Controversy by accident or design
FASHION designer Asanda Madyibi is basking in fantastic exposure after she designed a a controversial see-through dress for TV presenter Minenhle Dlamini.
Gossip writers, bloggers and journalists who attended the Durban July went berserk when Dlamini showed up in a dress that exposed her panties and thighs.
"What was Minnie thinking? Who dressed her? Did she look at herself in the mirror before coming out," were some of the questions people asked.
Not everyone was unhappy with the dress. Some media houses, including Ukhozi FM, dubbed her the best dressed.
Dlamini defended her choice and said it was inspired by latest trends.
"There have been a lot of see-through dresses with short pants on recent runways, that is why I chose that look. It really spoke to me."
She praised Madyibi for understanding her body and style. "Asanda really knows my body and follows my briefs to the letter. She is highly creative. I enjoy her work."
Asked to explain the dress, Madyibi says she followed Dlamini's brief.
"She took the theme of the Durban July literally. She was celebrating her birthday. She wanted something daring and young. She wanted to celebrate her body. With the look we were basically celebrating her body."
Dlamini is not the only celeb taking a fancy to Madyibi's clothes. Idols SA judge Unathi Msengana always wears Madyibi's numbers.
"Unathi and Minenhle are my preferred clients, that is why you always see them in my clothes. Most celebrities in South Africa like to get clothes free of charge. Unathi and Minenhle pay."
Though the former Port Elizabeth Technikon graduate agrees that celebrity endorsement can do wonders for a clothing line, she says there is a thin line between designer abuse and celebrity endorsements.
"You need to buy fabric, pay rent for your studio, pay workers, add to that your time. How are you going to make it if you are giving out free clothes?"
This is not the only thing that worries Madyibi about the local fashion industry. She feels labels that specialise in African aesthetics are going down.
"Labels like Stoned Cherrie and Sun Goddess are slowly fading because the local fashion market does not fully represent who we are."
Madyibi shot to fame in 2002 after taking part in the Vukani Young Designer Awards.
As a creative and dynamic designer, Madyibi's three-year tenure as head designer for Sun Goddess helped the brand move from traditional A-line skirts and bustier to a luxury brand with more diverse wear.
She wanted to be a graphic designer, but Port Elizabeth Technikon accepted her for a fashion design course.
"I have only accepted recently that my profession is this. I always hoped that I would branch (out) to graphic designing or architecture even though I spent my free time cutting patterns using my mother's dressmaking magazines, sketching and sewing dresses."
Her namesake label is inspired by women. "I dress women of all ages and sizes. I mainly dress professionals and matric dance pupils. I like to celebrate women and African tribes in my designs." - firstname.lastname@example.org