No expense is spared
While growing up, Sizwe Mdluli could not afford expensive clothes. Later in life, this prompted the young entrepreneur to have an interest in fashion - and to establish his own clothing line - Nokusho Clothing .
The brand is inspired by township life and how people in townships value expensive fashion, regardless of their financial status . Township history, art and culture are at the heart of the brand's influences.
Mdluli was raised by a single mother, with seven other siblings. He says it was difficult for his mom to provide for all their needs.
"When I was growing up, I used to love clothes and style - but from a distance - because my mother could not afford to buy me expensive clothes.
"We were raised with respect [as a core value] and I will forever be grateful to my mother,'' said Mdluli.
His company is based in Esikhawini township, Richards Bay in KwaZulu-Natal. It was founded in 2015.
The business has five employees; a brand manager, social media manager and three merchandisers.
The 25-year-old was inspired to start a clothing business by a high school friend, who ventured into the clothing business in 2010.
"After completing my matric in 2009, I moved to Durban the following year to study mechanical engineering at the Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT).
"In Durban, a friend of mine, Lifa Ncube, had started a clothing brand, so he asked me to sell his merchandise at MUT and that was how I fell in love with branding,'' he recalled.
"I chose the clothing business because I also love fashion.
"If you are creative enough, then this business will sustain itself," said Mdluli, who holds a chemical engineering diploma from MUT.
"My goal is to open a clothing manufacturing factory for Nokusho Clothing and other local brands, with graphic design, sampling, product sewing, printing and packaging done under one roof.
"We are targeting to obtain funding next year and build the factory.''