

My biggest fear has always been to fail. My lessons came with failure and now instead on focusing on what if’s, I dwell on the “right now”. If I fail, I know I will rise above it and conquer my fears yet again.

B: Your favorite part about being a designer?

The freedom that comes with creativity. We as designers find inspiration in anything and everything.

B: There’s so much pressure for designers to come out with their greatest collection season after season. How do you handle the pressure?

I don’t conform to pressure in creating the most extravagant collection. It starts with me. Am I in a good space to be inspired to create my version of great collection? Will I wear it with pride? Does it represent me? Will I wear it in 10 years time? If I can answer all those questions, I know whatever I make is my own masterpiece.

B: What advice can you give to the designers who are just beginning their journey?

Be sure that is what you really want.

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  • funy how time flies not long ago yu were saying you missing yr sleep coz sowing is keeping you busy at night. i thot you sowing jus this n that i suprised n impressed that you even a lovely collection. sky is the limit keep on keeping on
    proud of you Prie.

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