Palse takes bull by the horn in Sandton tonight

Fashion designer Paledi Segapo is the founder of fashion label Palse based in Johannesburg. / Veli Nhlapo
Fashion designer Paledi Segapo is the founder of fashion label Palse based in Johannesburg. / Veli Nhlapo

Leading South African menswear designer Paledi Segapo steps into the world of bullfighting tonight.

Segapo, under his popular fashion label Palse, will make his debut at AFI Joburg Fashion Week tonight in Sandton - he has always showcased at SA Fashion Week.

"I'm nervous and excited at the same time. I'm super excited to be penetrating a different market," he enthuses. "It means that we are expanding as a brand. What makes me nervous is how people are going to react to the show."

The Spanish-style collection is heavily influenced by the matador - a bullfighter. Titled La Emancipaciôn, the collection also infuses a lot of African motifs.

When Time Out caught up with him at his atelier in Marshalltown, Johannesburg, this week, Segapo was in the middle of curating the show. He has created 45 looks, but the dilemma he's faced with is cutting them down to 30.

Segapo does not want the show to be long, to avoid a boring people. He's pulling all the stops, with celebrities Gemaen Taylor, Donald and Fezile Mkhize cast to walk in the show. "What inspired the show was that I was researching music for the show and I come across Madonna's new music.

"The video Take a Bow by Madonna came along and there were the matadors. They dress so impeccable and distinguished, yet there is a dark element," he recounts.

"I have decided to infuse an African element to it. They are going to be a typical African pattern, but we are going to embellish them with the whole exaggerated Spanish feel."

His menswear line was founded in 2011. and womens-wear in 2017.

Tonight he will also showcase womenswear, with some familiar female faces set to walk. "It just made business sense because every business has to diversify or we will lose. We started by making ladies' suits, but then I realised we were still missing out.

"So we started making frocks. Because we are strong on menswear people still get shocked when they discover that we now also make womenswear. We're getting there."

Born in Meadowlands, Soweto, Segapo's biggest influence came from his great-grandmother. She was a seamstress and raised him after his parents divorced.

"I was spoiled rotten as an only child and super-sensitive being an artist," he says.

Before he decided to be a full-time fashion designer he was a business analyst.

"I was bored. I hated being in the boardroom. But whenever I went to fashion week I was like a kid in a candy store."

Segapo's biggest achievement has been dressing American singer Tevin Campbell.

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